Hydrocortisone cream is a powerhouse topical treatment for an endless list of skin conditions and reactions. We call it the dermatologist dream cream for a reason. Actually— for several reasons! While some consider its effects magic, knowing when and why to use hydrocortisone cream is half the battle. Here’s our manual for this medicine cabinet essential, according to our founder and resident expert, Dr. Sandra Lee.
What is Hydrocortisone Cream?
When it comes to hydrocortisone cream, the magical ingredient is a type of medicine known as a corticosteroid. Your adrenal glands naturally produce a steroid hormone called hydrocortisone, which regulates your body’s inflammation. Medical hydrocortisone is a synthetic version of the hormone your body naturally creates with the same anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is your body’s response to irritating stimuli. As immune cells are carried by your blood to the source of irritation, your body may experience itching, burning, redness, irritation, or swelling. Hydrocortisone can come in many different forms with varying prescription strengths and application methods. Hydrocortisone cream is one of the most popular because it is mild, powerful and can be found in any drugstore.
When Should I Use It?
For Inflammatory Relief:
Whether you’re having a KP flare-up or an acne breakout, hydrocortisone cream can relieve any itchiness, redness or swelling. Applying it to a problem pimple can really help take decrease the redness and make the spot less obvious. Make sure you’re using hydrocortisone cream like you would use a spot treatment rather than applying it to your entire face. For breakouts, SLMD’s Super Cortisone + also contains Niacinamide, which improves skin texture and strengthens the surface of the skin.
For Itch Relief From Acute Causes:
Many skin problems are known as acute, meaning they are temporary reactions usually caused by exposure to a trigger and can easily be treated with medications. In addition to inflammatory relief, hydrocortisone cream can help if you’re experiencing a sudden reaction. For insect bites, poison ivy, oak, or sumac, hydrocortisone can quickly alleviate itching and puffiness. More good news— hydrocortisone cream can relieve clothing-related rashes. Yes, that includes mask rash! If your face mask is rubbing against your skin, creating a rash around your mouth and nose, hydrocortisone cream can soothe the irritated skin and reduce the rash’s appearance. Another common skin reaction is contact dermatitis, a red, itchy rash caused by contact with irritating substances like soaps, cosmetics, jewelry, plants and fragrances. Free from phthalates, parabens, sulfates, oils, and fragrances, SLMD’s Super Cortisone+ can relieve this uncomfortable skin reaction without worsening the rash. In addition to the anti-inflammatory properties of hydrocortisone, SLMD’s Super Cortisone + also uses Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, natural anti-inflammatories, to reduce redness and irritation.
For Itch Relief from Chronic Skin Conditions
Unlike acute conditions, chronic skin conditions are persistent and, in severe cases, can be debilitating. While these conditions require ongoing treatment, there are ways to minimize symptoms and improve their appearance. If you suffer from eczema, seborrheic dermatitis or psoriasis, you’re probably well-acquainted with hydrocortisone cream. Atopic eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis) is an extremely common form of eczema that causes the skin to become dry, cracked and itchy. This chronic condition is a result of skin that cannot retain moisture, making it more likely to react to certain triggers. Seborrheic dermatitis can have a similar effect, but it usually creates patches of scaly, red skin in your scalp. Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes skin cells to build up, forming bumpy red patches. For all of these conditions, hydrocortisone cream calms inflammation, alleviates irritation, and slows the growth of skin cells to control flare ups. Creams like SLMD’s Super Cortisone + also have moisturizing ingredients like Shea Butter to soften dry, itchy skin.
How Should I Use It?
While hydrocortisone cream is widely considered a mild and generally safe route to irritation-relief for many different skin problems, it’s not a miracle cure. It can drastically improve immediate symptoms, but if your skin condition is severe or worsens, you should talk to your doctor about a stronger treatment plan.