What is Hydrocortisone Cream?
Hydrocortisone Cream is a topical cream used to relieve itching, swelling and skin irritation. It is commonly used to treat skin conditions including the following:
- Nappy rash
- Contact dermatitis
- Prickly heat
- Insect stings and bites
Hydrocortisone Cream contains a medicine called a corticosteroid. The corticosteroid in this type of cream is generally mild. You can purchase Hydrocortisone Cream over the counter without a prescription from your doctor.
If you are buying Hydrocortisone Cream over the counter, it should not be used for more than a week without consulting your doctor.
There is another form of prescription-only Hydrocortisone Cream available called hydrocortisone butyrate. If you have a fungal or bacterial skin infection, your doctor may prescribe a Hydrocortisone Cream that contains antimicrobials.
How does Hydrocortisone Cream work?
Hydrocortisone Cream is used to relieve inflammation caused by skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema. It can also be used for nappy rash, prickly heat and insect stings and bites.
Hydrocortisone Cream contains a type of medicine known as a topical corticosteroid or topical steroid. Corticosteroids are available in different potencies and hydrocortisone is classed as a mild corticosteroid.
Corticosteroids work to calm inflammation by altering the way the body responds to inflammatory reactions. This reduces itching, redness and swelling prevalent in many inflammatory skin conditions.
For skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, it's common to use Hydrocortisone Cream in conjunction with a moisturiser (emollient) to provide relief from itchy, red and inflamed skin.
Hydrocortisone Cream provides relief for up to 12 hours.
You should never use Hydrocortisone Cream on the face unless your doctor has given you a prescription for this. Using it on the face can make conditions such as rosacea and acne worse.
How to use Hydrocortisone Cream
- Wash your hands before applying Hydrocortisone Cream
- Apply a thin, even layer to the affected area(s) and use the smallest amount of cream possible
- Use the cream once or twice a day (once is often sufficient)
- If using the cream twice a day, try to allow an 8–12 hour gap between applications
- Wash your hands thoroughly after using the cream, unless the hands are the area being treated
- Do not use the cream for more than 7 days without consulting your doctor
What dosages are available for Hydrocortisone Cream?
Hydrocortisone is only available to buy over the counter in one dosage. You will usually find Hydrocortisone Cream contains 1% hydrocortisone.
Stronger creams are only available on prescription from your doctor.
You should not use this cream if you are allergic to any of the ingredients.
What are the side effects of Hydrocortisone Cream?
Mild corticosteroids are usually very well tolerated and short courses (less than 1 month) of hydrocortisone cream usually do not cause any side effects.
However, if you use topical steroids excessively or for long periods of time, there is the risk of side effects such as: skin thinning; development of permanent stretch marks; rosacea; acne; allergic contact dermatitis; and, excessive hair growth at the application site.
You can reduce the risk of these side effects by applying Hydrocortisone Cream no more than twice a day and using a small amount of the cream, applying it thinly to the affected area.
Other side effects that have been reported include a mild burning or stinging sensation when the cream is applied to the skin. This should normally stop after using the cream for a few days.
If you are concerned about these or any other side effects, you should consult your doctor or pharmacist.
What are the precautions/interactions of Hydrocortisone Cream?
If you are applying a moisturiser along with Hydrocortisone Cream, the moisturiser should be applied to the skin first. It's best to wait at least 15 minutes for the moisturiser to be absorbed before applying a topical corticosteroid. This prevents the moisturiser from diluting the corticosteroid.
If you are using hydrocortisone for nappy rash along with a barrier cream, the hydrocortisone should be applied first, and the barrier cream afterwards.
You should always tell your doctor about any other medicines you are using including over-the-counter medicines, herbal remedies and any other topical medicines.
Once you have finished a course of Hydrocortisone Cream for your eczema or dermatitis, it is a good idea to continue using a moisturiser on a daily basis to prevent future flare-ups.
Hydrocortisone Cream is suitable for use in adults and children over 10 years of age. It should not be used in children under the age of 10 unless advised by your doctor. This is because children are more susceptible to the side effects of corticosteroids.
Pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers should not use Hydrocortisone Cream.
You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to corticosteroids or any of the other ingredients.
How to buy Hydrocortisone Cream/Ointment online
You can buy Hydrocortisone in a cream solution or ointment online. To do so, simply begin a short questionnaire that is reviewed by our doctor. Once approved, you can choose from a number of delivery options.
Getting Hydrocortisone Cream/Ointment delivered in the UK
Free next-day delivery is offered to all residents across the UK made your order is made and approved by 4:30pm Monday to Friday. If this is inconvenient for you, you can choose the nominated delivery day option.
You can also pick up your package in-person by choosing the UPS Access Points option in the checkout.