Background: Topical corticosteroids are highly effective compounds that are now widely
used in dermatology for the treatment of various autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. Many
corticosteroids are misused for diverse indications such as pigmentation, acne, pruritus, fungal or
bacterial infections, rashes, and numerous other conditions. These products contain various constituents,
most of which have hazards or toxic elements.
Objective: The aim is to raise awareness among individuals in the city of Basrah, Iraq about the uses
and abuses of applying fake products to the face to inform the consumers about potential harmful
Methods: This study was a prospective multi-center clinic questionnaire of a demographic that involved
the outpatient dermatology departments at the Al-Basrah teaching hospital and the
Abu Al-Khaseeb hospital as well as the private clinics of two dermatology specialists in Basrah. A
total of 235 patients with facial dermatoses secondary to the application of topical corticosteroids
and counterfeit products or, a mixed formulation, for cosmetic purposes were recruited.
Results: Most enrolled patients were female with 10-20 years aged group. The majority applied
these products due to friends or pharmacy encouragement. Motivations for the use of these products
included: skin fairness, lightening, and general cosmetic. Interestingly, acne and erythema were
common whilst, atrophy, dryness, telangiectasia, and hirsutism appear on long- term use only.
Conclusion: The abuse of counterfeit cosmetic products and topical corticosteroids is in progress
and they have adverse health events. There are many causes behind the abuse but the lack of education,
lack of restriction, profitable for sellers and low prices are the main.