Can Anavar Cause Acne, Pimples & Spots? (All Revealed)

  • By: Dave Moffat
  • Date: August 11, 2023
Can Anavar Cause Acne, Pimples & Spots?

Anavar, also known as Oxandrolone, is a widely used anabolic steroid popular among bodybuilders and athletes for its muscle-building effects.

However, like all drugs, Anavar use comes with potential side effects, and one of the most commonly reported is acne.

This article aims to delve into the correlation between Anavar use and the development of acne, exploring the underlying causes, prevalence, and potential management strategies for this side effect.

Can Anavar cause Acne?

Yes, Anavar can cause acne. This side effect is common with many steroids, including Anavar, due to their impact on hormone levels in the body.

Anavar, being an androgenic steroid, can increase the production of oil in the skin, leading to acne.

Steroid acne is a common side effect of both prescription corticosteroids and anabolic steroids used in bodybuilding.

The tendency for acne occurs more in sites prone to acne such as the face. If you are prone to acne, using Anavar may exacerbate it.

How Can You Manage Anavar-Related Acne?

If you’re experiencing acne as a result of taking Anavar, consider the following steps:

  • Consult with your healthcare provider: They may suggest adjusting your Anavar dosage or switching to another medication.
  • Maintain a regular skincare routine: This includes cleansing, exfoliating, and moisturizing your skin to keep your pores clear.
  • Consider topical or oral acne treatments: These can help manage and prevent breakouts. However, they should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Identifying Steroids That May Lead to Acne

Many types of anabolic steroids can potentially lead to acne. These are synthetic substances that mimic the effects of testosterone in the body, promoting muscle growth and strength.

However, they can also stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more oil, leading to clogged pores and acne.

  1. Anavar (Oxandrolone): Anavar is considered one of the milder steroids, but it can still cause acne, especially in those who are prone to this skin condition.
  2. Dianabol (Methandrostenolone): Dianabol is another popular steroid, but it is known to cause severe acne due to its strong androgenic effects.
  3. Testosterone: As the primary male sex hormone, testosterone can increase sebum production, leading to oily skin and acne.
  4. Trenbolone: Trenbolone is a powerful anabolic steroid that can lead to significant acne outbreaks, particularly on the back and shoulders.
  5. Anadrol (Oxymetholone): Anadrol is another potent steroid that can cause acne, particularly in higher dosages.

Remember, everyone’s body reacts differently to steroids. Some people may experience severe acne, while others may not have any skin problems.

The Mechanism Behind Steroid-Induced Acne

Steroid-induced acne, a common side effect among users of anabolic steroids, is a complex process influenced by various factors.

According to multiple studies, one of the key mechanisms behind steroid-induced acne involves the enhancement of Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) expression in human keratinocytes when stimulated with Propionibacterium acnes or proinflammatory cytokines.

Glucocorticoids, a class of corticosteroids, have been found to increase TLR2 expression, which can provoke skin conditions such as steroid-induced acne.

These glucocorticoids work synergistically with P. acnes, a bacterium linked to the development of acne, to induce the production of acute-phase serum amyloid A, an inflammatory factor.

The precise mechanism of steroid acne is still subject to research. However, it’s clear that the interaction between steroids, skin bacteria, and inflammatory responses plays a significant role.

Increased sebum production, often associated with steroid use, can also contribute to the onset of acne.

The Lifespan of Steroid-Induced Acne: Does It Disappear Over Time?

Steroid-induced acne is a common side effect of anabolic steroid use or prescription corticosteroids. This condition presents similar symptoms to regular acne, such as pimples, but the primary cause is steroid use.

In terms of lifespan, most drug-induced acneiform eruptions, including those caused by steroids, will spontaneously resolve over a period of weeks to months once the drug is discontinued.

That said, some instances of steroid acne may persist until the steroid medication is completely stopped. It’s also worth noting that in some cases, complete clearing can be obtained within two to three months, even while continuing therapy with high doses of steroids.

However, the exact duration of steroid-induced acne can vary greatly depending on several factors, including the individual’s skin type, the specific steroid used, the dosage, and the duration of use.

It’s crucial for anyone experiencing steroid-induced acne to consult with a healthcare provider. They can provide guidance on managing this side effect and can suggest possible changes to the medication regimen if necessary.

Acne Prevention Strategies Among Bodybuilders

For bodybuilders using anabolic steroids like Anavar, acne can be a common side effect. However, there are several strategies that can be employed to help prevent and manage this skin condition.

Regular Skin Cleansing

Keeping the skin clean is crucial in managing acne. Regular washing helps remove excess oil and dead skin cells that can clog pores. Bodybuilders should cleanse their skin twice a day using a mild cleanser.

Balanced Diet

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains can help maintain overall health and may also contribute to skin health. Though research is still ongoing, some studies suggest that certain foods, like those high in refined sugars or dairy products, might trigger acne.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking ample water can help to keep the skin hydrated and may assist in preventing acne. Hydration helps maintain the health of skin cells, which can reduce the likelihood of pore clogging.

Consult a Dermatologist

If over-the-counter treatments aren’t effective, a dermatologist can provide more targeted treatment options. These might include prescription creams, oral medications, or even certain types of light therapy.

Consider Alternatives to Steroids

If steroid use is leading to severe acne, bodybuilders may want to consider alternatives. This could mean exploring other performance-enhancing substances with fewer skin-related side effects or focusing on natural methods of muscle building like optimized nutrition and training routines.

Remember that while these strategies can help, they are not guaranteed to prevent acne entirely, especially if you’re genetically predisposed to the condition.

How long does steroid acne last?

The duration of steroid acne varies from person to person. It typically appears after several weeks of treatment with steroids. The acne may clear up while the individual continues taking the steroid medication, but it usually persists until the medication is discontinued.

Symptoms will generally subside once an individual stops using or misusing steroids. A good response to treatment can be seen within 2-4 weeks of starting treatment.

However, most drug-induced acneiform eruptions will spontaneously resolve over a period of weeks to months once the drug is removed.

In some cases, steroid acne will go away on its own as the body adjusts to the steroid. However, given the variability in individual responses and the potential for scarring, it’s always advisable to seek medical advice if you develop acne while using steroids.

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Hi, I'm Dave Moffat the founder and Chief Editor of and certified International Personal Trainer and Certified Nutritionist. My passion has always been bodybuilding but with 15 years' experience in weight loss programs too, it's hard not to mention all that when you're working at your fitness level fullest (I hope). When Im not in the gym or spending time away from my family i often think about what advice would help others achieve theirs goals just like these inspired mine.