31 answers

Acid Mantle (Cream Mixed with Hydrocortisone) - Is It Safe?

I have a 15 month old son who has extremely sensitive skin and had horrible ezcema (sp?) since he was an infant. We found out that it was mostly caused by an allergy to pet dander so we had to give up our pug. Well, we have been using a prescription cream on him called A-Mantle since he was about 6 months old that our Pediatric Allergist prescribed (who is associated with CHOP). This cream is a hydrocortisone mixed with some other type of cream. We use it on him practically every single day (since he still has ezcema). I specifically asked the doctor if it is safe to use on a daily basis and on his face and he has reassured me numerous times that it is okay. I just wanted to ask if anyone knew of any side effects from using hydrocortisone for so long? It is the only thing that gets rid of my sons rashes. We have tried aquaphor, cetaphil, vaseline, etc. and nothing else seems to work. I also have Celiac disease and I know a lot of the natural products contain oat which I would prefer not to use in case my son has a reaction to it. Any suggestions are very much appreciated!

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Featured Answers

Hey J.!

I've been using it for two years of my 2.5yo son and we haven't had any side effects yet!

-J. S.

Hi J.!

I have two sons, ages 7 and 17 months, although neither of my children have had ezcema, my younger son has very dry skin and I've tried the Arbonne lotion on him and the dry skin and redness has disappeared. I've tried other baby products on him that did not work and my sister had e-mailed me a letter that was sent to Arbonne via a pediatrician stating that many of her ezcema patients had much success using the Arbonne baby lotion. It worked for me, you may want to try it! Good Luck!

Hi! My daughter has eczema too and I have been told to use Acid Mantle as well! I have not been able to find a pharmacy that charges less than $75 for the prescription and was told that I could buy the .1% cortisone and the Amantle separately and combine in my hands for the same effect! Please let me know what replies you get - I could definitely use some suggestions!

More Answers

I use a salve/balm for babies with Ezcema that I got from Wholefoods - but I cannot remember the name. It has Ezcema in the title and all natural. I am using it on my 5 month old face. I was told by another doctor that using hydrocortine cream on the face can make the skin thin and bleach it. Just be careful and get a second opinion.

1 mom found this helpful

If you have celiac disease, then your son may
also have food allergies. Cow's milk is definitely
not neccessary for kids. Many kids have problems
with dairy, and gluten too, and it goes undiagnosed.
Americans falsely believe you must eat dairy to have
enough calcium.
As someone else here said, please research these things on your own, because medical doctors only treat symptoms and not the underlying causes.

1 mom found this helpful

I used this on my son when he was a baby...45 years ago...I have been worried about it ever since. I guess it depends on how it re-acts with each person. My Dr. said it may have caused my glaucoma and to quit using it on the itch near my eyes. Please do not use it anywhere neaar his eyes....just in case this could happen. Check with your Dr. to see what the latest research has proven. Better safe than sorry. My son does not have Glaucoma at this point if that helps your worries. I have used the straight Hydrocortisone not the type you have mentioned.

My son is almost 3 years old and uses the same cream daily for eczema. He also has terribly sensitive skin, and gets horrible rashes on his feet and wrists/hands, especially when he spends time out in the yard in the grass. We have been using the cream as prescribed by our allergist (also CHOP) for about a year without any difficulties.

You could ask a dermatologist. However, I have found that with my own eczema(I've had it since I was little) that the dermatologists tend to think things are safer than other doctors. I did have a dermatologist and my OB tell me not to use a cortisone medicine while pregnant, but another dermatologist said she prescribes it to pregnant people all the time.

Usually what I do for myself and my son, I use the cortisone creams when the rash is red and blotchy. When it's not so bad I'll use Aquaphor or Eucercin cream. I'm sure your son's medicine isn't very strong, normally they prescribe the lowest dosage possible. I have an extremely high dosage of cortisone ointment for my hands and I have to use it almost every day or my finger tips crack.

Hi there. we use it with our 2 year old-- started using it last year--and it worked wonders. he has sensitive skin, we all do, and it didn't cause any other reactions. we haven't really used it this year, but we found out he has a dairy allergy and he is now completely off dairy (I call him a meat-eating vegan) so that might have something to do with it. i would say relax. it's a topical cream and nothing his digesting, so it's fine.

HI! How 'bout breast milk! It's great for cuts, diaper rash, etc., so why not give it a try??
If you have any specific questions, feel free to e me directly.
L., 39
Brianna 21m & yes! still bf'ing!
and baby
in Evansburg/Skippack/Collegeville
butterflylindamarie at yahoo dot com

my son had almost the same thing and we had a similar treatment and concerns. he is now 5 years old and not only perfectly fine but he doesn't have the same sensitive skin. i am still surprised it cleared up so completely.

My daughter had severe eczema when she was younger and they gave us creams for her. However, we started giving her probiotics, available at health food stores, and started using aveeno products for eczema and it cleared up. She is 5 now and I still give her the probiotics several times a week, expecially during the summer when it seems to be more prevelant, and we haven't had to use any steroid or hydrocortisone since. Good luck!

I don't know anything about a-mantle, but I found an over-the-counter-product that cleared up my daughter's patches almost over night. (Our pediatrician had prescribed a prescription hydrocortisone cream, but it just wouldn't completely get rid of the patches. And hers were really bad on her legs, bum and back.) Stelatopia by Mustela...I bought it at Babies R Us, but you can probably find it other places as well. The whole Stelatopia line is designed specifically for babies' eczema and it was expensive, but much cheaper than our prescription. I bought the hair/body wash, bath oil, and a lotion. Her eczema patches were completely gone within a couple of days. I am now able to use our normal gentle - and cheaper - baby wash (I love Jafra baby products!) and then use the Stelatopia every once in awhile when I notice her skin getting a patch.

I would not use it for more than 2 weeks. my daughter had horrible egzema, but after a long time when nothing (that doctors prescribed) worked I treated her with all fashioned medicine - plenty of sun and salty water. An old dermatologist told me that. Also, we bought salty body crub with dead sea minerals - it worked miracles. Plus, i think that most children grow out of their egzema. You might try the salt scrub or salty baths and see if there is an improvement. You can always stop. this is a natural method so your child will not be in any chemical or steroid danger.
I hope it helps a little, A.

Hi there! My daughter is now 16 months & I think we were in the same boat....she's had eczema since birth as well & we use it nearly every day, again at the advice of our pediatrician (in PA). When I moved to NC, the new pediatrician said it's is fine as well but that we were just as well putting hydrocortisone on it & than layering some Eucerin (or another really thick cream) over top of the spots/patches....

So, I'd venture to say yes, it's ok & there are not any crazy side affects but I am not a doctor either....

Hope this helped a bit!

To be completely safe, I would get a referral to a pediatric dermatologist.

Hey J.!

I've been using it for two years of my 2.5yo son and we haven't had any side effects yet!

-J. S.

I have a 16 month son in a similar situation. My son was put on the same compound when he was 7 weeks old. Little did his pediatrician know that my son didn't have classic eczema. He had or still has Seborrheic Dermatitis. We were also told that we could use the compound 2x everyday & after using it for several months & going through 3 1lb jars we started getting concerned as to why we couldn't even skip a treatment without my son's rash coming back severely & rapidly within hours. The rash never seemed to bother my son until it spread into his scalp after we attempted a cold turkey withdrawal when he was 8 months old. The pediatrician that prescribed my son this compound couldn't believe what he saw during the cold turkey withdraw. I told him this is what your prescription did to my son. The rash was very bizarre. It looked like a drug reaction & it covered almost his entire body spreading to areas that weren't affected before. The doctor wouldn't admit it. He said no this is Gionatti Crosti Syndrome & told us it would go away on its own. Well it still hasn't & after 3 weeks of the cold turkey attempt we had to put him back on steroids because his skin was so raw & open for infection. None of the specialists we have seen have been very helpful. I don't think they've ever witnessed anything like this before. They seem to think that the compound wasn't strong enough to have side effects but the ton of research I've done proves otherwise. You should never use any strength of topical steroids long term especially on a baby. It can cause dependency, skin thinning, and internal side effects such as adrenal suppression. My son is now on a stronger steroid called verdeso foam which was first tried before we went cold turkey. Another uneducationed specialist told us to use this 2x a day 4 days in a row & then 3 days off. Well it definitely cleared my son's skin up but by abruptly stopping for 3 days it was only making the rash more angry & the rash would come back full force before the 3 days were up. After consulting with numerous pharmacists we decided to try tapering my son. We got the rash under control & then started applying the verdeso 2x everyother day in 11/09. After sticking to this for 2 months I finally saw an improvement & was able to go down to 1x every other day. My son's rash would flare up but it never got way out of control like before. We are now down to using it 2x a week head to toe from 8-12x a week. Which is a great improvement but we still can't get him off of the steroids. No moisturizers that we tried before would work once my son became dependent but after tapering him, we are now able to keep his rash under control on the days off of the steroid with vaseline. Another good product is vanicream it doesn't have preservatives like alot of other products. The worst parts of my son's body right now is his face, scalp, & hands. They constantly flare & now itch. It looks like he has multiple rashes going at once & its really hard to tell since he's been on steroids so long. He's been treated for fungal & bacterial infections & there's still no improvement. Its obvious to me but not the doctors that my son is suffering from side effects from being on steriods too long. Living proof is my second son which is now 5 months & who had the same rash (almost as bad) but with him we didn't use any steroids, simplya thick layer of vaseline 2x daily, cool baths, & loose clothing & his rash is almost gone now. If there's anyone out there that can help us get our son off steroids once and for all please help us.

Hi J.!

My middle child, who is now 5-1/2, suffered with horrible skin. He would actually get painful blisters on his skin! His doctor is also associated with CHOP and perscribed everything under the sun only to get temporay relief. My friend introduced me to Arbonne, all natural products, and I tried them right away. He has had beautiful skin ever since. They have an awesome baby line, which is what I started with and still use occationally. In the winter months when my kids skin start to get dry, I put 2 scoops of our Awaken sea salt scrub in his bath. Please check out my ____@____.com. I started selling their products almost 2 years ago because I've seen the miracles they can perform on myself, my husband & children! If you find the products of interest to you, please let me know. I am so happy to share these products that I'd be willing to get you free samples and give you my 35% discount with your first order! Hope to hear from you! L.


I don't know much about the cream, but I think it would only treat the symtoms, not the cause of the eczema.... Dairy products have been found to exacerbate eczema, maybe google it. Dr. Andrew Weil has info on his website about it as well. I have celiac as well, and since it has genetic roots it might also be a good idea to take all gluten out of his diet as well.... I have children with food sensitivities as well and over time it does get easier to find things for them to eat (as you well know as a Celiac!!) GL! Meg

My 6 year old daughter uses this cream (in a 1% concentration) for eczema. Her doctor prescribed it when I expressed concern about using the 2.5% presecription hydrocortisone ointment all the time. After all, it is a steroid, and we had been using it on her since she was 6 months old! The doctor told me the 1% compound was so weak it could safely be used all over every day. She also said the acid mantle is better than other cream bases because it is PH balanced.
(PS. I switched over to "green" household cleaners recently(Shaklee and Target brands) and my daughter's eczema improved by about 90% in one week. Now we use the acid mantle occasionally but not nearly as much as before.

Good luck!

Hi, what worked for me with eczema was Herbal Saavy by Country Comfort. They make several blends..a baby one, a golden seal one and a comfrey one.

I used the latter two, started with the golden seal and it solved the problem within days.

Noni serum is also great, but a bit pricey. www.tni.com I know someone who is a rep.

Good luck!! The hydrocortisone creams never really did anything for me, just made the skin kind of thinner.


I don't know that much about hydrocortisone cream but I do have a suggestion. Have you ever heard of Arbonne? It is a botanically based skin care company, products are researched in Switzerland but made in the U.S.
They have a fantastic skin care line for infants, it addresses ezcema and those with very sensitive skin. If you would like more information or a sample of the product please let me know. I can get you a sample pack to try on your son.
Good luck,
D. B ____@____.com

Hi Jamie, My two sons both have eczema, the youngest is 5months and has it very severe. Our pediatrician put him on a 2% prescription cortizone, and advised us that we could use it on him every where twice daily except his face. That we should only use it there very rarely, when it is inflamed and scalely. He specifically told us that it thins the skin on the face, to maybe use an over the counter 1%cortizone and lubriderm or aveeno lotion on his face. I would get a second opinion from someone else, your child could also have food allergies. Our son is allergic to milk and they don't normally test for anything else until after they are 2years of age. Try using non scented soaps,aveeno baby wash and shampoo, non scented lotions,hypoallergenic detergents and fabric softners. We use All free and clear detergent and ultra purex soft. They are all found at Wal-Mart. Good Luck.

We have been using it on my 16 month old son since he was 4 months old (and still using it). He is also allergic to dogs, and we have two...but they are part of our family...there is no way we can let them go - hoping he outgrows his allergy. Anyway....we use the acid mantle almost daily and have had nothing but success with it!!

I have a 14 year old son who has eczema since he was a baby and we have used Hydrocortisone since he was little. It doesn't seem to have any side effects, at least not with him. We have used it on his face and he seems to be ok. The other thing we always did was to make sure we put lotion on him after his baths. We could not use lotions with a fragrance as that would irritate him. We bought a special lotion from the pharmacy, last time we bought it it was about $20 a bottle, but it lasts a long time. I can let you know the name of it if you want it. ____@____.com

Hi J.!

I have two sons, ages 7 and 17 months, although neither of my children have had ezcema, my younger son has very dry skin and I've tried the Arbonne lotion on him and the dry skin and redness has disappeared. I've tried other baby products on him that did not work and my sister had e-mailed me a letter that was sent to Arbonne via a pediatrician stating that many of her ezcema patients had much success using the Arbonne baby lotion. It worked for me, you may want to try it! Good Luck!

my son was perhaps about 6 months old when we started using acid mantle with hytrocortisone and he is now 5 years old and rarely needs it. i found that J&J head to toe caused his eczema to get much, much worse. our dr at the time told us to try dove body wash and we did and his eczema pretty much cleared up! when i had my daughter she had the same problem and the dove didn't work for her,however J&J bath wash (white bottle similar to the yellow one and the soap is red) did work for her and it works for my son too (i tried the arbonne which worked for my son but not my daughter). i also found that sunscreen made the eczema worse. if their eczema isn't horrible and they need cream i use the acid mantle by itself and that works great too. you can buy it without the hydrocortisone at the pharmacy, however you have to ask for it at the counter. it costs about $30 for the tub, but i don't worry about that since it lasts a long time and works well! i hope some of these suggestions help you! if you have any other questions, let me know.

Acid Mantle cream saved our lives. My second son had horrible ecezma to the point his poor hands were always bleeding. In the beginning we used the cream mixed with prescription strength cortisone. Once we had things under control we switched to plain cream. When he and my youngest son started school the excema came back with a vengenance. It turns out the school soap is very harsh (I can't even use it) so we all carry our own soap. Do not order this from Amazon. I am horrified by the price they are charging. A 16oz tub should only be $75-100. I also buy 1oz tubes so my boys have them in their backpapcks. Research the price online as there are cheaper places.

Hi! My daughter has eczema too and I have been told to use Acid Mantle as well! I have not been able to find a pharmacy that charges less than $75 for the prescription and was told that I could buy the .1% cortisone and the Amantle separately and combine in my hands for the same effect! Please let me know what replies you get - I could definitely use some suggestions!

Contact Evans Garden online at their website. They are located in Florida and make all natural products. "EvansGarden.com" <____@____.com>. Give them the background information and they will reply specifically to your problems.
My grandson has skin problems & his Dr. recommended cortizone cream and lotion also.
Evans Garden's products are working wonderfully (& better than what the Dr. recommended) for him.
I suspect they would have suggestions for your Celiac problem as well.
My daughter and I have been very pleased with everything we have purchased from Evans Garden.

C. L

My son also had bad eczema when he was a baby ,now he is almost 13yrs.Long term hydrocortisone can thin the skin,Alsolast week someone had a similar question.it is usually related to food allergy.There are creams such as eucerin that I use with desitin together that helped.Also alot has to do with food allergy,At 6months I had to stop the ceareal.And slowly introduce foods.I personally would not use the cortisone for more than a few days.Also bathe only 1or 2days aweek.Try to find something natural to add to water that drys the skin,My son still gets bad rashes during the changing of all 4 seasons and we use the same remedy and within days heals his skin. you may also want to try a dermatologist that has a more homeopathic approach. Goodluck!!!

Hi Jamie...my daughter is just over 5 months old and was prescribed the same medication for her ezcema. Its awesome! We saw a change in her skin in as little as a day and were instructed by our doc to use it twice a day for 5 days. Today is day 4 and its been gone for a couple of days now! We've had no problems with it and the doc did tell me that the Acid Mantle was pretty benign, since I had some initial concerns myself. Though my doc told me not to use it on her face or neck, but rather the Aquaphor on those areas instead. It seems safe, but I don't know about any long term use effects. Best of luck! :-)

I used this exact same mix on my son at about the same age as yours. The eczema on his face was painful looking and this medication worked miracles. I used it daily in the beginning and then less as the eczema healed. By the time the tub ran out (probably 18 months) he was in such good shape that I didn't get a refill (it was expensive!). He is now 3 and half and never has flare ups on his face anymore. He does have some spots on his legs but I can keep it under control with Aquaphor. If I were you I wouldn't have any reservations about using this product. It works. My son did extremely well on it.

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