How long to leave clobetasol propionate cream on skin?

Clobetasol propionate can be classified as corticosteroids of a super high potency, which means that you should be careful when applying it on your skin. In case your dermatologist didn’t give you details on administering this topical medication, read on. Often you asked How long to leave clobetasol propionate cream on skin or When there might be a need to wash clobex off. So let’s find out!

When there might be a need to wash it off

Some users leave clobetasol propionate cream on skin before washing it off. They think it needs to be done after a certain period of absorption. You shouldn’t do it unless you accidentally messed up with the dose or applied it onto the wrong site.

Do not use clobetasol propionate cream on the following areas of your body:

  • Rectal area
  • Genitals
  • Armpits
  • Face (especially eyelids)
  • Nose
  • Lips or mouth
  • Skin folds
  • Burnt, scraped, or cut skin

Also, if you happened to use this topical steroid in the area that is too large (more than 10% of your body), rinse it off right away.

How to apply Clobex

You should to:

  • Prior to applying clobetasol either in the form of lotion, ointment or cream, you’d better wash your hands with soap.
  • Clean the skin surface you’re going to apply clobetasol onto (preferably with antiseptics).
  • Apply a very thin layer of this corticosteroid to the affected area.
  • Rub in lightly and completely.
  • Finally, wash your hands again.
How long to leave clobetasol propionate cream on skin?

Types of formulations

Leave it up to your dermatologist to decide which form of clobetasol is better suited in your case. The choice will depend largely on your skin type. Also, the site of the area affected by your skin condition matters much. 

Skin type:

Depending on skin condition:

  • Palms and soles – ointment or cream
  • Skin folds – lotion or cream
  • Hairy areas – lotion

According to common dermatologic wisdom, the ointment formulation is best suited for psoriasis treatment due to its moisturizing properties and occlusive nature. Still, studies demonstrated that it’s a matter of personal preference as all these three forms of clobetasol are equally potent.


  • It’s not advisable to use more than 50 g of clobetasol per week. 
  • Don’t use it on other parts of your body that aren’t affected by your skin disorder. (Some people use it for skin whitening without their doctor’s approval, which might lead to skin thinning and bruising.)
  • Don’t use clobetasol long-term (more than a month).
  • Don’t use it without prescription, especially for kids.
  • Don’t use it if the affected skin is oozing a yellowish fluid since it might be a sign of infection. In this case your dermatologist might prescribe you a different clobetasol cream that contains antibacterial drugs.

How clobetasol propionate gets absorbed

Just like in the case with all topical corticosteroids, clobetasol gets absorbed differently depending on the skin area you apply it onto. Thus, the potency is typically chosen in accordance with the type of skin where it is supposed to be used. This is the reason why clobetasol shouldn’t be used on some skin surfaces like groins and face. The skin is too thin there, and if you rub clobetasol into these areas, the absorption will be much higher and will lead to nasty side effects. For delicate surfaces like these doctors typically recommend using topical steroids of low potency. On the contrary, the skin on your feet and palms is too thick, so you need more cream for these areas. 

How can you determine the right amount to be reassured that you don’t rub more or less cream than needed? It’s important since insufficient amount of the medication might decrease its effectiveness, whereas the use of too much clobetasol is likely to cause nasty side effects. Optimally, you can use the fingertip unit as the minimal amount of the cream to be rubbed into the skin area that needs treatment. One fingertip unit equals the amount of cream you squeeze out of the tube onto the terminal phalanx of your index finger. For adult males, one fingertip unit is approximately 0.5 g and for adult females it equals 0.4 g of the cream. If the affected area is large enough, you need to be careful when measuring your dose of clobetasol since you shouldn’t exceed the threshold of 50 mg per week. Please note that clobetasol propionate cream 0.05 % is a standard strength of this medication.

If you’re not sure about the amount you need, ask your dermatologist .

No Occlusions

Some topical steroids are used under occlusion for faster absorption. Occlusion can be defined as the process of applying the medication to the skin surface and wrapping it using cloth or plastic wrap. When it comes to the application of clobetasol, you aren’t supposed to use occlusions because of the increased risk of developing side effects. 

Is there the equivalent generic for clobetasol propionate cream?

Clobetasol propionate is the generic compound in at least 11 branded medications. It is available under such names as Clobex, Karison, Temovate, Dermavate, Clarelux, Cormax, Olux, etc.

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