Background: Topical corticosteroids are widely used to treat dermatological problems. The aim of this study is to assess the scale of topical steroid usage on the face among the university students.
Methods: An online questionnaire has been sent by e-mail to all students of King Abdulaziz University (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia). It included questions about the use of topical steroids on the face for the last 5 y. Different photos of commonly used topical steroids including combination formulas were shown and asked if they have been used.
Results: 1626 students responded. Only 56 responded as they have used topical steroids on the face in the previous 5 y. At least 189 had used one of the presented photos (which contained steroids) and 637 said that they did not know that they contained steroids. Sources of prescription included dermatologists, other doctors, pharmacists, friends and relatives, beauticians or saloon staff and others. Different recognized side effects were reported.
Conclusion: Considerable number of university students use topical steroids on the face without knowing its nature. Additionally, Topical steroids are being prescribed and advised by non-medical personnel. Public awareness actions can be implemented to warn against the use of topical steroids without proper medical consultation.