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Hydrocortisone Cream or generic Hydrocortisone can be prescribed for treating many skin conditions that involve inflammation, redness, itching, and swelling. This includes contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, mild rashes from poison ivy, and bug bites or stings. It is not usually recommended to use any topical corticosteroids on areas where your skin is thinner, such as on your face, as it can cause the skin to break down with prolonged use. The generic alternative is not manufactured by the company that makes the brand product.
When applied to the intended area of skin, Hydrocortisone Cream is absorbed into your skin cells and interacts with the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) of the cell’s nuclei in order to produce proteins known as lipocortins. The lipocortins block the production of arachidonic acid, a chemical that plays a role in your body’s inflammatory response. This action will reduce inflammation as well as block the release of histamine from mast cells to decrease the itching that accompanies eczema, bug bites, and poison ivy rashes. By diminishing your inflammation, Hydrocortisone also acts to prevent tissue damage that can occur from excessive inflammation and will reduce pain and localized swelling by constricting blood vessels.
Psoriasis is a long-term skin condition that has no cure and is considered an autoimmune disease. Some individuals, for unknown reasons, may have a faulty or over-sensitive immune system that can be alerted when you are believed to be in danger or under a threat. Your T cells, a type of white blood cell, are signaled by mistake and immune responses are quick to get in on the action. In the case of psoriasis, the immune response causes swelling and speeds up your skin cell cycle. Instead of your skin cells being replaced every 28 – 30 days as old cells are shed or sloughed off, they are reproducing every 3 – 6 days. The emerging new cells accumulate on and just under the skin’s surface and cause a raised, scaly, patch of skin and can stick to the old cells before they are ready to fall off.
Ask your doctor if there are risks when applying Hydrocortisone Cream while you are pregnant, trying to conceive, or when breast feeding. Explain other medical conditions or allergies you have to your doctor, and list any OTC or Rx medications you currently take or use, including herbal remedies and vitamin or dietary supplements. This will help your doctor determine if Hydrocortisone Cream is right for you.
Long-term use of any topical corticosteroids are not advised as they may cause atrophy of the skin being treated, stretch marks, easy bruising or tearing of skin, and enlarged blood vessels. This may depend on the strength, the time period used, and whether the corticosteroid was a cream, ointment, gel, lotion, etc., as this can affect how deeply the steroid is absorbed. Keep the Hydrocortisone Cream out of children’s reach and do not share with anyone else.