The Impact of Drugs on Your Skin

Our skin is the first thing a person notices when they look at us. Since we were children, we have all had very complicated relationships with our skin. We were constantly worrying about blemishes, acne, hair growth, and other natural processes that happen to our bodies. As we get older, we experience other skin issues like fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots that we constantly try to cover up. Our self-esteem is directly related to our skin and how it appears to ourselves and others. So if we have low self-esteem, we might practice unhealthy habits and neglect taking care of ourselves and our skin. Then, when we notice imperfections in our skin, our self-esteem gets even lower. So how can we break this cycle and encourage healthy habits?


Skin: The Most Vital Organ

If you’ve ever seen someone who heavily abuses an illicit drug, you may have noticed that they have some skin imperfections like blisters or sores. And if you’ve experienced addiction yourself or have witnessed someone suffering from addiction, it’s likely that you’ve seen how drastically drugs can change a person’s appearance. Abusing drugs will not only change your weight, but it may even change how the skin, the most important and largest organ on your body, looks and operates.


What Drug Abuse Does to the Skin

As you most likely already know, drug abuse can cause many physical and mental health complications. While mental health side effects are more difficult to identify, some physical side effects might be obvious just by looking at someone’s face or skin. It is likely that, eventually, all people who experience drug abuse will show the evidence on their skin in some way. In some cases, the state of someone’s skin and their complexion may be a sign of some even more severe health complications.

It is common knowledge that drugs can negatively affect a person’s bladder, stomach, kidneys, and liver. However, abuse may have the greatest impact on the skin. Individuals with a long history of drug abuse may even endure permanent facial marks or scars. So what is this close connection between drug abuse and skin imperfections, and what does the correlation mean?

Depending on the drug they use, individuals with abuse disorders will experience different skin-related symptoms. Drugs can have a large impact on the skin in many ways, including:

  • Inflammation – Prescription medications and injectable drugs alike may cause the skin to become red, irritated, itchy, and extremely dry. Rashes and large breakouts may form.
  • Acne – Someone who has never had acne before may develop it when they begin using drugs. If someone has already had acne, substance abuse will make it worse. This may be because using drugs causes individuals to touch their faces more frequently.
  • Color – If someone uses multiple substances for an extended period of time, the skin on their face may become pale, washed-out, or gray.
  • Oral Problems – Some drugs, like meth for example, may cause lip swelling, gum inflammation, tooth loss, tooth decay, and cracked or dry skin around the mouth.
  • Scarring & Sores – When some drug users have hallucinations, they may claw or pick at the skin on their arms or face. This can result in open sores and scarring.


Taking Care of & Repairing Your Skin

Unfortunately, skin changes due to drug abuse are pretty drastic and happen rather quickly. While it may be impossible to reverse these changes, there are ways to take care of your skin and prevent further damage. The most obvious way is by not using illicit drugs, especially in high doses. You can also take care of your skin by practicing healthy habits daily like drinking plenty of water, practicing a skincare routine, having a regular exercise routine, and eating a balanced diet. Implementing a simple skin routine can show substantial results over time. Doctors may be able to recommend another type of skin treatment to help dry out and eliminate blemishes or acne. If you are struggling with skin problems for any reason, talk to a dermatologist as soon as possible.


To learn more about the impact that drugs can have on skin & if you need treatment, contact our team of substance abuse representatives by calling 267.209.7312.