Topical steroids come in different strengths, ranging from mild to moderate, potent and very potent. Side effects are more common in high-potency prescription-strength steroid creams. Over-the-counter hydrocortisone is the lowest-potency steroid cream available, but could cause thinning of the skin if used daily for many consecutive weeks. This is especially true if steroid cream is used on thin, sensitive skin such as the eyelids, genital areas, or the folds of the skin. As a general rule, to minimize the risk of side effects, use the lowest strength preparation that is effective. Very potent steroids should only be used for short periods, whereas milder ones can be used longer.

The most infamous steroid cream of all, The Clear made headline news only a few years ago with the breaking BALCO scandal and the host of athletes involved. A steroid cream developed for the purpose of performance enhancing, although it provides this attribute it is relatively weak in comparison to other anabolic steroids. The Clear is comprised of two key ingredients, testosterone and epitestosterone; a combination that allows the drug to be used by a tested athlete in an undetectable manner. Although the drug will not provide massive gains in strength or size it will provide a nice boost and more importantly to the tested athlete it will do so without detection.

Transdermal patches can be a very precise time released method of delivering a drug. Cutting a patch in half might affect the dose delivered. The release of the active component from a transdermal delivery system (patch) may be controlled by diffusion through the adhesive which covers the whole patch, by diffusion through a membrane which may only have adhesive on the patch rim or drug release may be controlled by release from a polymer matrix. Cutting a patch might cause rapid dehydration of the base of the medicine and affect the rate of diffusion.