American Academy of Pediatrics – Section on Dermatology

View all recommendations from this society

Released January 27, 2021

Avoid the use of combination topical steroid antifungals for tinea corporis, Candida skin infections, and diaper dermatitis.

Although combination topical antifungal/corticosteroids have been approved for the treatment of tinea corporis, candidiasis, and diaper dermatitis, we recommend against use of these agents.

Many providers are unaware that the combination products contain a relatively high-potency topical steroid. For treatment of tinea corporis, the application of a topical antifungal agent alone is recommended. If symptoms such as severe pruritus require concomitant application of a topical steroid, a separate low-potency agent can be prescribed, allowing for a tapering course that should be limited to less than 2 weeks. A separate topical antifungal cream can be continued longer until the infection is cleared. This will reduce the risk of systemic absorption of the topical steroid.

Combination products are often used for treatment of diaper dermatitis. In most patients, diaper dermatitis is an irritant contact dermatitis from stool that will usually respond to barrier diaper creams/ointments alone.

Combination products, if applied with every diaper change, can result in skin atrophy, striae, and systemic absorption of the relatively high-potency topical steroids. It is instead recommended that barrier products be applied with every diaper change in this circumstance and a second low-potency topical steroid be applied, as needed, no more than twice a day and tapered as soon at the dermatitis is under control.

Combination products are also often expensive and not covered by pharmacy plans.

These items are provided solely for informational purposes and are not intended as a substitute for consultation with a medical professional. Patients with any specific questions about the items on this list or their individual situation should consult their physician.

How The List Was Created

Members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Dermatology submitted the top 5 topics for Choosing Wisely items based on a review of the literature and expert opinion of the most common dermatologic problems seen in primary care pediatrics. The list was then peer reviewed and approved by more than a dozen relevant AAP Committees, Councils and Sections. The AAP Executive Committee and Board of Directors granted final approval of the list.

AAP’s disclosure and conflict of interest policy can be found at


Wheat CM, Bickley RJ, Hsueh Y, Cohen BA. Current trends in the use of two combination antifungal/corticosteroid creams. J Pediatr. 2017;186:192-195

Cohen BA. Differential diagnosis of diaper dermatitis. Clin Pediatr. 2017;56:16S-22S

Alston SJ, Cohen BA, Braun M. Persistent and recurrent tinea corporis in children treated with combination antifungal/corticosteroid agents. Pediatrics. 2003;111(1):201-203