Steroid dermatitis resembling rosacea: aetiopathogenesis and treatment

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2002 Mar;16(2):121-6. doi: 10.1046/j.1468-3083.2002.00388_2.x.


Background: Corticosteroids were first introduced for topical use in dermatology in 1951. Since then uncontrolled use (abuse) has caused many different reactions, often with manifestations resembling those of rosacea.

Objective: The prolonged use of local corticosteroids (usually 2-6 months) may lead to a clinical picture of severe dermatitis with erythema, papules and pustules that are classified according their localization to three types. The treatment of choice is tetracycline in combination with local application of neutral ointments.

Conclusions: Trivial skin dermatoses, especially on the face, should not be treated with local corticosteroids.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Topical
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects*
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drug Eruptions / diagnosis*
  • Drug Eruptions / drug therapy*
  • Facial Dermatoses / chemically induced
  • Facial Dermatoses / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Assessment
  • Rosacea / diagnosis*
  • Rosacea / drug therapy*
  • Rosacea / etiology
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Tetracycline / therapeutic use*


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Tetracycline