How to Treat Acne With Hydrocortisone

Acne can affect any area of the body and occur at any age, although it is most common in teenagers and pregnant women due to hormonal imbalances in the body. Acne occurs when the pores, or hair follicles, in the skin become clogged with a combination of bacteria, dirt, oil and dead skin cells, according to the Mayo Clinic 1. Severe acne can cause a significant amount of skin redness and inflammation, and may lead to scarring if left untreated. Application of hydrocortisone to acne lesions can minimize these symptoms and speed recovery.

Wash the affected area using a mild soap and warm water. Avoid scrubbing your skin, as this will increase irritation and inflammation and worsen your acne.

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Exfoliate with a fine-grained product to remove excess skin cells and open up your pores. Exfoliate two to three times per week, or as necessary. Exfoliating too frequently can stimulate your skin to produce more oil.

Apply a small amount of hydrocortisone cream directly to inflamed pimples and cysts. The cream will reduce redness and inflammation, ease any itching and may help dry out pimples. Hydrocortisone cream is available by prescription or as an over-the-counter reduced-strength ointment. Use the cream twice a day.

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Reduce the amount of hydrocortisone you are using if you notice an increase in acne. MedlinePlus states that hydrocortisone cream can actually cause or worsen acne in some people 2. If you do not notice an improvement in your acne lesions or a reduction in skin redness after seven days, discontinue using the hydrocortisone cream and consult your doctor.

Ask your dermatologist about trying a benzoyl peroxide and hydrocortisone combination lotion 3. According to, this lotion treats acne by drying out acne lesions and reducing associated skin inflammation. Side effects may be severe and include allergic reactions, burning or cracking of the skin, hair growth, hair follicle inflammation, and skin discoloration.

Undergo steroid injections to treat severe or cystic acne. In many cases, injections of hydrocortisone directly into the affected lesions will speed recovery, reduce redness and swelling, and minimize scarring.