My daughter has had skin problems since she was 5 years old. At first we thought it was our hard water, which can cause soaps to not be rinsed thoroughly from clothing. But buying a water softener and changing to laundry soaps containing no perfumes and dyes only helped a little.
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We ended up taking her to our family Dr. who said she had eczema. It would itch her terribly and she would scratch her wrists at night while she was sleeping, and they would end up being raw and painful. I felt so bad for her. My husband gets eczema flare ups from time to time, this condition seems to run rampant in his family.
Our family phyisician prescribed a hydrocortisone cream for her to use. This cream contained 1% hydrocortisone and 1% iodoquinol. Hydrocortisone is a corticosteroid, and iodoquinol is an antifungal. Together they treat skin irritation and itching because of eczema or a skin infection.
Steroids work because they suppress certain chemicals in the body that cause inflammation, redness and swelling, which can be caused by allergic reactions (contact dermatitis), eczema and psoriasis.
I must say, I wasn't thrilled about my little girl using a steroid cream on her skin, but we were at the end of our rope. I questioned the Dr. about it and he told us that when we apply it to do it very sparingly, because it does get absorbed into your body through the skin.
Our Experience with Cortizone-10
When my daughter got a little older she continued to have problems with her eczema from time to time (stress really seemed to give her flare ups), and our Dr. told her she could use the over-the-counter product called Cortizone-10. He said it had the maximum amount of hydrocortisone allowed, and was as strong as the prescription cream he gave us when she was younger. She and my husband use this off and on, and we always have it on hand.
It does seem to get her skin flare up's under control, although rubbing anything on her skin makes her itch more. I put this on her back once before bedtime, as she had several dry patches of eczema there and couldn't reach them. After I was done, she about went crazy from the itching. I remember scratching her back for her and she had raised marks all over her body from my scratching her - not because I was digging into her, but because her skin was soooo sensitive. But the next morning when she woke up, her skin always looked a lot better.
The Cortizone-10 works, but if you think it is going to give you immediate relief, you may be disapointed.
My mother also used this product when she was going through chemotherapy. One of the side effects was itchy skin, and her Dr. again recommended Cortizone-10. It did give her some relief.
Cortizone-10 comes in a 2 oz. tube, and looks similar to vaseline when squeezed out. It spreads easily and is not overly greasy. It contains white petrolatum, so it smells like vasoline. It is expensive, about $9 a tube, but then the prescription form is expensive as well, even with insurance.
Adults and Children 2 years of age and older: Apply to affected area not more than 3 to 4 times daily.
Children under 2 years of age: Do not use, consult a doctor.
For external use only. Avoid contact with the eyes. If condition worsens, or if symptoms persist for more than 7 days or clear up and occur again within a few days, stop use of this product and do not begin use of any other hydrocortisone products unless you have consulted a doctor. Do not use for the treatment of diaper rash, consult a doctor. Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children.
Cortizone-10 Can Be Used For
Poison Ivy, Oak, Sumac
External Anal and Genital Itching.
What Cortizone-10 Will Not Treat
Hydrocortisone topical creams will not treat a bacterial, fungal, or viral skin infection.
Although I don't like the use of steroids, there are times when that is the only course of action to take. It is a powerful drug that should not be misused. I looked Cortizone-10 up on the drugs.com website, and there is a lot of really good information there that is not listed on the tube. For example, it warns to avoid using this medication on your face, near your eyes, or on body areas where you have skin folds or thin skin. It also states: do not cover treated skin areas with a bandage or other covering unless your doctor has told you to.
So while this is a good product to use for certain skin conditions, it does contain a steroid and should be used with caution. It's not like applying hand lotion, it should be used sparingly, especially in children since they are often more sensitive to topical hydrocortisone products.
After finishing this review, I did a search on OTC hydrocortisone creams, and found an excellent article by the American Academy of Dermatology cautioning it's use:
Some quotes from the article:
The American Academy of Dermatology is deeply concerned that if the FDA allows topical corticosteroids to be marketed over-the-counter instead of by prescription, patients could self-medicate without being monitored by their physician for serious side effects associated with long-term or improper steroid use, said dermatologist Clay J. Cockerell, M.D., president of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Academy of Dermatology Association. While weaker topical corticosteroids are available over-the-counter, we have seen some complications with their use. For the safety of patients, we urge the FDA to keep these stronger topical corticosteroids where they belong behind the pharmacy counter as prescription medications.
As well informed as patients can be, I do not believe that they should be self-diagnosing and self-treating symptoms with medications that have the potential for such serious side effects, said Dr. Read. By removing the physician from the equation, you would be effectively eliminating a very important safeguard and protection for patients.
Topical corticosteroids are relatively small molecules that penetrate the skin when applied topically, especially at higher concentrations, and can be absorbed in the bloodstream.
So, please use sparingly and with caution, especially if you are using it on your children.