Most people know about the effects of drug and alcohol abuse on brain chemistry, but they may not know its detrimental impact on other human bodies. The human body’s biggest organ is the skin, which covers everything exposed to the elements and beyond. Prolonged drug abuse causes skin problems, such as drug sores and identifiable wounds, that develop for various abuse-related reasons. Common drugs that cause injuries include heroin, meth, and other street drugs.
If you suffer from substance addiction, and your abuse has started affecting your skin, reach out for help today. We have trained professionals standing by to assist you in establishing a recovery process and, in turn, clearing up your skin of all signs of abuse. Call 385-327-7418 today to receive life-changing advice.
Drugs Affect All Major Body Systems
People who suffer from drug addiction often have other health issues that arise when abusing drugs. This can include problems with their skin, heart, and lung disease. Drug abuse can lead to developing a disorder that causes strokes, various cancers, and mental illnesses. People can find out if they have these issues by undergoing chest x-rays and various drug tests. This can reveal the long-term damage done to your body.
The skin is the largest organ in the body, and its design is to take a lot of damage. Sun tanning is an example of skin damage, as well as lacerations and body piercings. While these skin injuries have become widely understood in society, outside of a few harmful stereotypes, the harm caused by street drugs and the related skin problems may not be.
Drugs that cause skin problems are ubiquitous, and it’s not just a few that can damage the largest organ of your body. Almost all drugs have a detrimental effect on skin quality, including street drugs that cause acne. That is why drug addicts in pop culture have many pimples and sores; it’s a reflection of what can happen to you.
The Skin and Alcoholism
While not widely known, alcohol abuse can cause similar drug abuse skin problems. Hyperpigmentation, which refers to dark patches or spots on the skin, can result from overconsumption of alcohol. Alcoholism can also cause hives for various reasons, and it can cause the skin to develop abnormal protruding growths, which can look almost identical to the effects of street drugs that cause acne.
Irregular cell growth in the skin of the mouth and esophagus is also caused by alcoholism, leading to large growths or the development of drug sores. Adverse abnormalities of the skin due to alcoholism is in about 43% of men and 33% of women who abuse alcohol. Alcohol is a part of the drugs that cause skin problems.
Spider angiomas, or swollen vessels below the skin’s surface, are also a common skin problem caused by alcoholism. These usually have a centralized red spot with reddish tendrils extending from it that’s reminiscent of a spider web.
Jaundice is probably one of the most harmful effects that the skin can undergo due to an overconsumption of alcohol. It describes the yellowing of the skin caused by a malfunction of the liver. The liver doesn’t process red blood cells correctly and allows a component of dead red blood cells to remain in circulation.
Jaundice builds up in the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes, causing yellowing of your appearance. While jaundice itself isn’t deadly, it is considered a symptom of severe liver dysfunction. It is often during liver diseases caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Cannabis Addiction and Your Skin
Chronic overconsumption of cannabis can cause a problem, even though most people believe that cannabis is not addictive. While it’s true that cannabis does not cause severe physical addiction, it can cause a deep level of psychological dependence, and its overuse can cause drug abuse skin problems.
Cannabis arteritis is a drug abuse skin problem caused by excessive use of pot regardless if it’s smoked or consumed orally. This is an uncommon blood vessel disease resulting from the swelling of shallow blood vessels in the skin. The swelling leads to blood clots.
Because blood clots impede blood flow, the clots formed by cannabis abuse can lead to necrosis. Necrosis, in this context, refers to the death of tissue and other cells that do not receive their proper blood supply. Amputation can result if this necrosis is not dealt with appropriately. This makes cannabis one of the drugs that cause skin problems. Young men fall under the category of the most susceptible to this disease. However, it can develop in anyone that habitually uses a large amount of marijuana.
Cannabis uses sometimes have burns on their fingers from their pipe’s “carb,” causing a drug sore. It is especially prevalent on the thumbs of people who use hash or other processed cannabis products. This is due to excessive heat buildup while exposing the drug to a flame. Then, while the thumb rests over the air intake hole next to the bowl of the pipe containing the pot, the spot that rests over the hole can become discolored and hard, which sometimes results in a blister.
How Cocaine Abuse Affects the Skin
Cocaine abuse similarly causes blood clots to marijuana use, leading to skin necrosis due to cell and tissue death. The drug can also cause painful rashes because it has a wide variety of unidentified chemicals. It is to create more bulk upon purchase and cause an allergic reaction to those different substances. This puts you at risk of developing drug sores.
Sometimes cocaine is cut with levamisole, which is a standard dewormer for livestock. Exposure to this dewormer causes a syndrome in humans most easily identified by skin lesions and immunodeficiencies. This leaves users with bumps that look like acne caused by street drugs. These skin lesions feel extremely painful and look like a purplish rash that may have a necrotic center. While they can occur anywhere on the body, they appear most commonly on the face, extremities, and ears. About 70% of the cocaine that makes it to the United States has levamisole in it, so most cocaine abusers get exposed to it.
Crack is Cocaine
Crack is cocaine that has undergone a chemical cooking process to create opaque rocks. People will then sell it at a higher cost than powdered cocaine. It is much more potent than cocaine, which increases its addictive qualities. Crack is placed in a small glass pipe, with the rock in a bulbous piece of glass. A flame or torch gets held against the bulb for a prolonged period. It produced smoke that people suck out of the other end of the glass pipe.
Crack use dries out the skin, making it one of the leading drugs that cause skin problems. People that do crack will have an ashy appearance, which eventually leads to an overproduction of oil on the skin. This results in pimples, which makes crack one of the leading street drugs that cause acne.
Users of crack often have what is known as “crack hands.” The pipe’s heat burns the user’s fingers and leaves blackened lesions where it came in contact with the skin. These burns often look circular or linear, usually located on the dominant hand used to hold the pipe in place during consumption.
Skin and Methamphetamines
When imagining drug sores, most people think of the skin problems faced by methamphetamine abusers. Meth is well known as a drug that causes skin problems. It is the street drug that causes acne in most people who use it regularly.
All stimulants cause the skin to dry out, including meth, cocaine, and crack. However, meth causes the driest skin out of the three listed drugs. The artificial skin drying causes the skin to go into hyperdrive. It produces excess oil, which leads to drug-induced acne.
While on methamphetamines, obsession with skin abnormalities occurs. Meth users methodically dig and pick at their skin, causing massive drug sores. These sores do not get a chance to heal in habitual users since users continue to pick at the spot again and rip off the scab.
Additional Effects on Skin
Some meth users think they have bugs or tubular structures under their skin as well. They destroy their skin in an attempt to pull out these imagined foreign objects. Because meth use controls the immune system, the skin takes longer to heal. This causes the sores to become vast and weepy. This obsession, combined with a weakened immune system, makes meth one of the top drugs that cause skin problems.
The smoke involved in meth inhalation destroys the gums and causes them to recede. This results in sunken teeth and tooth loss. As part of the body’s skin system, gums become more sensitive than external skin even though it has protection in the oral cavity.
Meth use also causes the skin’s dulling and a splotchy appearance as the body uses excess vitamins to metabolize the methamphetamines, which deprive the skin of oxygen. This is why meth users tend to look ghostly or pale.
Intravenous Drug Use and Skin Damage
The most common reason for drug-induced hospitalization is a result of infections resulting from injections. Unsanitary needles are often reused and shared, which puts the user at risk for a myriad of skin infections and other drug abuse skin problems that can cause the tissue to deteriorate rapidly.
Wound botulism is severe but common among drug users injecting substances. It causes some of the most famous drug sores. Clostridium Botulinum enters the open wounds at the injection site and creates a toxin that attacks the body’s nerves. This toxin can impair breathing, cause muscle weakness, and can quickly become deadly. Botulism is the most common reason for “track marks,” which is the painful discoloration of the veins used for injection. In society, people understand where these track marks come from. This makes any drug that’s injected one of the drugs that cause recognizable skin problems.
While there is an antitoxin available to stop botulism, there is no way to reverse the damage you have already done to yourself. It can take several weeks or months of hospitalization to end the detrimental effects of wound botulism ultimately.
Some users avoid some of the risks of intravenous drug use by participating in “skin popping.” This method requires the user to inject drugs, usually cocaine, opiates, or barbiturates, under the top layer of skin, forming a bubble. Gradually, the system absorbed the drugs, reducing the risk of overdose and prolonging the high. While it is an easier way to do drugs, the popped site can turn into a massive drug sore if the drugs do not absorb fast enough.
Heroin users or those injecting a large number of drugs cannot do skin popping as the prolonged presence of their drug of choice will cause quick skin necrosis and infection. Some users addicted to drugs and cannot wait for the drugs to travel up their extremities turn to mainline their drug of choice.
Mainlining involves tapping a vein near the brain, so the drug almost immediately affects brain chemistry. However, the tissues of the neck and chest are not as resilient as the extremities. Mainlining then causes lesions and tracks on parts of the body resulting in not easily hidden marks like that of the arms or legs.
If you have resorted to mainlining drugs to achieve a high, it’s time to seek help immediately. Call our experts today now to find out how to start healing yourself.
Save Your Skin by Seeking Help
It’s hard to hide your drug use that causes skin problems because the skin is so visible. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and is usually the first thing people notice when they see you. Almost all drugs cause drug abuse skin problems, including changes in color, acne, and rashes.
Street drugs that cause acne are especially famous as most people associate excess pimples and the resulting drug sores with substance abuse. Even alcohol causes drug abuse skin problems, which will affect your appearance dramatically, the farther you sink into alcoholism.
It is possible to seek help with your abuse before it affects your skin quality. Talk to trained professionals now about derailing your addictive behavior. By dialing 385-327-7418 now, you will get immediate advice on starting the rehabilitation process. Seek help before your addiction results in more drug sores and drug abuse skin problems.
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