Absorption of hydrocortisone from the skin reservoir in atopic dermatitis

Br J Dermatol. 1991 Apr;124(4):358-60. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.1991.tb00597.x.


Percutaneous absorption of hydrocortisone was measured in four children and three adults with atopic dermatitis after the application of 1% hydrocortisone cream and again 12 h after the application of a moisturizer containing 80% water and 5% propylene glycol to the same areas. A significant increase in the level of the plasma cortisol was observed after both applications and these levels were still elevated at 24 h. Topically applied hydrocortisone, stored in eczematous skin, could be released from this reservoir by a moisturizer containing propylene glycol.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adult
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / metabolism*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal / pharmacology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / blood
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Propylene Glycols / pharmacology
  • Skin / metabolism*
  • Skin Absorption / drug effects*
  • Time Factors


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents, Non-Steroidal
  • Propylene Glycols
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Hydrocortisone