It is important to use the correct amount of topical steroid for your eczema, as instructed by your healthcare professional. Topical steroids should be applied with clean hands so that the skin just glistens. It can sometimes be difficult to judge how much steroid to use and there are guidelines on the amount required to cover body areas that are affected by eczema. These are based on the Finger Tip Unit (FTU), and explained in detail in our fact sheet which you can download as a pdf from the related documents to the right of this page.
You can buy some topical corticosteroids "over-the-counter" without a prescription. For example, for dermatitis, you can buy the steroid cream called hydrocortisone 1% from your pharmacy. Do not apply this to your face unless your doctor has told you to do so. This is because it may trigger a skin condition affecting the face ( acne or rosacea. ) Long-term use may also damage the skin. On your face this would be more noticeable than the rest of your body. So usually only weak steroids are used on the face. Those which are suitable are prescription-only.
Your skin tends to become thinner as you age. Therefore, it is important to take care of your skin in order to keep it supple and thickened. Thinning of the skin may occur when the level of collagen in the skin decreases and skin elasticity is lost. Collagen is a protein found in the skin which helps to nourish the skin and make it healthy. Thin skin may also be caused by the long-term use of steroid ointments that cause the skin to bruise easily and become fragile and transparent. Luckily, there are a number of things you can try to make your skin thicker, stronger and firmer.