Terra Cortril contains the ingredients oxytetracycline and hydrocortisone. It works to kill the bacteria caused by inflammations of the skin such as eczema and contact dermatitis and other forms of these two skin conditions. More information

A doctor will review your order and write you a prescription, if appropriate. This prescription is then forwarded to a pharmacy. The pharmacy will have your medicine delivered to you within one to three working days. Read more about this process here.

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Terra Cortril is an ointment that is used to treat bacterial infections, including eczema and contact dermatitis. It can reduce the painful and uncomfortable symptoms caused by skin inflammations. This medicine is only available on prescription from a doctor. 

What is Terra Cortril? 

Terra Cortril contains the ingredients oxytetracycline and hydrocortisone. It works to kill the bacteria caused by inflammations of the skin such as eczema and contact dermatitis and other forms of these two skin conditions. It is particularly helpful when skin conditions have become infected. Terra Cortril is the brand name for this medication. 

Oxytetracycline is an antibiotic medicine that is used to treat a wide range of serious bacterial infections. 

Hydrocortisone is a steroid medication (a corticosteroid) that is used to treat skin inflammation that is caused by a reaction to something. 

Oxytetracycline fights the infection and hydrocortisone treats the inflamed skin and in combination the two work to treat eczema and contact dermatitis.  

This medicine is absorbed by the skin to fight the infections caused by some skin inflammations. It is an anti-inflammatory ointment that helps alleviate and control the symptoms of painful skin conditions.  

Terra Cortril works by decreasing the number of chemicals in the body which expand the blood vessels when inflammation occurs. It can also kill the cells that produce the harmful bacteria that cause inflammation. In addition, it can prevent the reproduction of these cells.  

Skin conditions such as eczema and contact dermatitis can be very painful and cause a great deal of aggravation and discomfort. They can range from mild to chronic and affect a person long-term or temporarily. Terra Cortril can give rapid relief to the symptoms of serious skin conditions, such as itching, soreness and redness. 

When is Terra Cortril used? 

Terra Cortril is used when you have a bacterial skin infection that is likely to get worse if it is left untreated. The most common skin conditions this medicine can be used for are: 

  • Eczema; 
  • Contact dermatitis; 
  • Allergic reactions; 
  • Insect bites (when there is a reaction and the bite has become infected). 

This medicine is not a cure for skin conditions such as eczema, it can only treat the symptoms and provide temporary relief. 

Eczema is a non-curable skin condition that can flare up due to certain triggers such as: 

  • Eating certain foods; 
  • A reaction to skin products (soap, creams or bath and shower products); 
  • A reaction to other products, such as cleaning products or washing powder; 
  • Exposure to dust or pollen; 
  • Exposure to animal dander (often from cats and sometimes dogs); 
  • A reaction to certain materials touching the skin (especially man-made fibres); 
  • Cold or warm weather; 
  • Hormonal changes; 
  • Stress. 

It can be hereditary, can start in childhood or later in life. If you have eczema you have to learn to manage it as there is no cure. Some people can go for weeks, months or years without a flare-up (appearance of eczema), then a trigger may suddenly cause it with no warning. It is therefore advisable to manage and avoid the triggers to prevent the condition occurring. 

The common symptoms of eczema are: 

  • Itching; 
  • Red skin; 
  • Sore and painful skin; 
  • Dry and rough skin. 

It often appears on certain areas of the body such as behind the knees, in the elbow joints, on the neck, the chest, the hands, the arms and on the scalp. 

Terra Cortril can be used to treat the symptoms of eczema as soon as they appear. If you suffer from eczema you are likely to know your triggers, which should be avoided. However, if symptoms begin and you have been prescribed Terra Cortril by a doctor the sooner that you apply it the less likely the symptoms are to get worse. 

If eczema is not treated the “itch-scratch-itch” cycle can occur. In this situation, the skin weeps and bleeds and it is almost impossible to stop scratching. Untreated eczema can lead to extremely painful sores and blisters and a serious infection.  

Eczema can be a debilitating condition causing a lack of sleep and psychological problems. Some people may feel they cannot go out of the house and be seen in public due to the unpleasant look of their skin, particularly if the eczema is on the face. 

Eczema is not contagious as it is not a virus and cannot be caught by being in contact with someone who is infected.  

Terra Cortril can be also be used to treat contact dermatitis, which is a type of eczema that is triggered by contact with certain products, chemicals or materials. It is even possible for constant contact with water on the skin to cause this type of dermatitis. The two conditions are very closely linked and people often refer to dermatitis when they have this form of eczema. 

Sometimes people with these conditions scratch subconsciously, either while going about their daily life or when they are asleep. Wearing gloves can help when sleeping, but treatment should also be sought. 

It is also advisable to keep your nails cut short if you suffer from an itchy skin condition to try and prevent damage if you scratch. However, you should also try not to scratch as this makes the condition worse. 

Contact dermatitis most often affects the face and hands and is red and itchy. If left untreated it can cause the skin to become extremely painful and raw.  

How do you use Terra Cortril? 

Terra Cortril is applied topically to the skin’s surface on the site of the infection or inflammation. Before application, the skin should be clean and dry. Wash and dry your hands too, both before and after applying the ointment to avoid the spread of infection. 

Apply a small amount of Terra Cortril to the inflamed area. Do not rub it into the skin but gently spread the ointment over the skin to be treated. 

If your skin is infected you should not touch the area with your fingers, but apply the ointment using a piece of sterile gauze. 

You should begin to see an improvement in your skin condition within one week. However, the itching and redness should start to reduce soon after applying Terra Cortril. 

If possible try not to cover the affected area you are treating with clothing. You should also not touch the area one you have applied the ointment as this can reduce the effectiveness and could spread any infection you may have. 

Once your skin condition starts to improve you should continue to use Terra Cortril for as long as your doctor has advised. Do not be tempted to stop treatment too soon as the condition could then return. 

There are no preservatives in Terra Cortril so you should ensure you check the expiration date before using this medication. 

What dosages are there? 

Terra Cortril comes in tubes of 15 and 30 gram ointment. It contains a mix of 3% oxytetracycline and 1% hydrocortisone. 

The usual dose is a thin layer applied to the skin’s surface for as long as a doctor advises and usually 2-4 times a day. 

You should discuss with your doctor the area of skin you intend to apply Terra Cortril to as skin infections can cover large areas of the body and it may not be suitable to use in large quantities. 

If you forget to apply your medication at the time advised by your doctor you can apply it as soon as you remember, you do not have to wait for the next application time. However, you should not use Terra Cortril more than 4 times a day unless otherwise advised by your doctor. 

This medication is not recommended for use by children. 

What are the side effects of Terra Cortril? 

As with all medicines, there is a possibility of side effects when using Terra Cortril. The most common side effects that could occur are: 

  • Skin irritation (itching, skin feeling hot, rash); 
  • Thinning of the skin; 
  • Swelling; 
  • Lumps on the skin; 
  • Striae (red lines); 
  • Difficulty breathing; 
  • Folliculitis (the swelling of the hair roots in the skin); 
  • Hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth on the skin). 

When shouldn’t you use Terra Cortril? 

You should not use Terra Cortril if you: 

  • Are allergic to oxytetracycline, hydrocortisone, liquid paraffin or white soft paraffin; 
  • Have a skin infection that causes blisters, for example, impetigo or boils. 
  • Are pregnant, planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding. 

This medication is not suitable for the treatment of acne or rosacea (a skin condition that affects the face). Your doctor can prescribe different medication for these conditions. 

Terra Cortril should not be used on children. 

Terra Cortril is for external use only. 

Does Terra Cortril interact with other medications? 

It is not likely that Terra Cortril will interact with any other medication. However, you should still tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking, including herbal medicines. 

You may drink alcohol if you are using Terra Cortril. This medication should not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery. 

Where can you buy Terra Cortril? 

You need a prescription from a doctor to buy Terra Cortril from a pharmacy. 

Can I get Terra Cortril without a prescription?  

No, you need a prescription from a doctor who will examine your skin and advise appropriately. 


Contact dermatitis. November 12, 2019. Retrieved 7 December, 2019 from https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contact-dermatitis/ 

Package leaflet. PATIENT INFORMATION LEAFLET TERRA-CORTRIL® OINTMENT (oxytetracycline, hydrocortisone). December, 2014. Retrieved 7 December, 2019 from https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/docomimg2.s3.amazonaws.com/leaflets/en/patient_information_leaflet-4773-terra-cortril-uk.pdf-1510756510.pdf 

The British Skin Foundation (N.D.). Retrieved 7 December, 2019 from https://www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk/eczema 

Assessed by:

Dr Imran Malik, General practitioner
Registration number: GMC: 4741365

Dr Imran Malik studied undergraduate medicine at King's College University in Central London and clinical studies at the prestigious King's College Hospital. He graduated with a MBBS degree in 2000 and went on to gain postgraduate memberships with the Royal Society of Medicine and also General Practice in 2006.