Using Desonide Cream for Eczema

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If you have eczema (atopic dermatitis) you may be wondering if desonide cream is a good treatment option for you. This article will go over some of the pros and cons of using Desonide cream for eczema.


Desonide cream is a topical corticosteroid that goes by several other brand names including Desonate Gell and Verdeso Foam. It is on the mild end of the spectrum (lower strength) when it comes to common topical steroid medications commonly prescribed for eczema, just a step above over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream. It is available only by prescription. It is approved for use in individuals 3 months of age and older.

The actual mechanism by which Desonide cream works is unknown. In general, an overactive immune system and/or allergies are thought to contribute to the development of eczema and steroid medication can suppress the immune system which helps to resolve symptoms. This is, of course, a very simplified explanation of complex processes.

You may be wondering if steroids are necessary. Steroids have a bit of a bad rap among some individuals who view them as unnatural or harsh. The truth is that your body naturally produces it's own steroid hormones. The negative reputation is largely due to steroid medications which are taken orally and can cause harmful side effects, especially when taken long term.

While topical steroids can also have side effects they are usually not nearly as severe. In fact, topical steroids have been in use for over 50 years and can be quite safe when taken short term and as prescribed.

While other treatments for eczema such as moisturizers, oatmeal baths or avoiding certain allergens can be effective they may not be enough to control your symptoms. In this case, it may be time to consider using a steroid based medication.


You should follow your doctor's instructions exactly since this medication comes in different formulations and may be prescribed in different dosages. Don't apply the medication more often than your doctor recommends. It is most commonly applied in a thin layer to the affected area twice daily. It is widely recommended that individuals with eczema use a moisturizer daily, desonide cream is not a substitute for a good moisturizer.

You should shake the lotion or foam versions of this medication before using and wash your hands after applying this medication. Avoid getting the medication in your eyes or mouth or in open cuts or sores. You should not use this medication for more than four weeks in a row. In general, all topical steroids should be used for the shortest amount of time possible to control your eczema to avoid serious side effects.

Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effects with desonide cream are headache and burning or irritation at the site where the medication is applied. Other side effects may include: thinning of the skin where applied (more likely with prolonged use), acne breakouts where the medication is applied, itching, folliculitis, and hypopigmentation of the skin in the area where the medication is applied.

There is a risk with topical steroids of them being absorbed into the bloodstream and interfering with your body's ability to produce it's own steroid hormones. This is more likely to occur in children using topical steroids than adults and the risk is increased depending on the strength of the steroid used.

To avoid this you should always use the lowest strength topical steroid needed to control your condition for the shortest amount of time possible. Also applying the medication to broken skin will greatly increase the amount of medication that may be absorbed into your bloodstream.

Allergies and Interactions

It is possible to have a serious allergic reaction to desonide cream. Wash the medication off immediately and get medical help if you experience extreme redness and itching accompanied by swelling, difficulty breathing (wheezing), or any other symptom that seems alarming.

There is little scientific research about using this medication while pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor before starting this medication if you are pregnant or nursing and contact your physician immediately if you become pregnant while on this medication.

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