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Hydrocortisone Cream (hydrocortisone) is a topical application of an anti-inflammatory, anti-pruritic, and vasoconstrictive steroid. It is a potent medication even in very small amounts, used in the treatment of an assortment of skin irritations and conditions, including:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Insect bites or stings
  • Dermatitis
  • Diaper rash
  • Other inflamed, itchy, or painful skin ailments

In most cases the condition will be largely cleared up within two weeks of treatment; often much quicker for mild cases.

Using Hydrocortisone Cream

The cream is simple to use; simply apply a small amount to the target area two to four times a day, depending upon severity. The affected area should be cleaned and dried prior to application. If applying the cream to the anus to treat hemorrhoids, anal fissures or similar conditions, re-apply the medication after any bowel movements.

The application site may sting or burn a bit when the medication is first applied; this should be mild and should pass very quickly, often followed by rapid relief of any pain or itching. If the condition appears to worsen with application---increased pain, redness, spreading, and so forth---the cream should be immediately washed off and a doctor consulted about alternative options.

The application site may be covered with a breathable bandage if desired; airtight bandages or tight clothing should be avoided as this can increase absorption of hydrocortisone, possibly causing side effects. If evidence of infection appears dressings should be removed and discontinued.

If used to treat diaper/nappy rash the treated area should not be covered; even the most breathable diapers are thick enough to cause enhanced absorption, and young bodies are more susceptible to side effects.

Hydrocortisone cream should not be applied:

  • To open wounds
  • To mucous membranes
  • To infected skin
  • Over large areas of the body
  • In large quantities
  • Over a long period of time

As a general rule, if the condition still needs treatment after two weeks of applying hydrocortisone cream, a doctor should be consulted; it's likely more effective options are available. Overuse of the cream can have damaging and unsightly consequences.

Precautions & Side Effects

Consult a doctor about potential risks before using hydrocortisone cream if there is a history of:

  • Diabetes
  • Cushing's syndrome
  • Allergic reaction to other corticosteroids

Relatively common side effects associated with hydrocortisone cream use include:

  • Mild burning, stinging, or other irritation when first applied
  • Folliculitis
  • Hypertrichosis
  • Secondary infection
  • Unexpected hair growth
  • Dry skin
  • Pigmentation
  • Stretch marks
  • Thinning of skin
  • Acne if applied to face

Because hydrocortisone cream is topical, serious side effects are rare. However, they do sometimes happen and can be serious; seek medical attention if experiencing:

  • Uneven heartbeat
  • Blurry vision or halos
  • Increased blood glucose levels
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unexplained increase in thirst
  • Unexplained increase in urination
  • Swelling of feet or legs
  • Impaired healing of wounds
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Unexplained pain in legs, shoulders, arms, ribs, back, or hips
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Severe rash, redness, swelling or other signs of infection
  • Swelling of face or throat, difficulty breathing, hives, or other symptoms of allergic reaction

Again the above side effects are quite rare. If they are experienced, there are many alternative treatments which may prove less disruptive; a doctor or pharmacist can help a given individual find one.

Due to relative increased dosage in proportion to body weight, children may be more likely to experience systemic effects of hydrocortisone cream. Risks include slowed growth and difficulty gaining weight. A doctor should be consulted before using this product on young patients.

Seek emergency medical attention if the cream is accidentally consumed by children or pets.


1% - 30G hydrocortisone  1 Ea - $44.00
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Medicines have benefits and some have risks. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist or you have side effects see your health professional.

Items with this symbol require a prescription be received by us before we can ship it to you. After checking out we will provide you with the information you need to send us your prescription.

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