What is Hydrocortisone Ointment?
Hydrocortisone ointments, creams and lotions contain a type of medicine known as a corticosteroid or 'steroid'. Corticosteroids are not the same as anabolic steroids.
Hydrocortisone ointments are used on the skin to treat swelling, itching and irritation. They can help with skin problems such as:
- Contact dermatitis
- Prickly heat rash
- Nappy rash
- Insect bites and stings
Who is this ointment suitable for
Most adults and children can use hydrocortisone skin ointments.
However, don't use hydrocortisone skin products on children under ten years old unless their doctor recommends it.
Hydrocortisone skin ointment isn't suitable for some people.
Tell your pharmacist or doctor before starting the medicine if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to hydrocortisone or any other medicine in the past
- have a skin infection (including eye infections)
- are trying to get pregnant, are already pregnant, or you're breastfeeding
Cream, ointment or lotion?
There are different types of hydrocortisone skin products. Creams are the most common, but there are also hydrocortisone ointments and lotions.
As a general rule:
- Hydrocortisone cream is better for skin which is moist and weepy with clear or yellow fluid.
- Hydrocortisone ointment is thicker and greasier - it's better for dry or flaky areas of skin.
- Hydrocortisone lotion is a liquid - it's useful for treating the scalp and large or hairy areas of skin.
How to apply Hydrocortisone Ointment
- Spread the 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.
- Be careful not to get the ointment into broken skin or cuts.
- Wash your hands afterwards (unless it's your hands that you're treating).
- Use the ointment on all the irritated skin, not just the worst areas.
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