Hydrocortisone: Uses & Side Effects

Hydrocortisone is a topical steroid that reduces the actions of chemicals in the body that cause inflammation.

Hydrocortisone topical is used to treat inflammation of the skin caused by a number of conditions such as allergic reactions, eczema, or psoriasis. Hydrocortisone topical will not treat skin infections.

There are many brands and forms of hydrocortisone topical available. Not all brands are listed on this leaflet.

Hydrocortisone topical may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use hydrocortisone topical if you are allergic to hydrocortisone.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to use this medicine if you have:

  • diabetes;
  • liver disease; or
  • problems with your adrenal gland.

Do not use this medicine on a child without medical advice.

Ask a doctor before using this medicine if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Your skin can absorb topical medicine, which may cause steroid side effects throughout the body. Stop using hydrocortisone topical and call your doctor if you have:

  • weight gain (especially in your face or your upper back and torso);
  • slow wound healing, thinning skin, increased body hair;
  • irregular menstrual periods, changes in sexual function; or
  • muscle weakness, tired feeling, depression, anxiety, feeling irritable.

Children can absorb larger amounts of hydrocortisone topical through the skin and may be more likely to have side effects.

Common side effects may include:

  • acne, skin redness;
  • mild burning, tingling or prickly feeling;
  • changes in skin color; or
  • dryness or cracking of treated skin.


Keyword: Hydrocortisone.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.