Anabolic steroids can cause the development of acne. However, the extent to which it is experienced can be due to a number of varying factors, with the particular steroids and exact dosages used being primary. The skin´s sebaceous glands have a particularly high affinity to Dihydrotestosterone, which is an androgen the body naturally produces from testosterone via the enzyme 5-alpha Reductase. Increased sebaceous gland activity promotes oily skin which can combine with bacteria and dead skin (normal wear and tear) eventually causing pores to become clogged more quickly than the body can cleanse them. This of course, is preventable by using only particular steroids, cleansing the skin regularly, and perhaps using a topical anti-androgen.
Acne is often present. Acne conglobata is a particularly severe form of acne that can develop during steroid abuse or even after the drug has been discontinued. Infections are a common side effect of steroid abuse because of needle sharing and unsanitary techniques used when injecting the drugs into the skin. These are similar risks to IV drug abusers with increased potential to acquire blood-borne infections such as hepatitis and HIV/AIDS . Skin abscesses may occur at injection sites and may spread to other organs of the body. Endocarditis or an infection of the heart valves is not uncommon.
Corticosteroid myopathy presents as weakness and wasting of the proximal limb and girdle muscles and is generally reversible following cessation of therapy.
Corticosteroids inhibit intestinal calcium absorption and increase urinary calcium excretion leading to bone resorption and bone loss. Bone loss of 3% over one year has been demonstrated with prednisolone 10 mg per day. Postmenopausal females are particularly at risk for loss of bone density. Sixteen percent of elderly patients treated with corticosteroids for 5 years may experience vertebral compression fractures. One author reported measurable bone loss over two years in women on concomitant therapy with prednisolone mg per day and tamoxifen. [ Ref ]