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What is Hydrocortisone Cream?

Andrew Bellingham

Andrew Bellingham

Pharmacist | 20+ Years | BPharm | Dip Clin Pharm

Hydrocortisone cream is a topical medication used to treat a variety of skin conditions. It belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids, which work by calming the body’s immune response to reduce inflammation and swelling.

What is Hydrocortisone Cream Used For?

Hydrocortisone cream is typically used to treat a variety of skin conditions, including:

The strength and formulation you use usually depends on your condition, and whether or not a prescription is necessary. 

Who Can and Can't Use It?

Hydrocortisone is generally safe for use by most people, including adults and children aged 10 years and over.

There are some other cases where it may not be suitable for use. It’s best to ask your doctor or pharmacist if you: 

  • Have had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone cream or any other medicine 
  • Are planning to get pregnant or are already pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have broken or infected skin

Do not use
 on children under the age of 10, unless your doctor recommends it for use.

How Long Does It Take to Work?

This is dependent on the strength of your hydrocortisone cream, and the severity of your condition. Though typically, you should notice improvements to your skin after 3-7 days.

It is important to note that you should carefully follow the product label’s instructions to ensure you gain the desired effect.

What Are the Side Effects?

Hydrocortisone cream is generally well-tolerated, but it can cause side effects in some people. The most common side effects include: 

  • Dry, itchy or scaly skin
  • Skin irritation or redness
  • Skin thinning/discolouration
  • Burning or stinging sensation when applied
  • Unusual hair growth

Some serious side effects are indicative of an allergic reaction, and if you are experiencing these, you should call 999 (or go to A&E) immediately:

  • Severe rash
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in the throat or chest
  • Have trouble breathing or talking
  • Swelling in the face and/or throat

Where Can I Buy Hydrocortisone Cream?

You can buy lower strength hydrocortisone creams, like HC45, over-the-counter at your local pharmacy.

If you want to make things easier, open up your Healthera app and order your hydrocortisone cream using the Pharmacy Shop for collection, or get it delivered right to your door!

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