Top 7 Signs of Steroid Use
29 Sep

Top 7 Signs of Steroid Use

Steroid use (especially among guys) is much more common than people realize. But, you’ll never find someone admitting to steroid use. This could be due to many different reasons, including the fear of judgment or the social stigma that revolves around the subject. This, however, in no way implies that using steroids is bad. As a matter of fact, these products can offer many benefits. They help improve stamina, muscle growth, testosterone levels and bring many other positive changes to the body.

Coming back to how to know if a person uses steroids or not, fortunately, here we have 8 clear signs that you can use to identify whether or not that big guy at your gym, (who by the way denies using any steroids), used some “assistance”.

The Gains Timeline

Now, a gains timeline is the way a person’s body is transformed over the years. The timeline for a guy who uses steroids is completely different from the one who doesn’t. Gaining one pound a week is a great achievement for a moderately experienced lifter. He can gain somewhere around 20 lbs. as a newbie, but after that, he'll pretty much stay the same size.

On the other hand, the numbers are very different for a steroid user. After their newbie gains, they stay the same size for a while. Then suddenly, they'll blow up and gain 30-40 lbs. in just a few months. So, if you notice that in someone around you, they're most probably on steroids, even if they deny doing so. 


Taking steroids increases your testosterone levels significantly. What most people don’t know is that it also increases estrogen (female sex hormone) levels in your body. Due to the high estrogen levels, breast tissue starts to form under a man's pecs and makes them look all swollen, kind of like a woman's boobs. Not a pretty sight, huh? To avoid that, many people use anti-estrogens, but fighting against the defense mechanism of your own body can have a very detrimental effect.

Bear in mind that having a gyno does not always mean steroid use. Many teenagers suffer from the condition due to natural hormonal imbalances during puberty. But, if you know someone who’s a bodybuilder, is jacked, and has gynecomastia, they are most probably using steroids to gain that extra muscle mass.

Bloated Gut

Have you ever seen a guy with a pregnant belly look, despite having all those muscles and veins popping right out of his body? That is what is termed the HGH gut. Human growth hormone (HGH) consumption increases the size of tissues and organs in your body.

One of these organs includes the intestines in your stomach. Bodybuilders use it to make their bodies look monstrous for the modern-day judges who reward bodybuilders for their “massthetics”. Even though HGH isn’t technically a steroid, per se, it can certainly be a good bet that the person using it might as well be into steroids.

Excessive Muscle Mass and Vascularity

Many steroid users have those gigantic muscles, clearly too big for their bone structure. Massive forearms on tiny wrists to the point that they look photoshopped. This isn't often seen in guys who get their gains naturally. They also have very prominent veins. Steroids reduce collagen production, which makes their skin thinner. Hence, causing those veins to pop out. Although it is a great sign, few bodybuilders with rare genetics can have awesome vascularity, naturally.


Firstly, note that not every person with acne is on steroids. But, acne is common in the ones who are. What steroids do is stimulate the sebaceous glands which in turn increases the production of sebum. This waxy substance clogs the pores, resulting in an acne breakout. Some users may not experience this at all because of their naturally low amounts of sebum.

Flushed Skin

Steroids cause your LDL cholesterol levels to rise which increases blood pressure. Consequently, your skin may appear to be reddish. It is important to remember that some of the guys naturally have that flushed look, but if you see sudden changes in someone's skin who has gained a ton of muscle, fast, then they are most likely on an anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) cycle.

Stretch Marks

Gaining large amounts of muscle mass in a relatively short period can cause surprising results. Stretch marks are one of them. Due to the less time, the skin doesn’t get much time to adjust to the sudden gains and leaves behind stretch marks on the biceps, chest, and arms. These may be permanent in some cases.

To summarize, the best way to spot steroid use is probably through the gains timeline. Observe the pictures of how the person has evolved through the years. And with the information you have now, it would be very easy to spot any use of steroids. Typical steroid users may display multiple signs amongst the ones listed above, which makes it very easy for you to spot them vs a natty lifter.

See Also: 

3 Major Types of Steroids Explained

Which Steroid is Safest to Use? The Answer You Have Been Looking for!

How Steroids Help Build Muscles – The Science Behind Steroids