Background: Anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) abuse by the athletes has dramatically increased during the recent decades. These substances might increase the skin lipids and enhance the cutaneous microbial proliferation.
Objectives: The current study aimed to investigate the potential side effects of AAS on the bacterial microflora colonization of the bodybuilders` skin.
Patients and methods: The skin samples of 94 male bodybuilders (71 AAS users, 23 non-AAS users) and 46 subjects of the control group, with similar gender and age, were cultured and incubated in both aerobic condition to isolate Staphylococcus aureus and anaerobic condition for Propionibacterium acnes. The isolated bacteria were identified by standard microbiological techniques.
Results: The skin lesions were more frequent in the body builders than the controls. Moreover, statistically significant differences were also observed in skin lesions among the AAS users and the non-AAS user athletes. The prevalence of S. aureus and P. acnes in the athletes was higher than that of the control group. In addition, there was a significant difference in distribution of P. acnes between the bodybuilders who used AAS and those who did not.
Conclusions: A higher number of bacterial flora was found in the bodybuilders particularly those using AAS in comparison to the controls, which might be due to the influence of these AAS on the skin microflora and transmission of the bacteria through the direct contact of the naked skin with the exercise instruments.
Keywords: Athletes; Drug Abusers; Staphylococcus aureus; cutaneous.