What Is Desonide Lotion?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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Desonide lotion is a mild corticosteroid available by prescription for the treatment of skin irritation. In addition to the steroid, it also contains a moisturizer to hydrate the skin and make the patient feel more comfortable. It can be used safely on most of the body and is recommended for short term use only, as it can cause serious side effects, especially in younger patients. If a patient cannot tolerate desonide lotion, the doctor may prescribe a different topical corticosteroid for her skin.

This medication suppresses inflammation and slows the rate of cell growth. It should ease dry skin and resolve itching and mild rashes caused by inflammation. Patients can use the drug for approximately two weeks. If their skin does not clear up, the medication is not effective, and the patient should discontinue use. If it does, the patient can stop taking it. Once the skin irritation resolves, it is important to handle the skin carefully to prevent a recurrence.


Topical corticosteroids like desonide lotion can be very useful for the treatment of skin irritation, but they carry some risks. Patients can develop thinning in the upper layers of their skin with extended use, and they also experience immunodepression. Their immune systems will be less active, and this makes it harder to fight infections and respond to vaccines. While on desonide lotion, the patient should avoid live vaccines, and patients should not take this drug if they have any active infections, as these can flare up and become much worse.

Some patients notice side effects like stinging, skin peeling, and rashes with desonide lotion. These are signs that the skin cannot tolerate the medication, and it is necessary to try a different drug to manage the condition. Patients with a history of adverse reactions to the drug should make sure these are recorded, as otherwise a different care provider might prescribe desonide lotion for atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, or another skin condition associated with inflammation and itching.

The drug typically comes in a small lotion bottle, and the user should store it in a cool, dry place. It is not intended for ingestion, and it is important to apply it to clean, dry skin. Patients should take care to avoid spreading it on healthy skin. The medication will absorb through the skin and can cause complications. It is especially important to avoid the eyes, mouth, and inside of the nose after handling this medication, because these mucous membranes are highly absorbent.


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