Genital Skin




Commonly used topical treatments for genital skin


Topical Corticosteroid Advice for use on genital skin

How much and how often to use: Half of a fingertip worth of cream or ointment is sufficient for the genital area, so you will often require less than this amount per application. Potent topical steroids such as clobetasol, betamethasone should be applied once every 24 hours for the duration advised by the doctor or nurse. Mild and moderate steroids such as hydrocortisone and clobetasone can be applied once or twice daily for the indicated duration.

Coming off topical steroids: If using a potent topical steroid cream or ointment daily for over 2 weeks it is advised to gradually reduce usage by using alternate nights for a few weeks then every 3 nights for a few weeks, then weekly. You may be recommended to continue using once a week, or to stop altogether.

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Emollients, ointments and creams Advice for use on genital skin

It is common to be recommended emollients, cream, lotion or ointments to relieve symptoms of itchy, sore or irritated genital skin. These can be used for washing with instead of soaps or shower gels; for soothing skin when it feels irritated; to put on toilet paper before wiping to soothe, protect and help clean the skin without causing the irritation that paper alone sometimes does. There are many different products, and it is important to find the best ones for you. If a product is causing increased irritation you should stop using it and either try another product, or seek advice, depending on what you have been told by your doctor or nurse. If using alongside topical steroid treatment, leave at least 20 minutes between applying the steroid and emollient.

Caution: build-up of ointment or cream on clothing or bed clothes can lead to risk of fire if it comes into contact with a naked flame.

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Salt water washes

Washing with salty water acts as a gentle antiseptic to reduce the chance of wounds or broken skin becoming infected. It is recommended to wash the affected area with salty water once or twice daily until the area heals. This could be either in a bath or with a clean cloth or cotton pad. Using standard table salt, put half a cupful of salt into a bath of warm water, or a teaspoonful of salt into a cup of warm water.