This article is especially applicable to Atopic Dermatitis, but you can follow these general rules for any form of dermatitis.
Always use the lowest potency corticosteroid creams at the lowest frequency of application that will just control your eczema.
So how do I find the correct potency of corticosteroid and correct frequency of application?
Generally speaking when you initially start treating your eczema start with one of the higher potency corticosteroids. Once you have achieved control start reducing the number of applications. If you can reduce the number of applications to once or twice weekly, while still retaining control over your eczema, then you can try a lower potency corticosteroid application.
Use the weakest corticosteroid cream/ointment just frequent enough to control your eczema.
Once you have this “new” lower potency corticosteroid application, again start with daily applications and if the eczema is still controlled after about a week you can start reducing the frequency of application again.
If you repeat this process you will eventually end up using the lowest potency corticosteroid application at the lowest frequency of application that will just control your eczema.
When the dermatitis flares up, as it will, then go back to daily application of your current potency corticosteroid. If the flare-up is severe your doctor might start you on the higher potency daily application again.
Once the eczema is controlled again you can again start the above “reducing” regime so that you will again end up on the lowest potency corticosteroid application at the lowest frequency of application that will just control your eczema!
And remember, never let up on the moisturizers!!