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East Central Indiana

Cortisone Creams and Ointments

Cortisone Creams and Ointments

Medications Information: Cortisone Creams & Ointments

Cortisone skin preparations in the form of creams, ointments and salves contain hydrocortisone or a similar chemical. Hydrocortisone is a natural chemical made by the body, but chemists have learned to manufacture stronger synthetic cortisones.  Many skin medications contain these powerful synthetic cortisones.

Although cortisone taken by mouth can cause side-effects, cortisone skin preparations are remarkably safe. They are even available without a prescription in a one half and one percent hydrocortisone strength. Internal side-effects from cortisone applied externally are rare, but you should check regularly with your physician at Lifetime Sin Care Centers if any of the following conditions apply:

         1. You are using strong cortisones over most of your body for many weeks or months.

         2. Strong cortisones plus plastic covering, which increases penetration, are applied to much of the body surface.

         3. Strong cortisones are used on large areas of a child or infant.

         4. If you are using an ultra-high potency cortisone such as Halobetasol, Clobetasol or Betamethasone dipropionate.

Strong cortisone medications may damage the skin to which they are applied, especially skin folds, fingertips, and the face. Skin thinning, or atrophy, is the most troublesome side-effect. The stronger the cortisone, the greater the risk for atrophy, and the risk is increased when plastic covering is used. Atrophy makes skin fold sites (groin, rectal area, armpits) tender and raw.  Cortisone atrophy of the fingertips can cause painful cracks. Cortisone atrophy of the face results in a flushed appearance with small blood vessels becoming more noticeable. Strong cortisones may also cause a red, pimply rash.

Not every skin disorder responds magically to cortisones. They can worsen some diseases such as athletes foot, ringworm, and acne. We, therefore, recommend that you use them only under physician supervision and do not use them to treat different rashes or to give them to friends or family.

To apply the cortisone cream or ointment, use a very small amount of the preparation and massage it gently into the skin. Creams, ointments or salves left on the surface are wasted. Keep the medication away from your eyes. If you eyelids are to be treated, use a clean fingertip and apply only a very tiny amount of the preparation avoiding your eyes.