Examining a Drug Addict’s Face: What Drugs Do to Your Face

close up of what drugs do to your faceBesides a sudden change in behavior, you can sometimes recognize when someone is high or drunk just by looking at their face. For example, changes to the pupils or rosy skin are some immediate signs of drug use on the face that can be an easy tell. These changes typically go away as the drug wears off, but what about how drugs affect the face of someone who regularly abuses these substances?

What Do Drugs Do to Your Face?

An alcoholic’s and drug addict’s face may look drastically different from what it is supposed to. Over time, the toxins from these drugs can cause considerable damage to someone’s appearance that may not always be reversible.

Some potential effects of drugs on the face include:

  • Damage to the eyes
  • Sores/blemishes on the skin
  • Dental hygiene problems
  • Advanced aging
  • Changes to the nose

Damage to the Eyes

Depending on the substance being abuse, someone who is under the influence of drugs or alcohol may have pinpoint pupils, bloodshot eyes, or eyes that appear glossy, but over time, drug abuse can lead to more noticeable and lasting damage. Some long-term effects of drugs on the eyes may include dry eyes, glaucoma, eye infections, inflammation of the cornea, paralysis of the muscles around the eye, droopy eyelids, and even on rare occasions, vision problems or blindness.1

Sores/Blemishes to the Skin

Another noticeable effect of drugs on your face may include the presence of sores, blemishes, and scars. Methamphetamine in particular can be associated with hallucinations of bugs crawling on the user and cause that person to pick at their skin. The result can be a series of scars, sores, blisters, and other unsightly blemishes all over the body including the face. Sores on the face can also sometimes look like bad acne.2

Dental Hygiene Problems

Some drugs can cause problems to a person’s dental health and mouth. This damage may be a result of neglected oral hygiene or be directly from the drug itself. Some dental issues from drug abuse can include gum infections, mouth lesions, tooth decay, and tooth loss. Methamphetamine in particular can cause a large amount of severe damage that is collectively referred to as meth mouth.3

Advanced Aging

Another noticeable change to a drug addict’s face may be the appearance of false aging. Sunken eyes from drug abuse are a common problem as well as damage to the skin’s elasticity. The latter can cause wrinkles, and both can make someone appear much older than they actually are.4

Changes to the Nose

In some cases, substance abuse may even cause significant damage to the nose. Cocaine, an illicit drug often snorted through the nose, may lead to problems smelling, inflamed nasal passages, and even perforation of the nasal septum.3 Traditionally it was believed that heavy alcohol abuse may also lead to a condition known as rhinophyma that makes the nose appear red, bumpy, enlarged, and bulbous, but new research suggests this may not be the case.

Healing from & Treating the Effects of Drugs on Your Face

Although there is a lot of damage that drugs do to your face over time, some of this harm may be reversible if you take the right steps.

1.      Quit Abusing Drugs & Alcohol

If you don’t like what you look like when you do drugs, the first step is to quit abusing these substances. This can be challenging to do on your own, but there are plenty of different types of addiction treatment programs out there to help you.

2.      Develop a Skin Care Routine

In order to help your skin and face heal, you need to develop a skincare routine. Look for products that target your problem areas and use them regularly.

3.      Get Professional Help

When you sustain serious damage to your face from drugs or now have health problems, you likely cannot fix these issues on your own. Recruit the help of specialists such as dentists or dermatologists. They will be able to direct you concerning the next steps and help you manage your expectations for what can and cannot be healed.

At Rehabcenter.net, we understand that addiction is so much more than a chemical dependence. It includes a mess of other problems and issues that you probably don’t know how to navigate. Let us help. We offer an abundance of addiction information as well as treatment options to help you get started. Contact us today to learn more.

1. NCBI - Illicit Drugs

2. NCBI - Methamphetamine

3. NCBI - Oral Health of Drug Abusers

4. NCBI - Impact of Smoking

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