What is it: Desonide lotion
After several nights of applying layers upon layers of heavy moisturizers to the area, the dry patches persisted, only now with a few clogged pores for spare company. I knew that something more severe was at work on my skin when my doctor sent me to the drugstore with a prescription for Desonide, the generic name of a low potency topical corticosteroid. My generic version ended up costing about $30, though it can be found for around $100 more under the brand names Desonate, DesOwen, LoKara, and Verdeso.
The lotion healed my troubled chin area instantly. Where I had once sported red, scaly patches that seemed to be in a constant state of molting (doesn't that sound attractive?), Desonide recouped a clear swath of skin. It worked so swiftly that I nearly forgot about my newfound friend, that is, until my dry patches came back to haunt me owing to a combination of germ-infested plane rides, plummeting temperature/humidity levels, and any number of unfamiliar face products (what I do for the sake of TIA..). No matter the cause, Desonide came to the rescue once again.
With the help of a friend in pharmacology school, I waded through a jumble of drug-related jargon to decipher what makes this potion so magical. Desonide is intended to address atopic dermatitis (chronic inflammation triggered by an allergic hypersensitivity) and dermatoses (skin diseases not accompanied by inflammation). At 0.05%, Desonide belongs to one of the mildest and weakest classes of topical steroids, which is a good thing since steroids can produce a number of adverse side effects, including allergic contact dermatitis, atrophy, addiction, folliculitis, perioral dermatitis, ocular effects, tachyphylaxis (development of rapidly decreasing response to drug), among other bodily reactions.
Because of its long-term effects on the body, it is meant to be used only sparingly, applied with the smallest amount needed to cover the affected area. Furthermore, use of Desonide should be discontinued once control of symptoms is achieved or if no improvement is seen within two weeks. It is usually necessary to reduce use gradually to wean your skin off it. Abruptly stopping can result in renewed flare ups. Corticosteroids like Desonide work by stimulating the synthesis of enzymes needed to decrease inflammation, suppress mitotic activity (the degree to which a group of cells proliferate), and cause vasoconstriction (narrowing of the blood vessels).
Even though I am indebted to Desonide for clearing up my atopic dermatitis, it is clearly not a cure-all for everyone, especially those allergic to steroids. Because of its high-risk profile, Desonide should only be administered under the supervision of a physician. I keep my bottle of Desonide on-hand only in case of emergencies, both to preserve the delicate, thin skin of my face and to prevent it from absorbing the profusion of nasty chemicals that I came across while scrutinizing the label.
Each gram contains .5mg of Desonide in a base of sodium lauryl sulfate, light mineral oil, cetyl alcohol, stearyl alcohol, propylene glycol, methylparaben, propylparaben, sorbitan monostearate, glyceryl stearate SE, edetate sodium, citric acid anhydrous, and purified water. My little Desonide seems to have fallen in with the wrong crowd. But I suppose there's no point in throwing the baby out with the bath water.