What Is Clobetasol Gel?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Clobetasol gel is a topical corticosteroid available for the treatment of skin inflammation. This medication is very potent and is not recommended for extended use; side effects tend to worsen with lengthy treatment. It should be taken as directed and kept out of the reach of children and pets, who could become ill if they ingest it. Availability of the medication varies by region and it may require a prescription for safety reasons.

Skin irritation caused by eczema may be treated with clobetasol gel.
Skin irritation caused by eczema may be treated with clobetasol gel.

Patients may take this medication for skin irritation caused by eczema and allergic reactions. Clobetasol gel can help people manage outbreaks of redness, itching, and scaling. Some autoimmune conditions can also benefit from topical clobetasol when the skin breaks out in nodules, lumps, or rashes. Occasional use can suppress inflammation without causing long-term side effects, like problems with the pituitary and adrenal glands, which normally regulate levels of corticosteroids in the body.

Topical clobetasol use may suppress skin inflammation without causing problems with the adrenal glands.
Topical clobetasol use may suppress skin inflammation without causing problems with the adrenal glands.

To use clobetasol gel, patients should wash their hands and the area of application before patting dry. They can use swabs or pads to apply a small bead of gel and smear it on the skin, rubbing it in to ensure it is fully absorbed. Wearing dressings over the gel is not recommended, and patients should be careful about getting it on other areas of the body. If there are concerns about staining clothes, it can be applied after a shower and allowed to dry before dressing.

Patients should always wash their hands before applying clobestasol gel.
Patients should always wash their hands before applying clobestasol gel.

Immediately after applying clobetasol gel, patients may notice some tingling, redness, and itching. These side effects should resolve. If they become worse, or the skin starts to appear more irritated, the medication should be discontinued. Mild soap and warm water can be used to scrub the gel off if it causes extreme irritation. Care providers can offer advice on available alternatives for patients who don’t tolerate the medication well.

Clobetasol gel may be useful for someone suffering with a rash.
Clobetasol gel may be useful for someone suffering with a rash.

Topical steroids like clobetasol gel can be a concern if they are used for a long time. Some patients develop skin thinning, which can expose them to the risk of infection, and discoloration can also appear. The medications can also interfere with the body’s ability to produce corticosteroid hormones internally, which can cause problem when the drug is discontinued. If inflammation doesn’t respond after approximately two weeks of treatment, the patient may need a different medication or more aggressive evaluation to find the underlying cause of the skin irritation. For example, the patient might be experiencing an allergic reaction to something in the environment that hasn’t been eliminated, like a food that hasn’t been identified as an allergen.

Clobetasol gel can help soothe itching caused by skin inflammation.
Clobetasol gel can help soothe itching caused by skin inflammation.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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