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Creams that contain cortisone are often used to treat mild to moderate skin problems, such as redness, itching and flaking.

But cortisone is a steroid and too much can cause bad things to happen.

With prolonged use, the skin may start to thin, and you might even develop a kind of addiction, meaning your skin becomes dependent on the cream.

To stop this from happening, experts say you should not apply cortisone cream over an area that exceeds one-tenth of your total body surface area.

That is equivalent to the surface of the lower leg, for example, according to the German chemists’ organisation Apothekerkammer Niedersachsen.

If the cream you use contains 0.5% cortisone, you can use it for two weeks. If it contains 0.25% cortisone, you can use it for four weeks.

If your symptoms persist after that, you should consult a doctor.

You should never apply cortisone creams on open or swollen wounds, or use them to treat fungal diseases or acne.

Children under the age of six should usually only be given cortisone creams after seeing a doctor. – dpa

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