Objectives: This research was carried out in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania to assess cosmetic use and related adverse reactions among university students studying medicine and pharmacy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Methods: A cross sectional study design was employed and data was collected by random stratified sampling technique. Data was collected and analyzed using SPSS version 20 and the chi square test was used to determine the associations between variables. Results: Findings indicated that majority (91%) of respondents were using cosmetic products at the time of the study. More than half of respondents (58.4%) admitted to have experienced at least one type of adverse reaction from using cosmetic products. The most commonly experienced adverse reactions were allergic reactions (30.8%) followed by burning sensation (18.5%) mostly from perfumes and face products. Moreover, there were associations (p<0.05) between use of cosmetic products and some demographic variables (gender and year of study) and there were also associations (p<0.05) between adverse reactions and gender. Findings again revealed that, 17.9% of the respondents use cosmetics for the purpose of skin protection, 17.9% s to boost attractiveness and improve beauty. Majority of respondents obtained awareness about the possible adverse effects of cosmetic products from friends and family (29.5%), the media (23.2%), internet (21.4%) and fellow students (17%). Respondents were also mostly aware of the adverse effects of the cosmetics but still used them. Conclusion: There is a high occurrence and knowledge of cosmetics use- related adverse reactions.
Key words: Cosmetics, Cosmetic products, Cosmetics use-related adverse reactions, Allergic reactions, Skin protection.