Hydrocortisone Won't Help Soothe Your Sunburn

Many people reach for a hydrocortisone cream when they return from a day outdoors with a sunburn. However, research suggests that topical corticosteroids won't provide relief.

In a recent study, 20 volunteers' backs were exposed to UV lamps to the point of sunburn. Some were treated with corticosteroid cream six hours and then 23 hours after exposure; but when researches examined their skin an hour later, they detected no decrease in irritation.

Interestingly, the researchers applied cream to several volunteers before exposure, and in these cases, redness was, in fact, lessened. However, this is not a realistic way to counteract sunburn because there is no way to predict exactly where skin will burn.

6 Comments
  • mohammedkhan
    Posted on

    I AGREE WITH ALL OF THEM HYDROCORTISONE CREAM IT DOES HELP CAUSE IM CURRENTLY HAVE SUNBURN UPPER CHIN ON BOTHSIDE UNDER NEAT MY EYES ABOUT 2 INCH BEFORE MY EYS BUT TRY NOT THAT CREAM GET CLOSE TO YOUR EYS OR LIPS OR MOUNTH IF THAT HAPPEN WASH WITH COLD WATER ALEAST 5MINUTES

  • L
    Posted on

    A study with 20 participants is not a reliable study. The result from hydrocortisone doesn't becime visible a few hours later, either. No responsible professional would burn people's skin on purpose for a study, because they know how much a sunburn really damages the skin and increases the risk for skin cancer. It is obvious tjat the research team had no knowledge on the subject.

  • Bensomino
    Posted on

    Woke up on 2nd day of bad sunburn. Applied aloe Vera gel and had a SEVERE REACTION. I itched like I've never itched in my life. Took a COLD SHOWER for ten minutes, then applied hydrocortisone ointment (didn't have cream) and I feel 10x BETTER!!!!

  • Anonymous
    Posted on

    I recently got a sunburn and did not treat it and the redness lasted about a week. Yesterday I unfortunately (despite applying SPF 50 3 times) got another sunburn of approximately the same redness and I have been applying hydrocortisone cream every few hours. 24 hours later, almost all redness is gone and my skin looks more tan in appearance. It may not work for all but it did for me.

  • Susan
    Posted on

    Just went to emergency because sunburn from 2 days ago is so bad that I can't walk. Told to use Hydrocortisone cream.

  • oldmama
    Posted on

    Hydrocortisone does relieve sunburn pain. I dont know why, but it does and much more reliably than most other treatments.

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