I do not remember when I started having eczema, but my mother told me that when I was very young, I was rather prone to having rashes. They call it 风莫 or 热痱 then, and usually just bought over-the-counter calamine lotion or cooling powder to apply to it. I personally do not remember any of those outbreak in my younger years. However, since don’t know when, I started having recurring outbreak of very itchy rashes, usually due to an allergy of some clothing materials (milder outbreaks) or weather changes (rather bad outbreaks).
As much as these rashes are irritating, it will always go away after I applied the ointment given by the GP. I do not know such creams are steroids until internet became more available to us (Yes, I am THAT old.), and I started having the habit of checking out the medication I was prescribed.
Anyway, I during that time, I had the worst acne outbreak of my life (never had acne outbreak before), and I took the plunge to visit a dermatologist at National Skin Center (NSC). Since then, I will go to NSC whenever my eczema get out of control. As a result, I had a full range of steroids which totally confuse me.
Hence, when I visited Dr Hazel Oon again for my recent outbreak, I told her about this and emailed her a photo of all the creams I possessed.
I asked her for her professional advice on using these steroids and I am so grateful that she took time to reply. I really want to share this as many of us just use creams prescribe to us without knowing what exactly are we applying on ourselves. I think it is important to know more and protect ourselves. I know many of us have heard about steroid withdrawal syndrome and are very afraid of using steroids. But ALL (I have asked a lot of doctors) the doctors whom I have asked, told me that this syndrome usually only occurs to patients who have use steroids for a very long time (eg. months) and patients who take oral steroids. For people who do not have serious eczema or sensitivity that acts up once in awhile, there are actually safe steroids to use when neccesary.
This is what she said.
The most potent of the steroids is cloderm (clobetasol) – best to avoid as side effects can set in sooner.
Conazole contains 3 medicines – betamethasone diproprionate, gentamicin and miconazole – avoid this.
Slightly less strong than cloderm is beprosone (but still quite potent). This should be restricted to the thicker or more stubborn rashes on the body and limbs.
Then followed by elomet. Elomet is a very good cream that can be used to eczema on the body and limbs, as well as face, neck, jointfolds. It is more expensive because it is least lightly to cause side-effects.
Betasone 0.1% cream is slightly less strong than elomet but cannot be used on the face (only to eczema on body, limbs).
Less strong than betasone is dermasone 0.05%.
Use dermasone 0.05% only to eczema on body, limbs. Not the face, neck, jointfolds.
Dermasone 0.025% is for eczema where the skin is more delicate, such as on the face, neck, jointfolds.
Very rarely do you find a doctor who is willing to take time to explain to you in such details, and I am glad I have found one. I feel empowered by such knowledge and safer when I know what I am applying to myself. Since that email, I have thrown away most of the steroids, leaving only a few good ones at hand in case of the next outbreak.
I know that there are many like me looking for help and answers. Hope these knowledge is useful to you too.
PS: I think oat baths work great for eczema too.
Updated on 31st December 2015:
I was looking through the blog statistics and saw a jump in the viewership of this post. I just want to state here that if you are looking for solutions for your eczema and are considering using steroids, please PLEASE have a good read at the rest of my posts under the tag “ECZEMA”. This post was way before my son developed Red Skin Syndrome due to steroids. I sincerely wish that no one will ever need to suffer like he is currently. There are other natural ways to try to ease eczema, which I have mentioned in other posts. Even if one does not work for you, does not mean others will not.
I wish you good health.