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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 2 minutes read

Clobetasol propionate is a short-term topical steroid used to treat skin inflammation. It can be used to treat eczema, psoriasis, allergic reactions, as well as many other inflammatory skin conditions. It is known by several brand names (Temovate, Clobex, Olux) and comes in a variety of dosage forms (cream, gel, ointment, shampoo, liquid, solution, spray, and foam) and is only available on prescription in the US.

Doctor’s advice

Who is it for?

Clobetasol is suitable for most adults and children over 12 years old. If you have a flare of eczema, the first step is usually to try a medical grade moisturizer. If you have tried moisturizing and seen no improvement, another option could be to try a steroid product such as hydrocortisone or clobetasol. Clobetasol is a potent steroid and should be used only after trying hydrocortisone first without satisfactory improvement. The product aims to help inflammatory skin conditions by reducing inflammation and irritation for a short period of time and so is particularly useful at controlling short term flares of irritated skin and at breaking the itch-scratch cycle that often goes with this.

How does it work?

Clobetasol is a steroid (corticosteroid) and reduces the body's response to inflammatory reactions. By applying it directly to inflamed skin, the aim is to reduce inflammation in that area using the least amount of steroid possible.

Should anyone avoid taking it?

Like all medications, don’t use them if you have previously had an allergic reaction to the medication, or if you have other medications or medical conditions where you would normally discuss with your doctor or pharmacist before starting something new.

Clobetasol should be used for a maximum of 7 days in a row, but unless advised by your doctor, should not be used on children under the age of 12 years. It cannot be used on any open skin, and on any sensitive areas of the body, such as the face. Some people complain of a burning sensation when first applied but this sensation tends to disappear after a few days of applying.

How should I apply it?

Wash and dry your hands and then squeeze out the amount of product required. It is recommended to use a pea-size amount for a palm-size surface area. Spread the product in a thin layer over the area of irritated skin. Carefully smooth it into your skin in the direction the hair grows until it disappears.

Be careful not to get it into broken skin or cuts. Wash your hands afterwards (unless you are treating the skin on your hands). Make sure if treating eczema that you are moisturizing up to four times a day to maximize the effect of clobetasol and also to ensure the irritation isn’t being caused by dry skin.

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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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