Why Do Drugs Cause Skin Problems?
Drug addiction damages the entire body. Drugs don’t just destroy your brain capacity and harm your organs, they do a number on your skin as well. We don’t often think of our skin as an organ, but it’s just as vital an organ as any.
Drug abuse damages our skin in a variety of ways that all combine together. The toxicity of the drug is bad enough, but the side effects of certain drugs don’t help. Intravenous drug use ruptures and damages our veins, and the excessive scratching that results from drugs such as opiates don’t do us any favors.
There are many signs that drug abuse is affecting your skin. For example, cocaine reduces blood supply to the cells in our body, particularly our skin cells. If your skin is unable to obtain the vitamins and nutrients that it needs, it is going to look pretty bad.
The skin can become inflamed and pasty looking. The lack of oxygen and blood supply in your skin will result in it not being able to heal as quickly. This will help speed up the aging process significantly.
When you’re a drug addict, not a whole lot matters beyond the drugs themselves. Your personal care and hygiene take a back seat. When you do not regularly shower, it allows bacteria to fester on your skin.
This can eventually lead to chronic skin conditions. Many drugs are also known to cause you to overheat, which makes you produce more sweat. The purpose of your sweating is to get rid of toxic byproducts in the body. If you’re constantly sweating, those byproducts are going right back in.
The lifestyle associated with drug addiction does not leave much room for healthy living. Drug addicts are more likely to eat poorly and or not eat at all.
Drugs such as cocaine and meth remove your appetite, and also make you stay awake longer. The body needs sleep in order to function correctly. If you don’t sleep for days on end, you begin to hallucinate and literally start dreaming while you are still awake.
How Drugs Ruin Your Skin
The result of intravenous heroin use on the skin is even more glaring. Constantly injecting drugs into the veins can cause what are known as track marks, also known as venous sclerosis. This can cause abscesses and skin infections that if left untreated can-do long-term damage.
Repeatedly injecting into the same vein can lead to the tissue becoming necrotic, which can eventually lead to the amputation of limbs.
There is also the issue of drug addiction and your skin complexion. Drug induced pigmentation can occur, which results in dark spots throughout your skin. The color of your skin can also change and become paler and greyer looking.
Prolonged drug use can also result in sunken eyes and an overall gaunt appearance. It’s not difficult for someone who knows nothing about drugs to be able to spot a drug addict. The eyes don’t lie.
Scarring and sores from drug use are common all over the body. Drugs like methamphetamine can cause severe itching and make you scratch yourself raw.
We’ve all heard of the stereotype of drug addicts thinking there are bugs crawling under their skin, but it’s actually not that far from the truth. Skin picking from drug addiction can leave a lasting effect and lead to a variety of skin problems. Long term drug abuse can also result in acne and other sores.
You can develop severe acne from drug abuse even if you’ve never had issues with it in the past.
Alcohol is another substance that greatly affects the skin. Abusing alcohol can cause hyperpigmentation and result in the development of abnormal growths similar to those of drug addicts. Swollen veins are also a common result of alcohol abuse.
These are known as spider angiomas because they have a centralized redness with spider-like legs that stretch outward. Jaundice is another common symptom of alcoholism, which results in yellowing of the skin.
The Effects Of Drug Abuse On The Mouth
Just like the effects of drugs on the skin, they can be equally as bad for your oral health. Many drugs cause dry mouth, which results when you are not producing enough saliva.
Saliva acts as a natural cleaning agent for your teeth and helps prevent the development of bacteria. When you aren’t producing enough saliva, your teeth are defenseless.
Drug abuse also greatly affects the lips and gums as well. Drugs such as crack cocaine or methamphetamine can cause blisters and sores on the lips. Because most drugs are commonly ingested through the mouth or nose, it opens you up to all sorts of oral complications.
Smoking drugs can lead to infections such as MRSA, which is spread through the sharing of pipes or snorting straws.
As far as stimulants go, there is the issue of tooth grinding and jaw clenching. This is an involuntary impulse that is almost impossible to control. The constant grinding of your teeth, which are already weakened by the acidic contents of the drugs, causes the teeth to become brittle and break.
If you’ve ever had an abscess tooth, you know how bad it hurts. Imagine having a mouthful of broken, destroyed teeth that all need to be pulled.
Are the effects of drugs on your skin reversible? Sometimes, but not always. When it comes to your mouth, oftentimes teeth need to be pulled and replaced artificially. The skin is a little bit more forgiving.
Drugs have a variety of different effects on your skin, but some of these effects will go away if you quit using drugs. To put it simply, if you get sober, you have a great chance of getting your life back as well as your appearance.