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Original Article

J. Islam. Int. Med. Coll.. 2012; 7(1): 20-25

Injudicious Use of Topical Steroids, A Misconcept in Treatment of Patients with Acne Vulgaris

Asma Khalid, Rushqia Mukhtar.


Objectives: To determine the frequency of use of topical steroids by acne patients and to observe various cutaneous side effects in these patients.
Study Design: Descriptive study
Materials and Methods: This study was conducted in Dermatology out patient department, Pakistan Railway Hospital, Rawalpindi from February 15 to April 15, 2012. Total 110 patients were enrolled in the study. All the patients were having clinical diagnosis of acne vulgaris. Patients of both genders with age range of 13- 35 years were included in the study. Frequency of patients using topical steroids to treat acne was calculated and cutaneous side effects of topical steroids were noted.
Results: Out of 110 patients of acne, 76 were females (69%) & 34 were males (31%).Age range of patients was from 13 to 35 years. Topical steroids were used by 68 patients (62%) with acne vulgaris. Mean duration of application of topical steroids ranged from 2weeks to 5months. Most commonly used steroid was betamethasone valerate(62%), followed by clobetasol propionate(29%) and flucinolone acetonide(8%). Out of 68 patients using topical steroids cutaneous side effects were seen in 50 patients in the form of aggravation of
existing lesions in 18 patients(36%), perioral dermatitis 12 patients(24%), telangiectasias 8 patients(16%), increased facial hair growth 7 patients(14%), tinea incognito in 3 patients(6%) and acne rosacea in 2 patients(4%).
Conclusion: This study shows that a large number of patients are using topical steroids to treat acne lesions. Use of topical steroids is a misconcept in treating the lesions of acne vulgaris and their use is associated with various cutaneous side effects including aggravation of acne lesions, skin atrophy, telangiectasias, perioral dermatitis, hirsutism, acne roacea and tinea in cognito.

Key words: Topical corticosteroid, Retinoids, Lasers

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