“ Brand: Boots / Type: Skin Care / Dosage Form: Ointment „
Hydrocortisone is available in both an ointment and a cream. As a cream it is widely available off the shelf in many relevant stores. Boots, however, is the only place I have found it is available to buy over the counter as many other stores require a prescription. Doctors have recommended the ointment to me in the past over the cream as they say it is less likely to dry out your skin and is more effective.
It is a steroid cream and so shouldn't be applied generously as you might with moisturisers such as diprobase (also reviewed) however as steroid creams go for eczema, it is one of the gentlest. Be aware, that excessive use of steroid creams can lead to a permanent thinning of the skin and to avoid this the skin should be moisturised (though at different times to applying the steroid) and use the weakest steroid appropriate.
The product itself contains a reasonable amount as you don't need much but if you are covered in eczema e.g. it is in large patches, you may need to buy two tubes. Boots have allowed me to purchase three at once before but sometimes they'll only let me buy once (as it does say to only use for 7 days) so it clearly depends on who you get! Because of the ointment nature it is a bit greasy so I wouldn't get dressed in a rush straight after applying but does sink in after a short amount of time.
Overall a product which does work but finding out the root cause of your eczema is always preferable to becoming reliant on creams like this.
There are plenty of hydrocortisones available on the shelf these days, such as HC45, canesten, and this boots version. Even though it isn't the most expensive, it works just as well as the others around because it does the same job.
The product comes in a box which isn't very big, and comes in a 15g white tube with dark blue writing on it. This is 15g because it can be brought without a prescription.
What is it used for:
It can be used for children aged 10years and over, and must be monitored so that overuse does not happen. It can thin out skin. It is to treat mild to moderate inflammatory skin disorders. These include eczema,mild to moderate, and also dermatitis and insect bite reactions. It must be applied to the area (not including the face or any 'sensitive' parts sparingly, and not for longer than 7 days.
It works well I always find, and prefer to take this on holiday because of its anti-inflammatory for bits and stings. It works faster than other, and isn't a bad price.
For 15g this is £3.46.
I tend to suffer from contact dermatitis in patches on my feet on and off, this is usually caused by wearing certain types of shoes without socks/tights on, my skin reacts quite violently at times, especially to leather shoes or anything with 'man made' upper lining. This means that during the summer I am prone to flare ups of itchy, bright red patches anywhere across the top and sides of my feet and ankles and if left untreated I will quite easily scratch this until it bleeds.
Hydrocortisone is therefore a product I always keep in stock and ensure I have with me on holidays. This Boots ointment is the best version I have tried so far and being an ointment rather than a cream it provides a barrier against water for a few hours after use, ideal when we are travelling and around the beach/pool.
The 15g tube costs £3.46 from Boots and usually it is kept behind the counter so you will have to ask the pharmacist for it. This is because Hydrocortisone is an active ingredient which is a steroid, you therefore cannot use it if you are under 10 years of age and you also should not use it on your face or if you have any kind of reaction to the ingredients. It cannot be used on broken skin or if you are pregnant.
The ointment itself is clear, looks and feels rather like vaseline and leaves a shiny patch where applied on the skin. It is scent free and a little goes a long way.
I find that this product does indeed calm down the affected areas of dermatitis on my skin quite quickly. It is the only product I have found which has any positive affect on these incredibly irritated and itchy areas and it soothes the skin and reduces the associated swelling too (my ankles quite frequently get swollen patches when it is very bad).
This treatment is not recommended for long term use, being a steroid, but only for specific, targetted treatment of dermatitis and allergic reactions, this also works on insect bites which is the other reason it is handy to carry with you when travelling.
The quicker I get this on to the affected patches of skin the quicker it seems to work for me. I tend to find that a couple of days of applying this every few hours (and avoiding whatever footwear has caused it) is enough to knock the attacks on the head for me.
I would not be without this product and think it is great value for the amount of use you get out of each tube.
Practically everyone knows that hydrocortisone products are useful for itchy skin and inflamed skin and the majority of products out there come in a cream base. However when you get an itchy or sore patch of skin that is in dire need of moisture it's much more helpful to use an ointment. The other bonuses about ointments as opposed to creams is they provide a barrier against water so if you use them on your hands they don't immediately get washed off and if you're prone to allergies, which lots of people who use hydrocortisone products will be, there isn't the ingredients in the cream base to worry about.
During the summer I wanted to buy a 1% hydrocortisone ointment rather than the usual cream and searched online to see where I could buy such a thing. The results showed that Boots have one which is their own brand. So off to Boots I went, a bewildered assistant served me and she didn't even know they did an ointment which is probably because most people buy cream. However finally she found it on the shelf and it cost £3.39 for a 15g tube which isn't very large but should be plenty for small areas of itching or inflamed skin.
The box and tube for this product are very bland and just a dark blue and white. On the box it tells us if symptoms do not go away to see a doctor, not to use this ointment if you are allergic to any of the ingredients, if pregnant or breastfeeding, on broken or infected skin or on the face, eyes, genitals or anal area. The ointment is for relief of allergic contact dermatitis, irritant contant dermatitis, insect bites and mild to moderate eczema. It should reduce swelling as well as itching and inflammation.
The warning about not using it on the face is because hydrocortisone products can thin the skin and the skin on the face is already thinner than the rest of the body. It goes without saying this should be kept away from children. It also advises not to use the ointment for longer than a week, this is again because it can damage the skin however on some skin complaints doctors will sometimes suggest using it for longer but it is something you need to run past your GP. The ointment should be applied thinly to the area once or twice a day.
So all warnings out of the way what was the product like? I actually needed this for some very dry itchy patches on my elbows and contact dermatitis on my hands so an ointment was a much better option for me with my very dry skin and having to wash my hands lots of times each day. The ingredients are quite simply 1% hydrocortisone and a white soft paraffin base so there wasn't much there that could set my skin off.
The actual ointment is clear, like a thick vaseline and a small amount really does go a long way as it needs to be spread thinly over the affected area. I couldn't smell anything when I applied this so it is fragrance free and it doesn't burn or cause any reaction when applied. It stops itching very quickly, in fact as soon as it sinks into the skin a bit. The redness and inflammation takes longer to go though and it took my hands and elbows the full 7 days to start to look normal again. Once I'd got the skin calmed down I switched back to products that moisturise and protect but don't contain steroids.
I only use this ointment occasionally, just when I really need a bit of extra help to get on top of skin symptoms so the tube is still about half full despite the fact I bought it months ago. It does do what it claims to do and also provides valuable protection and moisture for dry skin so for me it's usually a better choice than a cream.
Overall this ointment is very effective and is suited to those people who have dry skin. It will wash off if you use soap and water but it doesn't come off without soap so is ideal for hands. A full 5 stars from me for this little tube of ointment.