Topical treatments in dermatology

Br J Hosp Med (Lond). 2021 Aug 2;82(8):1-9. doi: 10.12968/hmed.2020.0567. Epub 2021 Aug 7.


Topical medications are key agents in treating a range of skin conditions, as they allow affected areas to be targeted while avoiding systemic side effects. Although there is a wide range of topical agents available, it is helpful to be familiar with a few commonly used formulations. This article describes how to select appropriate agents, prescribe appropriate quantities, and counsel patients on safe and effective treatment regimens.

Keywords: Acne; Eczema; Emollients; Topical antimicrobials; Topical corticosteroids; Topical immunomodulators; Topical retinoids.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris*
  • Administration, Topical
  • Dermatologic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Dermatology*
  • Humans
  • Retinoids / therapeutic use
  • Skin Diseases* / drug therapy
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Retinoids