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The most common side effect of topical corticosteroid use is skin atrophy. All topical steroids can induce atrophy, but higher potency steroids, occlusion, thinner skin, and older patient age increase the risk. The face, the backs of the hands, and intertriginous areas are particularly susceptible. Resolution often occurs after discontinuing use of these agents, but it may take months. Concurrent use of topical tretinoin (Retin-A) % may reduce the incidence of atrophy from chronic steroid applications. 30 Other side effects from topical steroids include permanent dermal atrophy, telangiectasia, and striae.

AB - Treatment goals for atopic dermatitis consist of attempting to eliminate inflammation and infection, hydrating the skin, controlling pruritus, and avoiding exacerbative factors. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of adding a moisturizing regimen to a low-potency topical corticosteroid lotion regimen in the treatment of atopic dermatitis. This controlled, randomized, investigator-masked 3-week study was undertaken to compare twice-daily applications of desonide lotion % alone with twice- daily applications of desonide lotion % plus three-times-daily applications of a moisturizing cream. The efficacy variables assessed included erythema, dryness or scaling, pruritus, excoriations, lichenification, oozing or crusting, and induration or papules. Administration of desonide lotion alone created statistically significant improvement in total sign and symptom scores. The addition of a moisturizer to the treatment regimen produced additional statistically significant improvement in total sign and symptom scores, physicians' global assessments of improvement, and most of the individual efficacy variables. Results of this study suggest that the addition of a moisturizer to a low-potency corticosteroid lotion in separate regimens was effective in treating the signs and symptoms of mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis.

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