Drug addiction harms the body, resulting in severe and long-term health issues. The state of your skin and the health of your complexion may indicate the presence of more severe problems. Drug abuse can leave its mark on your body, particularly if you’ve been passing through addiction for a long time.
Long-term drug use is well known to cause serious health problems in the body’s most essential organs, especially the liver, kidneys, bladder, and stomach. However, most people are unaware that drug abuse can have severe consequences for the body’s largest organ, the skin.
Your Skin has an Effect on Your Self-Esteem
Every morning, whenever you check yourself in the mirror, your skin is one of the first things most people notice about you, and it’s probably one of the first things you see about yourself as well. Bad skin tone, fine lines, and blemishes can severely weaken your self-confidence, so your skin health has a significant effect on your emotional and mental well-being. Skin that is unhealthy or damaged may also be a sign of deeper internal issues manifesting on the surface.
It’s obvious when your health isn’t good. Drug Abuse may not make a noticeable difference in your appearance at first, but it will eventually catch up with you. Your health and skin’s appearance may affect your self-esteem, as well as your interpersonal interaction and prospects. Your skin and complexion may be a sign that you’re dealing with more severe issues.
Drug abuse can leave its mark on your body, particularly if you’ve been passing through addiction for a long time. Addiction doesn’t take long to show up on the skin, and the effects can be shocking. Since substance abuse depletes essential nutrients and prevents you from taking care of your health and hygiene, someone with a drug addiction can look older than they are.
A Healthy Lifestyle Includes Having Healthy Skin
A wrong skincare routine, regular breakouts, age spots, fine lines, and other skin problems may be signs of an unhealthy lifestyle or even more severe dehydration or internal organ problems. Maintaining a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, having enough sleep, and exercising regularly will improve your overall health and, as a result, the quality of your skin. Good general health will also make you feel more at ease in your skin and provide you with more energy to get through the day.
While you won’t stop the aging process or prevent the inevitable outbreak, you can monitor skin damage and try to delay the signs of aging. Maintaining a routine will make you feel more secure in your skin and look better.
The Effects of Drug Abuse on Your Skin
The more medications you take, the more traces appear on your skin. Hyperpigmentation is known to be a condition in which the skin darkens in different places, most notably at the injection site. The skin on the face may become gray, pale, or washed-out after prolonged substance abuse periods.
Lip and gum skin may become inflamed and swollen, as well as cracked and dry. Tooth decay and possibly tooth loss are also common side effects of drug abuse. Drugs are harmful to the body, and methamphetamine, in particular, can cause’meth mouth,’ which affects the skin and the entire mouth.
Inflammation of the Skin
Drugs can cause redness, irritation, or itching, especially near the injection site. The skin will often break out in a rash or become incredibly dry. Irritation may be due to a combination of medications and prescription or illegal substance misuse. These side effects can be observed even when taking prescription medications under a doctor’s supervision.
If you already have acne, substance addiction will make it worse. Someone who has never had acne before can develop extreme acne if they become addicted to drugs. This may be linked to a greater propensity to touch one’s face while on drugs.
Scarring and Sores
Drug users can have hallucinations, such as the sensation of crawling insects beneath their skin. To alleviate these feelings, they can claw or pick at the skin on their face or body. This results in open sores or scarring. Injection drug users’ arms develop permanent marks, known as “needle tracks.”
Skin and Soft Tissue Infections (SSTI)
Since your immune system becomes weakened due to drug abuse, it is difficult for your body to combat infection. Infections of the skin can take a long time to heal, even getting worse. Many people who inject drugs with needles get infections at the entry point, which gets worse over time. Others notice the infections show forth and doesn’t heal.
What Drugs do to your Face in the Long Run
Although some drugs are more dangerous than others, a drug addict’s face may often show visible changes in appearance as well as cosmetic damage. The severity of which drugs impact your face becomes determined by several factors, including the drugs used, the addiction’s nature, drug experiences, the person’s health, and the person’s skincare routine and grooming habits.
Drugs may have the following effects on your face if you misuse them for a long time:
- Blood clots in the eyes or bloodshot eyes
- Eyelids that are droopy or retracted
- Eyes that have sunk
- Symptoms of aging
- Sores and blemishes on the skin
- Harm to the teeth and complications in the mouth
Bloodshot eyes are not unusual in drug users, but long-term neglect can result in permanent harm. These issues can spread to the eyelids and surrounding skin in some cases, resulting in even more visible changes in appearance. Sunken eyes, which are also a symbol of natural aging, can also make someone look older than they are. Wrinkles are caused by a loss of skin elasticity, which is also a significant contributor to the appearance of false aging.
Methamphetamine, in particular, can cause a slew of issues, and the damage it causes is often referred to as meth face. It is one of the most harmful substances to a person’s physical appearance, causing noticeable changes. Long-term meth users can appear much older, have notably poor dental health, and have open sores or acne-like blemishes due to picking their skin because of meth mites.
Examine the following symptoms of a bad complexion to see what your skin is trying to tell you:
Dry, Flaky Skin
Dehydration may manifest itself in the form of dry skin. Many medications make the body function harder to flush out toxins, resulting in dry, flaky skin. Flaking and dryness may be caused by illicit drug smoke. Blemishes, wounds, and slow healing are more common in dry skin.
Dark spots are often associated with age, but trauma and poor nutrition can also result in young people’s dark spots. Bruising and lasting skin marks may be caused by poor circulation, which is also a side effect of drug use. Neglecting personal hygiene will lead to a drug user spending too much time in the light, resulting in dark spots.
Chapped, Peeling Lips
Chapped lips may be caused by various factors, including smoking, poor oral hygiene, and the use of corrosive medications. Dehydration causes dry lips as a primary symptom.
Rashes may be the result of an allergic reaction, a severe medical condition, or a drug reaction. Irritation or a contagious infection may cause scaly or itchy skin. Any skin rash should be checked out by a doctor right away.
Skin wrinkles may be caused by sudden weight loss, smoking, or other environmental pollutants. Premature skin wrinkling may be caused by long-term drug use.
Blotches & Uneven Skin Tone
You may notice color changes in your skin, like spots and creases that were not present before, if you are malnourished, tired, or dehydrated. Many stimulants, such as cocaine, crack cocaine, and Ritalin, and opiates, such as heroin and pain relievers, can cause nutritional problems. In the later stages of addiction, the patient can fail to eat regular meals and nutrients, resulting in malnutrition.
Acne may be caused by bacterial buildup on the skin or a lack of hygiene.
Your physical state and mental health are more critical than your skin’s quality and condition. However, these may include telling signals that should not be overlooked. When drug and alcohol abuse affects your everyday life, those drugs take control of every aspect of your life.
How to Battle Drugs Side Effects on Your Face
The first step to reversing or minimizing substance addiction’s impact on your face is to avoid abusing them. The longer you use drugs, the more negative effects they have on your face, and the more difficult it is to reverse this harm. Although cosmetic assistance may result in minor changes, using these drugs would only worsen the situation. Professional rehab services will help you quit these medications for good, allowing you to make real change.
Drugs have various effects on your face, but once you’re sober, some of these effects can naturally fade. You can see a dermatologist if you want to speed up the process or have more serious cosmetic changes. The dermatologist may be able to prescribe or recommend medications or other things to help with rehabilitation. A consistent skincare regimen may be required to see results, but the effects may not be completely reversible in some situations.
By seeking treatment, you can avoid the visible before and after-effects of drug use on your face, as well as the other dangerous consequences that come with a substance abuse issue. Begin your road to sobriety today if you or someone you care about has a drug or alcohol addiction.
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Now is the Time to Seek Help for Drug Abuse
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- Laura, Stampler, “Here is a collection of images showing how drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and oxycodone change you over time.” Time. March 24, 2014.
- “Cocaine.” National Institute on Drug Abuse. June 2016.
- Francesca, Castagnoli, “Fix Your Top Composition Issues.” Health.com. October 29, 2013.
- NCBI – Illicit drugs: Effects on eye
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.