Alphaderm is an anti-inflammatory cream used in the treatment of dry, scaling and itchy skin including various types of eczema, neurodermatitis and prurigo. It contains a mild steroid called ‘hydrocortisone’. Alphaderm Cream also contains urea, the skin’s natural moisturiser. This softens dry, scaly skin and helps the hydrocortisone to penetrate deeper into the skin and be more effective.
Alphaderm Cream belongs to a group of medicines called topical corticosteroids. Corticosteroids (or steroids) are similar to natural substances the body produces.
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Eczema: Brief overview
Eczema is the name for a group of conditions that cause the skin to become red, itchy and inflamed. Eczema is a general term for dermatitis, which is the term normally used for the inflammation of the skin. All types of eczema cause itching and redness and some will blister or peel. There are several types of eczema, and to know which type of the condition you have is relevant to the type of treatment you will need.
While the exact cause of eczema is unknown, researchers do know that people who develop eczema do so because of a combination of genes and environmental triggers. When an irritant or an allergen is exposed to the immune system, skin cells don’t behave as they normally would and therefore cause flare-ups.
Alphaderm in the treatment of eczema
This medicine relies on two active ingredients called hydrocortisone and urea. Urea is a substance that is found naturally in the skin, which by its nature is very attracted to water. It is used to help rehydrate dry and scaly skin. When urea is applied to the skin it penetrates the outer layer of the skin called the stratum corneum, where it readily absorbs and retains water. This increases the capacity of the skin to hold moisture and helps the skin become rehydrated. When hydrocortisone is applied to the skin it works by acting inside the cells to decrease the release of these inflammatory substances. This reduces swelling, redness and itching. Hydrocortisone on its own is classed as a mild corticosteroid.
Corticosteroids are medicines used for reducing inflammation. Inflammation of the skin happens as a result of allergy or irritation of the skin and is caused by the release of various substances that are important in the immune system. These substances cause blood vessels to widen and result in the irritated area becoming red, swollen, itchy and painful, such as is seen in dermatitis or eczema. By rehydrating and softening the skin, urea improves the ability of the hydrocortisone to penetrate the skin and reduce inflammation.
Can I buy Alphaderm online in the UK?
When treating the condition, a doctor will usually assess its severity before advising which type of medication (if necessary) to use. Alphaderm is available to buy online through a secure prescription service, like an online clinic of your choice. But you should keep in mind that in the UK this is a prescription-only medicine, so you will have to obtain a prescription in order to buy it legally.
Most online clinics offer various forms of consultations with a doctor – from live chat apps to customized questionnaires, all these methods are there to help the doctor employed by the online clinic to make an informed decision about your suitability for the treatment, based on your medical profile and history.
If you get the go-ahead from the doctor, he will issue a prescription and use it that very same moment to send the required medicine straight to your doorstep.
How to use Alphaderm?
When using Alphaderm, it is absolutely crucial to precisely follow the guidelines presented to you by your prescriber. In addition to this, you should also consult the official patient information leaflet that you can find within every box of the medicine for a detailed overview of the treatment. Doing so will go a long way in diminishing the risk of side effects while at the same time boosting the chances of success.
Some most general guidelines can be described as follows:
- Alphaderm cream should be applied thinly and evenly to the affected area(s) of skin twice a day.
- Avoid applying this cream to weeping or split areas of skin, as it may cause temporary irritation of these areas.
- Wash your hands thoroughly after applying this medicine, unless the hands are the area being treated.
- You should continue using this medicine for as long as your doctor has prescribed it for. However, if you are applying it to a child’s skin, it should preferably not be used for longer than 7 to 14 days at a time. Follow the instructions given by your doctor.
- Don’t use this medicine more often or for longer than advised by your doctor.
- Don’t apply your moisturisers on the same area of skin at the same time as this medicine. Try to leave at least 30 minutes between applying moisturisers and this medicine as otherwise, the moisturiser could dilute the corticosteroid and potentially make it less effective.
Are there any side effects with Alphaderm?
As is the case with all prescription medicines, Alphaderm also comes with an array of potential side effects. The most serious of them certainly is an allergic reaction to the medicine. If you turn out to be allergic to Alphaderm or any of its ingredients, it is essential to contact the emergency services immediately and ask for advice. The symptoms of any possible side effects are:
- Skin irritation, redness, rash, itching or burning on the application, or allergic inflammation of the skin (contact dermatitis). Stop using this medicine and consult your doctor if you think your skin condition appears to be getting worse
- Spread or worsening of untreated infections
- Reduced skin pigmentation
- Thinning of the skin.
- Groupings of fine blood vessels becoming prominent under the skin (telangiectasia)
- Stretch marks
Keep in mind that this is just a brief summary of the known side effects. For a comprehensive list, please refer to the official patient information leaflet.
In order to ensure the safety of this treatment, always make sure to disclose all the relevant info to your doctor and this includes other medicines you might be taking at the moment and other medical conditions that you might be affected by.
There are also some situations when the use of Alphaderm might be contraindicated. This can be the case if you have some other condition that might adversely interact with Alphaderm. Some of the condition that might be the issue include:
- Viral skin infections, such as chickenpox, shingles, cold sores or herpes simplex
- Bacterial skin infections, such as impetigo
- Fungal skin infections such as thrush, ringworm, athlete’s foot
- Chronic inflammatory disorder of the facial skin (acne rosacea)
- Inflammatory rash around the mouth (perioral dermatitis)
- This medicine should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding unless considered essential by your doctor
This medicine is not known to affect other medicines.