Hydrocortisone For Eczema

Hydrocortisone is a type of steroid that is used for the treatment of eczema. This type of cream can generally be purchased over-the-counter, and it is very similar to the cortisone that your body produces naturally.

Hydrocortisone (also known as cortisol) comes in many different forms and strengths. The method of action of this medication is to relieve the symptoms that come along with an eczema flare-up, and it is recommended only for short-term use.

How It Works

Hydrocortisone is applied to the skin where the flare-up is present, and it works to relieve the side-effects of the condition. The redness, inflammation, itching, and burning that occurs with a flare-up can be controlled on a short-term basis with the use of hydrocortisone.

This medication comes in many varieties, which include lotion, cream, gel, and even tape. While the cream is effective for some people, it may not provide relief for those with severe cases, and a prescription strength steroid may be needed.

Like other steroids used for eczema, it works by changing the way that your cells respond, thus reducing the inflammation within the skin. The cream not only works to help get rid of symptoms of mild eczema, but it can also treat and preventing small flare-ups. By applying it to the area one to two times each week, you can help reduce the amount of flare-ups that occur.

The Pros

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This type of medication is a great choice for those who experience mild cases of eczema, because it does not have as many side-effects as other steroid applications. For short-term use, this treatment option is effective for people of many ages, and because this medication is available over-the-counter, it is easy accessible to those who need relief from the symptoms right away.

Both 0.5 and 1 percent strengths are available without a prescription, and these products can get rid of symptoms almost immediately with mild cases. Because of the symptom relief it provides, those who use this cream often heal much faster because their skin is less irritated with the use of hydrocortisone.


Due to the strength of the hydrocortisone steroid, it is basically ineffective for anything other than a mild case of eczema. Those with moderate to severe cases will generally experience no relief from this cream, and they will need to seek out a prescription medication from a medical professional.

Also, like other creams that are used to treat eczema, this medication controls symptoms of mild eczema, but it is not an effective way to get rid of the flare-ups completely. For severe skin conditions, this method needs to be used with antibiotics, or another form of treatment, in order for the skin to heal.

Only your health care provider can decide on the right treatment option for you, but by sitting down and discussing the symptoms you are experiencing with your doctor, he or she will be able to create an effective treatment plan for getting your eczema under control.

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