Kirill Tereshin from Pyatigorsk, Russia, proudly paraded the painful-looking results of the injections Saturday, a technique used by some bodybuilders to help them bulk up.
The slender 21-year-old’s disproportionately bulging biceps measure 64cm (2ft) in circumference and are a somewhat disturbing shade of purple. Tereshin says the discoloration is a temporary side-effect, and that he built up his biceps after a month of injections.
Stretch marks frame the biceps, which were achieved through a series of injections using a drug called ‘synthol,’ a blend of mostly oil (85 percent), painkillers and alcohol, according to the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).
Synthol, a legal drug in Russia, is seen by some bodybuilding enthusiasts as a better alternative to steroids, and can be injected into calves, quads, pecs and other muscle groups.
Some of the risks attached to synthol use include nerve damage, skin problems, oil-filled cysts, muscle damage and the development of scar tissue, according to a 2015 research article in the Journal of Health Psychology.