Is it safe to apply steroid medication to my open skin?

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This year has been a bad year for allergy flares in Minnesota.  Because of our warm winter, there are more circulating allergens in the air. This results in flares of allergies, asthma, and of course eczema and skin rashes.

Often, patients come to me after seeing several other physicians. By the time they come to my office, their hands, feet, and other places that are prone to eczema are in bad shape. I constantly see patients with very painful cracks and areas of open skin.

If indeed the rash is an eczema or psoriasis type of eruption, my patients are concerned that applying topical steroids to their skin will be deleterious.

Actually, dermatologists and scientists wondered about this as well.

Scientific studies show that topical steroids applied to the cracks and fissures of open skin actually speed up healing!

This is because the open/ cracked skin is actually the result of all the inflammation due to the eczema/ psoriasis. The topical steroid clears up the inflammation, thus allowing the skin to repair itself.

Conversely, I typically do not recommend bacitracin or neosporin for prolonged periods of time to open skin, as they can commonly lead to an allergy.


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