What are some known methods of treating steroid acne?


In bodybuilding the best way to gain amazing body muscle mass is by taking steroids. However, there’s a catch and in this case it’s the threat of getting an outbreak of steroid acne. An outbreak of acne in the middle of a cycle would be a nightmare. But cheer up because today, many effective treatments can literally eliminate your steroid acne outbreak with no hassles. What are they? Let’s find out.

Introducing steroid acne and treatment

These days, there are a few treatments on the market for male bodybuilders that can take care of your needs especially if you are entering a bodybuilding competition or you wish to improve your athletic performance.

For both these endeavors there’s a tremendous need on your part to take in as much steroid stimulus as you possibly can so you can gain body muscle mass without gaining extra weight or improve your time on the track.

Whatever motives behind taking steroid, there’s no escaping the fact that in doing so you are opening your doors to a very problematic situation. You are likely to get acne and worse still, cystic acne which is usually deeply seated and can cause scarring.

Know your enemies acne vulgaris and fungal acne

When you are tackling your bodybuilding regimen so you can reach its pinnacle, you need to know what might prevent you from reaching the top.

No doubt one of them would be getting acne that can turn to nasty scarring but what do you do? Simply this: You need to know your enemy.

Acne is pure and simple, an inflammation of oil glands in your skin and hair follicles with the name acne vulgaris or as we know it, spots, pimples or zits. The inflammation is caused by a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes.

It goes without saying that Steroid acne has practically the same symptoms as ordinary acne with on difference.

Steroid acne is the result of your continual intake of anabolic steroids during your cycles because it’s the steroids that stimulate the production of sebum oil that causes inflammation and infection.

Steroids can either be prescriptions (of say prednisone) or formulations specifically made for bodybuilding.

Your second enemy is fungal acne (mallassezia folliculitis) which is triggered by the infection of yeast in your hair follicles. Both types of acne are able to develop naturally or through oral or intravenous means.

Both acne types, whether natural or steroid induced usually occur during adolescence, but they also have the propensity to occur at any age.

You shouldn’t mistake steroid acne from steroid rosacea which is caused by the use of topical (external) corticosteroids.

Know steroid acne symptoms well

You should also be familiar with the symptoms of steroid acne so that you can take appropriate action whenever you need to especially for protecting your well-earned body mass

In most cases, steroid acne will appear on your chest and when they do, don’t panic but know that there are several types of treatments available to get rid of your acne.

Know also that steroid acne can appear elsewhere on your body such as your arms, face, back and neck.

The symptoms of steroid acne that can include:

  • Swellings of cysts beneath the skin (pseudo-cysts)
  • Big red and painful lumps (nodules)
  • Yellow or white spots (pustules)
  • Open and closed blackheads and whiteheads (comedones)
  • Small red bumps (papules)

It’s possible to add secondary effects to your steroid acne by picking and/or scratching the affected area which can result in the formation of :

  • Scars
  • Dark smears from older spots
  • Red marks from spots that have recently healed

In the case of steroid acne especially of the acne vulgaris kind, you will usually find that your acne spots are more uniform than non-steroid acne.

However, if you acne is of the fungal type (malassezia folliculitis), the acne spots will have spots that are of a similar size.

You’ll also most likely find that when both of these acne types are present, blackheads and whiteheads (comedones) are usually absent.


Common causes of steroid acne

If you are involved in taking steroid drugs through oral intake, intravenous injection or by inhalation means, then you are in acne territory and you can expect to get steroid acne as a result of these activities.

Using anabolic steroids in bodybuilding

It’s known that an estimated 50 percent of people who use anabolic steroids in big doses for their bodybuilding endeavors have steroid acne appearing in and on their bodies.

The concocted formulation for these doses are known as sustanon which can also be referred to as either “Sus” and “Deca”).

This is the formulation that’s mainly responsible for causing steroid acne in bodybuilder but remember that high doses of testosterone can also be a contributing factor to acne breakouts.

What is the process behind steroid acne?

It’s not yet clear how steroids are likely to increase the development of acne in your body but for some reason they appear to do so.

Studies so far suggest that steroids may provide impetus to the production of your body’s immune system receptors which are also called TLR2.

At some stage the TLR2 receptors combine with the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes and together they may play a part in causing acne outbreaks.

Know well the treatment options available

Two main types of treatments are involved for dealing with both steroid and ordinary acne and these are oral antibiotics and topical skin treatments.

Typically, topical antifungals, like ketoconazole shampoo, or an oral antifungal such as itraconazole are used for treating fungal acne caused by steroid intake.

Antibiotic treatment

The tetracycline group of oral antibiotics is usually prescribed for treating both severe and moderate steroid acne cases. and for those that can cause scarring. They comprise the minocycline, doxycycline, and tetracycline types.

They kill bacteria that aggravate acne and can also deal with inflammatory problems.

Optional prescriptions are also available for children under 8 years of age.

For these types of treatments, it usually takes four to eight weeks of regular us of antibiotics to see any resultant effects of your skin clearing up. For full recovery three to six months may be needed.

You are reminded that colored people may be more vulnerable to the effects of scarring.

Benzoyle peroxide

This is a highly effective antiseptic that can kill acne bacteria and reduce inflammation. It can and is often used with oral antibiotics for dealing with serious acne cases and mild cases that don’t require the use of antibiotics.

It is readily available  as an over-the-counter acne treatment and is sometimes used in combination with salicylic acid.

Bottom line

The taking of steroids during bodybuilding cycles and especially when you are preparing for a special competition for upgrading your status is totally indispensible. However, you should be prepared to be faced with the reality that you may be subjected to acne breakouts perhaps mid-way in your regimen. To lessen the force of getting steroid acne, you should know enough about acne to be able to address any issues that arise.


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