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Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen MartinReviewed on 19.10.2023 | 3 minutes read

Diprolene is a potent prescription-only skin product for short-term inflammation, itching, and irritation. It's a steroid cream used to treat eczema, psoriasis, heat rash, and insect bites, among other conditions. It's often prescribed when a patient has seen little result with milder creams.

The active component of Diprolene is a steroid called betamethasone dipropionate, and it comes as either a cream or an ointment.

What is it used for?

Diprolene is suitable if you have moderate to severe eczema, psoriasis, or other inflammatory skin conditions. Steroid creams reduce inflammation to ease irritated, sore, and itchy skin. A moisturizer can then help that skin to repair. Steroid creams differ in their strengths (called potency). Diprolene is the third strongest out of the four possible strengths.

Suppose you have tried moisturizing using a non-fragranced moisturizer with a high paraffin base and have seen no improvement. In that case, you could try hydrocortisone cream (a mild-potency steroid cream), which can be bought directly from your pharmacist.

Diprolene is much stronger than mild steroids, with a high potency. Your doctor will assess your skin condition and decide the best strength of steroid for your condition. Most people prefer the consistency of creams as they are easier to rub in than ointments, which are thicker and greasier. This means creams are a good option for using alongside a moisturizer. Ointments are reserved for dry or flaky areas of skin.

Diprolene is suitable for anyone over the age of one year, but caution is advised for any steroid creams being used in children under 10 years. Your doctor will be able to advise.

If you have an inflamed patch on your face, consult your doctor before using any steroid cream.

How does it work?

Diprolene is a type of medicine known as a steroid (corticosteroid). Steroids are not the same as anabolic steroids. When inflammation is present due to an autoimmune or sensitivity reaction, Diprolene reduces the body's response to inflammatory reactions. It works for up to 12 hours and also promotes healing.

Any reason to avoid it? Any side effects?

Diprolene can only be used for flare-ups rather than as prevention. All steroid creams should only be used for a short period of time before having a break – this is usually limited to two weeks maximum, but your doctor will be able to advise on your specific case.

If you haven't seen much improvement in this time, you should book another appointment for a review.

Steroid creams shouldn't be used on open skin or sensitive areas of the body, such as the face, unless your doctor has advised you to do so. Similarly, it is only for external use.

Diprolene is generally very safe, where most people do not have any side effects with short-term use. Your doctor will advise you to take breaks every two to three weeks – this is to prevent long-term side effects of steroid use, such as changes to the color or thickness of the skin.

Very rarely, you may have an allergic reaction to Diprolene. You should seek medical attention if you suspect this: soreness and redness may increase, or you may develop red bumps or have a spreading rash.

A slight burning sensation when first applied is normal in some – it indicates the irritation your skin is experiencing. It should disappear after a few days of applying (and as the skin heals), but see your doctor if this persists or gets worse.

How do I apply it?

Wash and dry your hands and then squeeze out the right amount. It is recommended to use a pea-sized amount for a palm-size surface area. Spread the cream or ointment 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 the cream into broken skin or cuts. Wash your hands afterward (unless you are treating the skin on your hands).

Make sure, if treating eczema, that you are moisturizing at least twice a day to maximize the effect of Diprolene and also to help the skin barrier repair and protect in the future.

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This article has been written by UK-based doctors and pharmacists, so some advice may not apply to US users and some suggested treatments may not be available. For more information, please see our T&Cs.
Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed by Dr Karen Martin
Reviewed on 19.10.2023
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