Topical and Systemic Corticosteroids

  • Magdalena Kraft
  • Stephanie Soost
  • Margitta WormEmail author
Reference work entry


Corticosteroids belong to the most important anti-inflammatory substances in dermatology and in consequence play also a major role for the treatment of occupational skin diseases.

The chemical structure of cyclopentanoperhydrophenanthrene builds the basis for all topical CS. Steroids have a three-dimensional structure and for activation steroids must be a fusion between the hydrocarbon skeleton and the specific glucocorticoid receptor. The classification of topical corticosteroids covers four classes, with class one having the weakest and class four the strongest efficacy.

In dermatology, the three effects of corticosteroids of primary importance are anti-inflammatory, antiproliferative, and immune suppressive effects.

In occupational dermatology, topical CS are the first-line treatment in allergic contact eczema due to their anti-inflammatory effects. Local adverse events and systemic side effects should be considered. In occupational dermatology, there is almost no indication for systemic corticosteroid treatment.


Topical corticosteroids Topical steroids Occupational dermatology Hand eczema 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magdalena Kraft
    • 1
    • 2
  • Stephanie Soost
    • 1
  • Margitta Worm
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Venerology and AllergyCharité – Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Division of Allergy and Immunology, Department of Dermatology, Venerology and AllergyCharité – Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany

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