What to Know About Temovate (Clobetasol Propionate)

A Topical Medication Use to Treat Itchy, Red Skin Rashes

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Temovate (clobetasol) is a topical medication used to treat a variety of skin conditions that cause an itchy, red, inflamed rash. It is a potent topical corticosteroid that has anti-inflammatory and anti-itch effects. In addition to Temovate, common brand names include Clobex, Clodan, Cormax, Impoyz, and Olux.

Clobetasol comes in both cream and ointment forms. Lotions, sprays, foams, and shampoos are also available in certain brands.

Close up female hands applying ointment.
Evelien Doosje / Getty Images

Uses

Topical steroids are grouped into classes by strength, Class 7 being the mildest and Class 1 the strongest. Clobetasol is a Class 1 topical steroid; as such it is a highly potent corticosteroid.

Clobetasol helps relieve swelling and itching due to skin rashes and irritations. It can be used to treat various skin disorders such as:

As a high-strength topical steroid, clobetasol is meant to be used as a short-term treatment to quickly improve dermatitis rash flares.

Before Taking

Clobetasol is prescribed in severe cases, or when other topical steroids haven't worked. It's rarely used as a first-line treatment.

Tell your healthcare provider if you have diabetes, liver disease, or an adrenal gland disorder. You should tell your healthcare provider if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. The effect this medication may have on a developing baby isn't known.

Precautions and Contraindications

Because of its potency, this topical steroid isn't recommended for use on the face, armpits, or groin area.

Clobetasol should not be used by children under the age of 12 years old and the brand Impoyz shouldn't be used by anyone under 18 years old. Children are more likely to experience side effects. Children younger than 12 years old often do better with less-potent topical steroid forms.

For older people, whose skin is thinner, caution is advised. Those with delicate skin have a higher risk of side effects. You may be instructed to apply this medication less often or to use it for shorter periods of time.

Clobetasol shouldn't be used to treat rosacea or perioral dermatitis. Topical steroids can make these skin conditions worse.

Other Topical Corticosteroids

There are many different types of prescription topical steroids available, ranging from mild to highly potent.

Examples include:

Dosage

According to the manufacturer, typical dosing for clobetasol cream is twice daily to the affected areas.

The amount of medication needed per application depends on the size of the area being treated, and where the medication is being applied. A fingertip-sized dab is an average dose.

Your healthcare provider will show you how much medication to use per application. You should use no more than 50 grams of medication per week.

Always follow the directions given to you by your healthcare provider, as the dosage for this medication varies from person to person.

How to Take and Store

Apply a thin layer of this medication onto affected areas and rub it in gently. Only apply it to the rash.

This medication is meant to be used short-term, during acute flares of a skin rash that hasn't improved with other treatments, and it shouldn't be used for more than two weeks consecutively.

Once your condition improves, you should stop using it. It is not meant to be used as a preventative treatment.

Don't apply the cream more often than it's is prescribed, and don't use more medication than recommended per dose. Doing so won't clear up your rash any faster, but it raises the chance of developing side effects.

Also, don't use this medication as a moisturizer. If your skin feels dry between uses, apply a non-medicated, over-the-counter moisturizing cream.

Clobetasol should be stored at room temperature.

Side Effects

When used exactly as directed, the risk of side effects from this medication is low. Report any side effects to your healthcare provider.

Minor Side Effects

Minor side effects from this cream include:

  • Burning and stinging after application
  • Itching
  • Thinning of the skin
  • Scaling or cracked skin

Less commonly, you may develop these minor side effects:

  • Folliculitis (red, pus-filled bumps in the hair follicles)
  • Lightening of the skin color
  • Stretch marks

These side effects typically are not permanent and often resolve after the medication is discontinued.

Severe Side Effects

Serious side effects due to this medication are rare.

If you experience any of these, call your healthcare provider immediately:

  • Rash not healing even after proper use of the medication
  • Increased redness and swelling, or signs of infection
  • Signs of an allergic reaction, including hives, or swelling of the face or mouth
  • Changes in vision
  • Fainting

Using this medication over large areas of skin increases the risk of severe side effects, as does long-term use.

Warnings and Interactions

Although this is a topical medication, enough can be absorbed through the skin to cause an overdose. To minimize this risk, don't apply to large areas of the body and don't apply more often than recommended.

Also, after you've applied the medication, don't cover the area with tight clothing or with bandages unless you've been specifically instructed to do so by your healthcare provider. Tightly covering the area after application causes the skin to absorb more than it typically would. This could result in too much of the medication being absorbed by the skin and raise your risk of side effects.

It's possible to absorb enough of this medication through the skin to cause:

This is especially true if using it for longer consecutive periods than recommended.

It's important to wash your hands thoroughly after handling this medication to avoid transferring it to other areas of your body (like your face) or to other people, especially young children.

If you haven't seen improvement of your skin after two weeks of use, let your healthcare provider know.

Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Angela Palmer
Angela Palmer is a licensed esthetician specializing in acne treatment.