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Hydrocortisone 1% Cream & Ointment 50g
- Used to treat all types of eczema and dermatitis and insect bite reactions
- Reduces swelling, itching and irritation in a variety of inflammatory skin conditions
- Suitable for adult and children 10 years of age and over
- It contains the active ingredient hydrocortisone called corticosteroids or "steroids"
- For long-term skin problems such as psoriasis
Eczema Doctor Service
Hydrocortisone Cream is a smooth white cream for application to the skin only. It contains the active ingredient hydrocortisone which belongs to a group of medicines called corticosteroids or "steroids".
Steroids like hydrocortisone are applied to the skin to reduce inflammation. Hydrocortisone Cream 1% is used to treat all types of eczema and dermatitis and insect bite reactions.
Hydrocortisone skin treatments can be used to treat swelling, itching and irritation in a variety of inflammatory skin conditions.
This steroid comes in different forms. Most hydrocortisone skin treatments are mild and are available to buy from pharmacies. Pharmacies sell hydrocortisone up to a maximum 1% strength.
They Come As:
- Ointments are thicker and greasier, and are better for dry or flaky areas of skin.
- Lotion is better for treating large or hairier areas of skin.
How Does Hydrocortisone Work?
Hydrocortisone is a steroid (also called a corticosteroid). Steroids help to reduce swelling (inflammation) in the skin (and other parts of the body). Skin gets inflamed when an allergic reaction or irritation causes chemicals to be released in the skin. These make blood vessels widen and the irritated skin becomes red, swollen, itchy and painful.
Hydrocortisone skin treatments work on your skin’s cells to stop these chemicals being released. This reduces symptoms like swelling, redness and itching.
- For insect bites and stings, nappy rash or contact dermatitis you'll probably only need to use a skin cream for up to 1 week.
- Most people need to use hydrocortisone cream once or twice a day.
- For long-term skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis you may need to use treatments for longer.
- If you use it twice a day, try to leave a gap of 8 to 12 hours before putting on any more.
Using Hydrocortisone With Other Skin Creams
Do not apply hydrocortisone at the same time as other creams or ointments such as a moisturiser. Wait at least 10 minutes between using hydrocortisone and any other product.
- Try to use different skin products at different times of the day.
Suitable for adults and children 10 years of age and over. Only use hydrocortisone skin treatments on children under 10 years old if a doctor recommends it.
About Topical Corticosteroids
If your skin is sore and inflamed, a GP may prescribe a topical corticosteroid (applied directly to your skin), which can reduce the inflammation within a few days.
Topical corticosteroids can be prescribed in different strengths, depending on the severity of your atopic eczema and the areas of skin affected.
They can be:
- very mild (such as hydrocortisone)
- moderate (such as betamethasone valerate and clobetasone butyrate)
- strong (such as a higher dose of betamethasone valerate and betamethasone dipropionate)
- very strong (such as clobetasol propionate and diflucortolone valerate).
If you need to use corticosteroids frequently, see a GP regularly so they can check the treatment is working effectively and you're using the right amount.
How long will I use hydrocortisone skin treatments for?
How long you use it for depends on why you're using it.
- For insect bites and stings, nappy rash or contact dermatitis you'll probably only need to use hydrocortisone for up to 1 week.
- For long-term skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis you may need to use hydrocortisone for longer.
To reduce the risk of side effects your doctor may recommend that you only use hydrocortisone for a few weeks at a time. Once your skin is better, use moisturisers to keep it from becoming inflamed again.
Can I use hydrocortisone skin treatments on my face?
Do not use a hydrocortisone on your face unless a doctor has told you to and given you a prescription for it. The skin on your face is delicate, so if hydrocortisone damages it, it's particularly noticeable.
Some common skin problems that affect the face, such as impetigo, rosacea and acne, can be made worse by hydrocortisone. If your doctor has prescribed hydrocortisone for your face, follow their instructions carefully.
- Do not put hydrocortisone near your eyes or on your eyelids.
Is it safe to use for a long time?
Using hydrocortisone for a long time without stopping can mean some of the medicine gets into your blood. If this happens, there's a very small chance it can cause serious side effects, such as adrenal gland problems, high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia), or problems with your eyesight.
If you have been using hydrocortisone for a long time, your doctor may tell you to gradually reduce the amount you use before stopping completely.
Can I drink alcohol with it?
Yes, you can drink alcohol while using hydrocortisone.
Is there any food or drink I need to avoid?
No, you can eat and drink normally while using hydrocortisone.
Can I still have vaccinations?
Using hydrocortisone cream does not stop you or your child having vaccinations. But tell the doctor or nurse that you're using hydrocortisone cream so they can give the vaccine to an untreated area of skin.
Will it affect my fertility?
There’s no clear evidence that hydrocortisone skin treatments affect male or female fertility.
Will it affect my contraception?
Hydrocortisone for skin does not affect any types of contraception, including the combined pill or the emergency contraception.
Can I drive or ride a bike?
Hydrocortisone does not make you sleepy, so it's safe to drive, ride a bike, or use tools and machinery when using this medicine.
Like all medicines, this medicine can cause side effects although not everybody gets them.
Possible side effects
If you notice the following side effects stop using the cream and tell your doctor immediately. These may be signs of an allergic reaction.
- a skin rash,
- reddening of the skin or itching of the skin.
Other side effects may include:
- spread of infection;
- permanent ‘stretch-mark’ like marks;
- thinning of the skin;
- changes in hair growth;
- oily skin;
- slight loss of colour in the skin;
- blurred vision (uncommon - may affect up to 1 in 100 people).
If you use Hydrocortisone Cream 1% for a long time, very occasionally, this may lead to problems with your hormones. This mainly happens if it is used in areas such as the folds of the skin, the face and the nappy area, or in areas where a dressing is used to cover the area after using the cream.
Steroid withdrawal reaction:
If used continuously for prolonged periods, a withdrawal reaction may occur on stopping treatment with some or all of the following features:
- redness of the skin, which can extend beyond the initial area treated; a burning or stinging sensation; intense itching; peeling of the skin; oozing open sores.
For a full list of side effects, please read the Patient Information Leaflet.
If you get any side effects, talk to your doctor, our Rightdose pharmacists or nurse. This includes any possible side effects not listed in this leaflet.
You can help to make medicines safer by reporting any side-effects to the Yellow Card Scheme at www.mhra.gov.uk/yellowcard.
Before taking any medication, it is important to read the Patient Information Leaflet. You can find information leaflets for your medicines by typing them into the search bar at medicines.org, or by contacting us.
Patient Information Leaflet Hydrocortisone Cream 1% 50g
Other medicines and Hydrocortisone Cream 1%
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking, have recently taken or might take any other medicines.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, think you may be pregnant or are planning to have a baby, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice before using this medicine.
How to store Hydrocortisone Cream
- Do not store above 25˚C.
- Store in the original package and keep the tube in the outer carton. Do not use Hydrocortisone Cream after the expiry date (EXP) which is stated on the tube/carton.
- Medicines should not be disposed of via wastewater or household waste. Ask your pharmacist how to dispose of medicines no longer required. These measures will help to protect the environment.
Keep out of the sight and reach of children.
How to use Hydrocortisone 1% Cream
For external use only.
Always use this medicine exactly as your doctor has told you. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure.
What you need to know before you use this medication
- Check that the tube seal is not broken before use. Use the point on the cap to (Hydrocortisone acetate) break the seal.
- Creams are better for skin that is moist and weepy.
- The amount of cream you need to use is sometimes measured in fingertip units. This is the amount you can squeeze onto the end of your finger. A fingertip unit is generally enough to treat both sides of your hand.
For babies and children, the right amount depends on their age. Your doctor or pharmacist can advise you. Suitable for adults and children 10 years of age and over.
For adults and children - Apply sparingly to the affected area of skin two or three times daily.
- Wash and dry your hands and then squeeze out the right amount.
- Spread the cream or ointment in a thin layer over the area of irritated skin.
- Carefully smooth it into your skin in the direction the hair grows until it disappears.
- Use the cream on all the irritated skin, not just the worst areas.
- Be careful not to get the cream into broken skin or cuts.
- Wash your hands afterwards (unless you are treating the skin on your hands).
- Use sparingly
- Avoid using the cream continuously for a long time, particularly in children and on the face.
If you use more Hydrocortisone Cream 1% than you should
If you accidentally use too much cream it is not likely to cause any harm.
If anyone accidentally swallows any cream, rinse out the mouth and seek medical advice. Take the product and packaging with you.
Using hydrocortisone with other skin creams
Do not apply hydrocortisone at the same time as other creams or ointments such as a moisturiser. Wait at least 10 minutes between using hydrocortisone and any other product. Try to use different skin products at different times of the day.
If you're using a dressing like a bandage or plaster, wait at least 10 minutes after putting hydrocortisone on.
Do not use Hydrocortisone Cream 1%:
- If you are allergic to hydrocortisone or any of the other ingredients of this medicine allergic reactions include mild symptoms such as itching and/or rash. More severe symptoms include swelling of the face, lips, tongue and/or throat with difficulty in swallowing or breathing).
- If you have an infection of the skin which has not been treated;
- If you have pale or reddened patches of skin – (usually as a result of an allergy; this is a condition known as urticaria);
- If you have a facial skin condition known as rosacea;
- If you have ulcers or an infection at the site of treatment;
- If you have psoriasis (a skin condition).
Warnings and precautions
Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before using Hydrocortisone Cream 1%:
- If you have TB (tuberculosis)
- If you have diabetes.
Do not smoke or go near naked flames - risk of severe burns. Fabric (clothing, bedding, dressings etc.) that has been in contact with this product burns more easily and is a serious fire hazard. Washing clothing and bedding may reduce product build-up but not totally remove it.
Contact your doctor if you experience blurred vision or other visual disturbances.
If any of the above applies to you, or you are not sure please tell your doctor or pharmacist before you use this medicine.
If there is a worsening of your condition during use, consult your doctor - you may be experiencing an allergic reaction, have an infection, or your condition requires a different treatment.
If you experience a recurrence of your condition, shortly after stopping treatment, within 2 weeks, do not restart using the cream without consulting your doctor unless your doctor has previously advised you to do so.
If your condition has resolved and on recurrence the redness extends beyond the initial treatment area and you experience a burning sensation, please seek medical advice before restarting treatment.
What Hydrocortisone Cream contains
The active substance is hydrocortisone and the cream contains 10 mg in every 1 g (1%).
The other ingredients are Cetomacrogol Emulsifying Wax, Chlorocresol, Liquid paraffin, White soft paraffin, Purified water.
What Hydrocortisone Cream looks like and contents of the pack
Hydrocortisone Cream 1% is a soft, white cream, with a faint characteristic odour.
It is available in a tube containing either 15g, 30g or 50g of cream.
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