Hydrocortisone topical is used to help relieve redness, itching, swelling, or other discomfort caused by skin conditions. This medicine is a corticosteroid (cortisone-like medicine or steroid).

This medicine is available both over-the-counter (OTC) and with your doctor’s prescription.

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  • Severity: Major
    You should check with your doctor immediately if any of these side effects occur when taking hydrocortisone topical:

    More common:
    Skin rash, encrusted, scaly, and oozing
    stinging
    Less common:
    Burning, itching, redness, skin rash, swelling, or soreness at the application site
    cough or hoarseness
    dry skin
    fever or chills
    itching in the genital or other skin areas
    lower back or side pain
    painful or difficult urination
    rash
    rash with flat lesions or small raised lesions on the skin
    skin irritation
    Incidence not known:
    Blistering, burning, crusting, dryness, or flaking of the skin
    itching, scaling, severe redness, soreness, or swelling of the skin
    redness and scaling around the mouth
    thinning of the skin with easy bruising, especially when used on facial or intertriginous areas
    Severity: Minor
    Some of the side effects that can occur with hydrocortisone topical may not need medical attention. As your body adjusts to the medicine during treatment these side effects may go away. Your health care professional may also be able to tell you about ways to reduce or prevent some of these side effects. If any of the following side effects continue, are bothersome or if you have any questions about them, check with your health care professional:

    Less common:
    Diarrhea
    indigestion
    loss of appetite
    nausea or vomiting
    passing of gas
    stomach pain, fullness, or discomfort
    Incidence not known:
    Acne or pimples
    burning and itching of the skin with pinhead-sized red blisters
    burning, itching, and pain in hairy areas, or pus at the root of the hair
    increased hair growth on the forehead, back, arms, and legs
    lightening of normal skin color
    lightening of treated areas of dark skin
    reddish purple lines on the arms, face, legs, trunk, or groin
    softening of the skin
  • (topical cream, topical ointment, topical solution, topical stick, topical spray, rectal cream with applicator, rectal suppository, topical lotion, topical paste, topical kit, rectal ointment, topical gel, compounding powder, topical pad)