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The Ugly Side of Addiction – What Addiction Does to Your Appearance

The Ugly Side of Addiction – What Addiction Does to Your Appearance

Believe it or not, your skin is actually an organ of your body. And just like your liver, brain, and other organs, it can be damaged by drugs and alcohol.

Many users struggle with hair, teeth, and skin problems from addiction and the longer a person is using, the worse these problems will be. While the effects of drug and alcohol abuse on the skeletal and nervous system are understood, many people are unaware of what drug abuse does to the skin. We explore the truth about what addiction does to your appearance and share tips on recovering your appearance after getting sober.

What Drug Abuse Does to the Skin

Drug abuse skin problems are linked to many substances including heroin and meth. These drugs are associated with open sores on the skin, often caused by picking during intoxication or withdrawal stages. Other drugs are also associated with skin problems, including drugs that are injected.1 Common skin problems from addiction include:

  • Skin infections at injection sites
  • Scabs or sores that won’t heal
  • Pick marks
  • Rashes
  • Wounds that spread

What Alcoholism Does to the Skin

Alcoholism is also associated with skin problems of its own. Alcoholism is associated with dry skin that can cause alcoholics to look more aged and it can also cause increased flushing of the blood vessels in the skin. Alcoholism causes skin problems like rashes, psoriasis, and rosacea.2 Alcoholism is also linked to porphyria cutanea tarda, a skin condition related to liver damage in which irritation, scabs, and sores appear in sun-exposed areas of the skin.

What Addiction and Alcoholism Do to Teeth

When considering what addiction does to your appearance, the skin isn’t the only area damaged by drug and alcohol use. Many users also experience dental issues stemming from their addiction and alcoholism. Addiction dental problems include meth mouth, dryness, dental decay, and tooth loss.

Self-Care in Sobriety for Improved Appearance

After getting sober, many people get back on track with their skin and dental care in sobriety. Many of the effects of addiction on appearance can be reversed with better hygiene and regular visits to the dentist or doctor.

Contact our team at Banyan Heartland today to begin reclaiming your appearance with our alcoholism, addiction, and meth addiction treatment in Gilman. Call 888-280-4763 to begin reclaiming your appearance and sobriety.


  1. NCBI - Emerging and Underrecognized Complications of Illicit Drug Use
  2. PubMed - Skin diseases in alcoholics.
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
The Ugly Side of Addiction – What Addiction Does to Your Appearance
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