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.