Compliance raises very specific questions in dermatology related to the frequent use of local treatments: creams or ointments, including topical corticosteroids. The adherence in dermatology is a complex issue. It is difficult to quantify objectively because of the patient subjectivity, the constant adaptation to changes in the course of the disease, and due to the lack of adapted device. Moreover poor compliance may be related to topical corticosteroid phobia, defined as a fear vis-à-vis the topical corticosteroids, rational or not. The topical corticosteroid phobia is very common in the management of chronic inflammatory skin diseases especially in atopic dermatitis.
Corticosteroids have been used as drug treatment for some time. Lewis Sarett of Merck & Co. was the first to synthesize cortisone, using a complicated 36-step process that started with deoxycholic acid, which was extracted from ox bile .  The low efficiency of converting deoxycholic acid into cortisone led to a cost of US $200 per gram. Russell Marker , at Syntex , discovered a much cheaper and more convenient starting material, diosgenin from wild Mexican yams . His conversion of diosgenin into progesterone by a four-step process now known as Marker degradation was an important step in mass production of all steroidal hormones, including cortisone and chemicals used in hormonal contraception .  In 1952, . Peterson and . Murray of Upjohn developed a process that used Rhizopus mold to oxidize progesterone into a compound that was readily converted to cortisone.  The ability to cheaply synthesize large quantities of cortisone from the diosgenin in yams resulted in a rapid drop in price to US $6 per gram, falling to $ per gram by 1980. Percy Julian's research also aided progress in the field.  The exact nature of cortisone's anti-inflammatory action remained a mystery for years after, however, until the leukocyte adhesion cascade and the role of phospholipase A2 in the production of prostaglandins and leukotrienes was fully understood in the early 1980s.