Statics indicates that Acne affects about 9.4 of the global population! Up to a million people in the united states are affected by acne every year.
So, there are various acne treatments that differ in their efficacy and mechanisms of action. Hydrocortisone cream is one of them.
But, before using hydrocortisone cream there are some issues you should know, let’s Go…
What do you know about hydrocortisone?
It is a synthetic version of the hormone cortisol which helps in many functions in the human body like metabolism and blood pressure and blood sugar level. It also possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
How does hydrocortisone cream help to reduce acne symptoms?
It effectively helps to treat inflammation and swelling, itching, redness, and other inflammatory symptoms related to acne.
It also helps by combining with other acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide, which works against acne-causing bacteria. this combination leads to effective treatment of acne.
What is the mechanism of action of hydrocortisone cream for acne?
Corticosteroids act on inflammation through different mechanisms for example;
- by reducing capillary wall permeability. This reduces the accumulation of the inflammatory mediators around the lesion, so reduces the swelling and redness, and other inflammatory symptoms.
- It also antagonizes histamine activity, so acts as an antihistamine (anti-allergy) and reduces itching.
- It may help to reduce the subsequent scar tissue formation, as it reduces collagen deposition and fibroblast proliferation.
How to use hydrocortisone cream for acne?
There are some directions you should follow when using hydrocortisone cream for acne:
- It should be applied for short-term and as a spot treatment.
- Before using, you should wash your hands and clean your face with a gentle cleanser.
- Apply a very thin layer of hydrocortisone cream to individual blemishes.
- Avoid contact with sensitive areas of the face (around the eye, nose, and mouth areas).
- Try to select the product with the lowest potency to reduce the potential risk of irritation. usually 1% hydrocortisone cream is used.
Cream or gel; apply to the affected area (spot treatment) Two to Four times daily.
For best results, the cream dosage form is recommended over ointment and gels, because gels and ointments may block pores and worsen acne symptoms.
Before using any topical formula you should test the allergy and irritation, by applying a small amount on a small area of your skin and wait to see if there is any itching or swelling, or redness. if not, then it is suitable for you.
What are the potential side effects of hydrocortisone cream?
Thankfully, topical hydrocortisone has lower side effects than systemic cortisol, unless it is applied on a wide area of the body, hence it may be absorbed through the skin.
You should contact your healthcare professional immediately in case of any of the following side effects:
- Burning, blistering, dryness.
- Itching, irritation, redness.
- Swelling of the skin.
- Redness and scaling around the mouth.
- Skin atrophy!
What is the skin atrophy?
It is the most common side effect of topical hydrocortisone that occurs due to thinning skin with prolonged or excessive use, due to loss of connective tissue leading to dilated blood vessels, redness, discolored spots, with a burning sensation.
To avoid skin atrophy, you should avoid prolonged use of hydrocortisone cream, and consult your healthcare provider about the correct and suitable use for you. Welltopia one on one consultation
Effect of combination of hydrocortisone cream with other acne treatments:
Hydrocortisone when combined with other acne treatments can show enhancing outcomes for example; combination with benzoyl peroxide, then the potent effect of hydrocortisone as an anti-inflammatory when combined with the anti-bacterial effect of benzoyl peroxide, will lead to high potency formula for acne treatment.
It also decreases the irritation which may be caused by benzoyl peroxide.
Retinoids also are known as an effective treatment for acne, but they can be extremely irritating. So the combination with hydrocortisone may help to decrease retinoids irritation.
Studies that support using of hydrocortisone to help in acne treatment:
There is an early study found that people who used 1% hydrocortisone in combination with benzoyl peroxide in acne treatment showed a significant improvement than those who used benzoyl peroxide alone.
Another study was applied on 44 patients with acne vulgaris to compare the effectiveness of two formulations, one containing hydrocortisone acetate and the other without hydrocortisone, for a 3-month study period. Results said that the full formulation with hydrocortisone showed a better effect at the end of the first month.
Is hydrocortisone suitable for all acne types?/ What types of acne can hydrocortisone help to treat?
It can help to treat the symptoms of inflammatory acne (swelling, itching, irritation, redness, pain) including cysts, papules, and pustules.
Is hydrocortisone cream safe during pregnancy? How to use it?
It is TGA( therapeutic goods administration) pregnancy category: A
FDA(food drug Authority/administration) pregnancy category:C
If you are pregnant, contact Your pharmacist to know more about pregnancy categories.
In general, topical hydrocortisone cream should be used during pregnancy if potential benefits justify the potential risks, and applied as a spot treatment and for short-term use.
Hydrocortisone cream is an effective anti-inflammatory that may help in acne treatment by reducing the disturbing inflammatory symptoms and is also used in combination with other anti-bacterial treatments of acne to produce a highly synergistic effect. You should take care during using hydrocortisone cream by applying it as a spot treatment and not using it for long periods to avoid its potential side effects.
- Hydrocortisone for Acne: How It Works, How to Use It, Side Effects, and More
- hydrocortisone topical (Rx, OTC)
- Benzoyl peroxide in the treatment of acne vulgaris: a double-blind, multi-center comparative study of ‘Quinoderm’ cream and ‘Quinoderm’ cream with hydrocortisone versus their base vehicle alone and a benzoyl peroxide only gel preparation