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What effects do anabolic steroids have on the skin?

      Steroids promote acne.(1,2)  Anabolic steroids
 stimulate the production of oils in the skin, known medically as
 "sebum".(2)  The oils or sebum produced is a fertile
 nutrient bath for several different types of bacteria.  If an
 infection develops, there may be severe scarring and reactions from
 the body's immune system.(2)  A 21-year-old steroid user
 developed severe acne after 4 weeks of anabolic steroid
 use.(1)  His acne became infected with "Staph" and
 "Propionibacterium acnes."  Toxic chemicals produced by these
 bacteria caused a severe immune reaction that sent him to the
 hospital for several weeks.(1)  

      Drugs prescribed to treat acne (such as tetracycline and
 isotretinoin) may become toxic at normal doses if taken by a
 steroid abuser.(2)  When the liver enzymes are occupied by
 anabolics, they are unable to deactivate these prescription drugs
 at a normal rate.  The prescription drugs accumulate in the body,
 leading to toxic effects.(2)

      Male pattern baldness occurs in both male and female steroid
 abusers.(2-4)  Some medical authorities state that
 hair growth returns when steroids are stopped.(2)  Others
 say that hair loss is irreversible.(4)


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REFERENCES 1. Heydenreich G. Testosterone and anabolic steroids and acne fulminans. Arch Dermatol 1989 Apr;125:571-2. 2. Johnson MD. Steroids. Adolescent Med 1991 Feb;2(1):79-93. 3. Yesalis CE, Wright JE, Bahrke MS. Epidemiological and policy issues in the measurement of the long term health effects of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Sports Medicine 1989 Sep;8(3):129-38. 4. Wilson JD. Androgen abuse by athletes. Endocrine Reviews 1988;9(2):181-99. by Trent Tschirgi, R. Ph. (c) 1992 University of Maryland Office of Substance Abuse Studies. All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer: Steroid use is illegal in a vast number of countries around the world. This is not without reason. Steroids should only be used when prescribed by your doctor and under close supervision. Steroid use is not to be taken lightly and we do not in any way endorse or approve of illegal drug use. The information is provided on the same basis as all the other information on this site, as informational/entertainment value.

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