Skip to main content


Generic name: benzoyl peroxide and hydrocortisone topicalBEN-zoyl-per-OX-ide-and-HYE-droe-KOR-ti-sone-TOP-i-kal ]
Drug class: Topical acne agents

Medically reviewed by on Feb 1, 2023. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is Vanoxide-HC?

Vanoxide-HC (for the skin) is a combination antibacterial and steroid medicine that is used to treat acne.

Vanoxide-HC may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.


Benzoyl peroxide can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation. Stop using Vanoxide-HC and get emergency medical help if you have: hives, itching; difficult breathing, feeling light-headed; or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medicine if you are allergic to benzoyl peroxide or hydrocortisone, or if you have:

Tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • any skin condition other than acne;

  • very sensitive skin;

  • allergies;

  • diabetes; or

  • problems with your adrenal gland.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.

Do not use this medicine on a child without medical advice.

How should I use Vanoxide-HC?

Benzoyl peroxide can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation. Before you start using Vanoxide-HC, you may choose to apply a "test dose" to see if you have any type of reaction. Apply a very small amount of the medicine to 1 or 2 small acne areas every day for 3 days in a row. If there is no reaction, begin using the full prescribed amount on the 4th day.

Follow all directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides or instruction sheets. Use the medicine exactly as directed.

Do not take by mouth. Topical medicine is for use only on the skin. Do not use on open wounds or on sunburned, windburned, dry, or irritated skin. Also avoid using on areas of eczema. Wait until these conditions have healed before using this medication.

Read and carefully follow any Instructions for Use provided with your medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you do not understand these instructions.

You may need to shake the medicine just before each use.

Wash your hands before and after applying the medicine.

Clean and pat dry the skin to be treated. Apply the medicine in a thin layer and rub in gently.

Do not cover the treated skin area unless your doctor tells you to.

Benzoyl peroxide may bleach hair or fabrics. Avoid allowing this medicine to come into contact with your hair or clothing.

Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse.

Store at room temperature and do not freeze. Keep the bottle tightly closed when not in use.

Throw away any Vanoxide-HC not used within 3 months after you received this medicine from a pharmacy.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Apply the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not apply two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222 if anyone has accidentally swallowed the medication.

An overdose of topical steroid medicine is not expected to produce life threatening symptoms. Long term use of high doses can lead to thinning skin, easy bruising, changes in body fat (especially in your face, neck, back, and waist), increased acne or facial hair, menstrual problems, impotence, or loss of interest in sex.

What should I avoid while using Vanoxide-HC?

Rinse with water if Vanoxide-HC gets in your eyes or mouth or near your genitals.

Avoid using skin products that can cause irritation, such as harsh soaps, shampoos, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, or skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime.

Vanoxide-HC side effects

Stop using this medicine and get emergency medical help if you have signs of a serious allergic reaction or severe skin irritation: hives, itching; difficult breathing, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

These reactions may occur just a few minutes after you apply the medicine, or within a day or longer afterward.

This medicine may cause serious side effects. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor at once if you have:

  • severe burning, stinging, or redness of treated skin;

  • severe itching, or other skin irritation; or

  • signs of skin infection--warmth, redness, swelling, oozing, redness or crusting around your hair follicles.

Your skin can absorb hydrocortisone, which may cause steroid side effects throughout the body. Stop using this medicine and call your doctor if you have:

  • weight gain (especially in your face or your upper back and torso);

  • slow wound healing, thinning skin, increased body hair;

  • irregular menstrual periods, changes in sexual function; or

  • muscle weakness, tired feeling, depression, anxiety, feeling irritable.

Children can absorb larger amounts of this medicine through the skin and may be more likely to have side effects.

Common side effects of Vanoxide-HC may include:

  • mild stinging or burning (especially when applying this medicine to your neck or other sensitive skin areas);

  • itching or tingly feeling;

  • skin dryness, peeling, or flaking; or

  • mild redness or irritation.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Vanoxide-HC?

Using tretinoin topical (Retin-A, Renova, and others) together with a benzoyl peroxide medication may cause severe skin irritation.

Medicine used on the skin is not likely to be affected by other drugs you use. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

More about Vanoxide-HC (benzoyl peroxide / hydrocortisone topical)

Professional resources

Related treatment guides

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.