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Why can't hydrocortisone cream be used on the face?

Posted by Be Well

Why can't hydrocortisone cream be used on the face?
Answers (1)
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If you have any concerns about the information below, or need any help understanding it and relating it to your own situation, you should talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Hydrocortisone is a steroid, which may be used to treat inflammation. You can buy hydrocortisone cream over-the-counter (OTC) from a pharmacy for the treatment of:

  • Irritant dermatitis.
  • Contact allergic dermatitis.
  • Insect bite reactions.
  • Mild to moderate eczema.

However, it may not be sold for use on the delicate skin of the face.

Long-term and/or high strength steroids applied to the skin can damage it, and on the face this would be particularly noticable. This problem is not known to occur commonly with OTC hydrocortisone, but it is still sensible to avoid using it on the face unless absolutely necessary. Also some common skin conditions affecting the face can be caused or made worse by hydrocortisone, for example, impetigo, rosacea and acne.

If you have a skin condition affecting your face you ought to see your doctor first, rather than treating it with hydrocortisone cream yourself. doctors can prescribe hydrocortisone for use on the face, having first assessed if this is the correct treatment and if it is safe for you.

Therefore you should not use OTC hydrocortisone preparations on the face unless they are prescribed by a doctor. Pharmacists are not allowed to sell them for this purpose.

NOTICE: The information provided on this site is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified health provider because of something you have read on Wellsphere. If you have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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