Do SARMs cause Acne?

A common side effect of Anabolics is the development of Acne. Why does this happen, and will SARMs Acne as well? Let's look at how to avoid it.

We’ve all seen the really cumbersome guy at the gym with horrific acne, and we’re all ready to just claim “Must be the Roids!” – and most of the time it usually is. Anabolic Steroids can cause severe acne.

But can the same be said for SARMs? We know that a SARM cycle might not have the same side effects as Steroids, but is it really true?

What are the actual effects SARMs users experience, and what happens after several weeks on SARMs?

Let’s look at SARM pharmacology, treatments for acne, and what happens when your cycle ends.

Key Takeaways

  • SARMs can cause acne due to increased sebum and androgen levels
  • Treatment will vary from person to person
  • The best way to prevent acne from SARMs is to live clean and healthy

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Can SARMs cause Acne?

SARMs or Selective androgen receptor modulators bind to Androgen receptors in the human body (particularly in muscle and bone tissue) and cause physiological changes that increase lean muscle mass, bone density, and much more.

Androgens in general will have a strong link to acne. While the regular androgens you think about might not cause Androgenic acne, DHT (dihydrogen testosterone) does [1].

Even back in the 1940s, they found a strong connection between Androgen activity (in males) and acne formation [2]. This was reversed when Testosterone levels were increased with exogenous hormones.

Do SARMs cause Acne?
Figure 1: A representation of how acne can form

So, will SARMs do the same? We know that a common side effect of Testosterone and Steroids is Acne, but since SARMs are weaker, they surely don’t have the same side effects, right?

Wrong.

The fact of the matter is you will still see mild cases of acne from SARMs. Those who have acne before using SARMs might even suffer from severe acne. SARM usage and Acne have been well-documented by individuals on Reddit:

“Did a cycle of ostarine about 9 months ago or so and got pretty bad back acne from it that I still can’t get to clear up any. Not sure that it was really a direct effect from the ostarine think it was more to do with the fact ostarine made me sweat way more and working a physical job I was spending 8-10 hours a day in work with that sweat sitting on me. Anyone else get bad acne after taking SARMs?”

– Reddit User…

“I got acne and mole growth, both linked to hormone fluctuations. I tend to think of it like going through puberty again, your body is suddenly flooded with hormonal changes and its bound to happen, nowhere near as bad as the acne from AAS but a lot of it is genetic too (if you had bad skin before, it’ll be much worse, if you never did it’ll likely not be noticeable)”

– Reddit User…

Which SARMs cause the most Acne?

When trying to find out which SARMs are more likely to cause acne, they will most likely be the ones that suppress testosterone levels the most, bind to the most androgen receptors, and are (usually) also the strongest.

This is not true for all SARMs and is not even true for all people. What might work for you, might not work for me! You are, after all, running an experiment on your own body. That said, the SARMs that are most likely to cause Acne, all things considered, are:

Which SARMs do not cause Acne?

Again, when we are trying to figure out which of these compounds is least likely to cause acne, we have to look at which of these are known to cause the least amount of side effects. The SARMs least likely to cause acne are:

Keep in mind that even though these should be less prone to giving you acne, there are exceptions. Again, you are running your own little experiment and with some SARMs, you will have good reactions and some bad ones.

How to Avoid Acne from SARMs

No one wants to wake up and find their pores filled with yellow and whiteheads. You can have them on your chest, upper chest, neck, back, hell even your inner thighs. In some severe cases, the person might end up with some pretty bad scars. So, how do we avoid acne from SARMs? How do we fix it?

  1. Don’t use SARMs – Pretty obvious solution, but it has to be mentioned. The easiest way to avoid a side effect of drugs and/or medication is to not take it.
  2. Take a low or normal dose – It is pretty common knowledge that taking more or taking any SARM for longer will severely increase the chances of developing acne.
  3. Live a clean life – This means you will have to do everything and anything to reduce acne. Clean yourself often, apply sunscreen, etc.
  4. Certain creams and prescription corticosteroids – While using even more drugs isn’t always the best route forward if you have to use Anti Androgen drugs (Anti DHT) or other drugs to prevent acne, then so be it.
  5. Work with a physician – If you really are unable to treat acne from home or with DIY methods, you might need to reach deep into your wallet and go see a physician.

When looking at what most professional bodybuilders do to reduce Steroid acne, it’s a simple treatment. really. Reduce any unhealthy food, get ample rest, get someone to help you clean off dead cells, and take great care of your skin.

The better you look after the affected area, the greater the chance that you’ll stop the acne from spreading, or even prevent acne in the first place! Prevention is the best solution – period.

What are SARMs?

So, if you didn’t know by now, let me give you a quick rundown of what SARMs are exactly. Developed to replace Steroids in the medical world, healthcare professionals needed something that would give similar muscle-building effects to patients without causing as many side effects, such as acne, loss of hair follicles, Testosterone levels dropping, etc.

As a solution, SARMs were invented. Slightly weaker than Steroids, but you were also way less likely to have side effects. Symptoms of these sides are way less, and thus, using a “SARM Cycle” to increase lean muscle mass and lose fat became quite common amongst athletes and gym goers.

It is not uncommon for athletes to pair SARMs with Peptides to get the best effects possible. Once you stop taking SARMs, you need to take other treatments to ensure your hormonal and organ health remains in good working order. This is called a PCT.

Are SARMs Legal?

In contrast to Steroids, you can legally purchase SARMs online, but there are certain rules you need to follow. These include only buying from companies who list their products as “not for human use” and as “research chemicals”“.

What is Acne?

And now, the biggie. What is acne actually? What are whiteheads? Blackheads? Why does a cycle of SARMs or Steroids worsen acne?

According to the NIAMS, acne can be defined as “Acne is a common skin condition that happens when hair follicles under the skin become clogged. Sebum—oil that helps keep skin from drying out—and dead skin cells plug the pores, which leads to outbreaks of lesions, commonly called pimples or zits. Most often, the outbreaks occur on the face but can also appear on the back, chest, and shoulders.”

As we mentioned earlier, acne can be affected by androgens. This is neatly written in a study published in 2014, “Increased sebum production due to androgens’ activity at the sebaceous follicle is a prerequisite for acne in all patients. High level of androgens, or hypersensitivity of the sebaceous glands to a normal level of androgens, causes an increase in sebum production” [3].

This is why increased androgen levels can lead to acne all over the body. This is also why you’re more prone to acne during your teenage years, and why you’re also more acne prone when using Steroids or SARMs.

How do you treat Acne?

There are a couple of different ways to treat acne, such as topical retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, topical antibiotics, oral antibiotics, etc. Your best bet at treating it with medication would be working with a doctor.

Trying to do too much at-home polypharmacy (multiple drug use) could increase the risk of serious side effects. Things you can do as a “treatment” include living as healthy and as clean as you can, especially when on a cycle. Wear clean clothes, wash bedding regularly, etc.

Conclusion: SARMs and Acne

There is no denying the fact that SARMs can and do cause Acne. Treatment can vary from person to person, just like how the SARM cycle will react in your body! Most people tend to get acne in their upper back, and upper body, but it can happen anywhere.

In severe cases, it might leave nasty skin defects that haunt the user for years to come. This is why prevention is far better than fixing the problem or its effects afterward.

What are the negative effects of SARMs?

Effects will differ based on the particular SARM, how long it is used for, and what the dosage is. For the most part, you can expect hair loss, Testosterone suppression, increased lipid levels, and higher blood pressure.

MK 677 and Acne

Acne from MK 677 is unlikely due to the nature of the “SARM’, but you can still see some acne if you live a very unhealthy lifestyle.

Still Have Questions?

Drop us a comment down below and one of our expert coaches will respond to it, you can also email is at coaching@muscleandbrawn.com.

1) Lai JJ, Chang P, Lai KP, Chen L, Chang C. The role of androgen and androgen receptor in skin-related disorders. Arch Dermatol Res. 2012 Sep;304(7):499-510. doi: 10.1007/s00403-012-1265-x. Epub 2012 Jul 25. PMID: 22829074; PMCID: PMC3763909.

2) Male hormone stimulation is prerequisite and an incitant in common baldness† November 1942 https://doi.org/10.1002/aja.1000710306

3) Ghosh S, Chaudhuri S, Jain VK, Aggarwal K. Profiling and hormonal therapy for acne in women. Indian J Dermatol. 2014 Mar;59(2):107-15. doi: 10.4103/0019-5154.127667. PMID: 24700926; PMCID: PMC3969667.

Daniel Louwrens BSc PT

Hi there! My name is Daniel Louwrens, and I have more than 10 years of experience in the bodybuilding & fitness world. I have graduated with a degree in Chemistry, and my aim with helping people is to educate people who have questions about anything and everything fitness: Training, Nutrition, Recovery, and PED's.
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