Use of topical corticosteroids and mixed creams over the face among female medical students of Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur

Sohail Shaheen, Asma Shahbaz, Nimra Maqbool, Jamil Ahmad Shaheen


Background  Topical corticosteroids have abundant benefits but if abused, hold dire consequences. One of the common reason for their misuse over the face is skin lightening especially in Asian regions. These steroids are either used alone or in combination with other fairness creams which form a potentially harmful mixture. This study was carried out to comprehend the prevalence of this practice among female medical students of Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur, as medical students are expected not to follow such practices, rather combat against them.


Methods Institutional based cross-sectional study was carried among female medical students of Quaid-e-Azam Medical College, Bahawalpur. It involved a total of 240 female students from First Year to Final Year. Self-administered questionnaire was distributed among the students to assess the prevalence of steroids and mixed cream usage over the face.


Results 240 female students of Quaid-e-Azam Medical College were sampled. Betamethasone was used by 88 (36.7%) students. Fifty Six (23.4%) students used other steroid creams and mixed creams were used by 22 (9.2%) students. The prevalent reason for using these creams was acne (45.4%). The commonest source of obtaining steroids was pharmacies (48.8%). It was found that mostly friends/relatives suggested the participant to use these creams (25.8%). Steroid creams were mostly used for duration of few days.


Conclusion Our study concludes that a significant number of female medical students use steroid creams over the face, especially Betamethasone. Steroids are being dispensed at general stores and pharmacies without any regulatory oversight. There is a serious need to transform public’s insight regarding believes of use of such creams.



Topical corticosteroids, mixed creams, medical students, face, misuse

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