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What Is Desonide Cream?

By Jacquelyn Gilchrist
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Desonide cream is a generic medication intended for topical application to the skin. A doctor may prescribe this mild corticosteroid to patients who suffer from certain skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, and rashes, including allergic rashes. It is intended for relief of symptoms like redness, swelling, and itching.

Before using desonide cream, patients must wash and dry the area of skin to be treated, as well as their hands. The bottle of cream should also be shaken. A patient should apply a small amount of the cream to the skin and gently rub it in, distributing it in a thin layer. The treated area should not be covered by a bandage or tight-fitting clothing. Typically, a patient may be instructed to use the cream two to four times daily for perhaps two weeks.

Some side effects may occur from the use of desonide cream, which should be reported to the prescribing physician if they become bothersome. Patients may notice that the area of application develops dryness, irritation, and itching. It may also turn reddish and patients may feel a stinging or burning sensation. These side effects should dissipate after the first few days of application. If they worsen, patients should notify their doctors.

Rarely, more serious side effects may occur, which require a doctor's immediate care. Some patients may experience an allergic reaction, which may present with swelling of the facial area, chest tightness, and severe dizziness, as well as difficulty breathing. Desonide cream may also rarely lead to skin infections, which are typically indicated by worsening irritation, redness, or swelling. Other serious side effects may include skin thinning or discoloration, stretch marks, and acne. Patients may also experience folliculitis or excessive hair growth.

Before using desonide cream to treat a skin condition, patients must disclose their other medical conditions. As of 2011, it is unknown whether this drug applied topically may pass into breast milk. Women who are pregnant should avoid its use whenever possible. This cream may be contraindicated for use by those who have a poor immune system, poor blood circulation, or diabetes. Patients should also inform their doctors if they have Cushing's syndrome.

Desonide cream may interact with other medications and supplements. Patients should disclose all other drugs they take, including cyclosporine, azathioprine, and methotrexate. It may also interact with tacrolimus, sirolimus, and other corticosteroids, including those taken orally.

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Discussion Comments

By fBoyle — On Sep 30, 2013

@anamur-- I've heard that desonide cream has side effects if used for many years. It can cause thinning of skin and changes in skin pigmentation. But I don't think that it can weaken the immune system. Of course, it's best to use any steroid only when really necessary and with the approval of a doctor.

I have used desonide cream in the past, for dermatitis, and I think it works great.

By serenesurface — On Sep 29, 2013

@turquoise-- Desonide is a very strong steroid cream. Desonide cream 0.05% is much stronger than over the counter hydrocortisone cream that people get from the pharmacy when they have an allergic reaction like hives.

Some people use steroid creams for a short time for rosacea, eczema and similar conditions but I think this is a bad idea. Steroid creams only work temporarily and do not treat the underlying condition. They can also worsen problems in the long term because they weaken the immune system.

I suggest that you see your doctor for a better solution.

By turquoise — On Sep 28, 2013

Can desonide cream be used for rosacea?

My friend is using this cream for another skin condition but said that it reduces redness. I have rosacea and nothing I've tried is working. Is it safe to use desonide cream for rosacea and will it work?

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