What are hydrocortisone skin preparations?

Hydrocortisone skin preparations are topical (for the skin) corticosteroids that are used to treat inflammation of the skin.

Health Benefits

Hydrocortisone skin preparations are used to treat a variety of inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, and allergies.

Side Effects

Side effects from hydrocortisone skin preparations are generally mild. However, long-term use or overuse of these products can lead to thinning of the skin and easy bruising. If you experience any severe side effects, stop using the product and consult your doctor immediately.


Hydrocortisone skin preparations are available in a variety of strengths and formulations. Follow the directions on the product label carefully. Do not use more or less than the amount recommended. If you are unsure, ask your doctor or pharmacist for guidance.

How is it supplied?

Hydrocortisone skin preparations are available in creams, ointments, solutions, gels, lotions, and sprays.


Hydrocortisone skin preparations may interact with other medications you are taking. Consult your doctor before using hydrocortisone skin preparations if you are taking any other medications, especially corticosteroids or other topical medications.

Mechanism of Action

Hydrocortisone skin preparations work by reducing inflammation and itching.


Hydrocortisone skin preparations are applied topically, and very little is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Clinical Trials

There have been no large clinical trials conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of hydrocortisone skin preparations. However, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest that these products are effective in treating inflammatory skin conditions.

Hydrocortisone skin preparations are available over-the-counter and by prescription. Talk to your doctor about which product is right for you.

Alternatives to Hydrocortisone Skin Preparations

There are a number of other topical corticosteroids available that may be used to treat inflammatory skin conditions. These include betamethasone, clobetasol, and fluticasone. Talk to your doctor about which product is right for you.

Other treatments for inflammatory skin conditions include antihistamines, moisturizers, ultraviolet light therapy, and oral corticosteroids. Talk to your doctor about which treatment option is right for you.

Symptoms of an Overdose

Symptoms of an overdose include severe irritation and inflammation of the skin.

Chemical Structure

Hydrocortisone is a white, crystalline powder with a melting point of 158°C.

Chemical Names

11-beta,17-alpha,21-trihydroxypregn-4-ene-3,20-dione; Cortisol; Hydrocortisone

Brand Names

Hydrocortisone skin preparations are available under a variety of brand names, including Cortaid, Ala-Cort, Beta HC, Caldecort, Cortate, and Hydrozone.

Can it treat eczema?

Hydrocortisone skin preparations are effective in treating eczema.

Can it be used long-term?

Hydrocortisone skin preparations can be used long-term, but they should not be used more than directed. Long-term use can lead to thinning of the skin and easy bruising.