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How Does Meth Affect the Skin?

Methamphetamine, also called meth, is harmful to the skin due to its toxic nature. The effects of meth on the skin are intense and can lead to permanent damage. Those wondering how meth affects the skin will notice prolonged meth use can lead to an array of skin-related issues. Often people begin hallucinating after days of meth use and begin seeing or feeling like there are bugs on the skin. This leads to picking the skin, creating sores.

Skin and scab picking can lead to open wounds, and inevitably infection. The dangers of skin conditions caused by methamphetamines can lead to long-term health conditions. Despite this, receiving help for addiction to meth as soon as possible can help to prevent the worsening of complications from skin conditions that may occur. 

What Does Meth Do to The Skin?

The effects of meth on the skin can be severe and very noticeable. Using meth for any given amount of time can cause severe damage and noticeable changes to a person’s skin. A common effect of meth on the skin is meth mites. This causes itching and scratching the skin until wounds and open sores form, often leading to infection within the wounds.

Open sores, scabbing, and scars can occur as a result of prolonged meth abuse. It can also lead to loss of collagen and skin elasticity. This leads to premature aging, skin sagging, and dull complexion. The way the drug affects the immune system also leads to the development of acne. Methamphetamine restricts blood flow, which results in a gray and pale complexion in its users. These effects on the skin can be visible signs of meth abuse.

Meth Scarring and Skin Damage

Because of the effects of meth, the skin can become damaged, leading to scarring in those who scratch and itch themselves due to perceived meth mites or other delusions. Because nature of the drug, users often feel like there are bugs crawling under the skin, leading to picking until there are open sores. The effects of meth on the skin can make healing these wounds complicated, resulting in scarring and damage to the skin’s healing process. Wound care is often necessary to clean out, and disinfect these open sores on the skin.

Wound Botulisms

Meth abuse increases the risks of developing a rare and often serious condition known as wound botulism. Using contaminated needles to inject meth can lead to bacteria forming on the skin, which in turn results in contamination of the injection site. This bacteria causes botulisms, which affect the nervous system. Botulism causes muscle weakness, difficulty swallowing, blurred vision and issues with the respiratory system. Leaving wound botulisms untreated can lead to paralysis and potentially death.


Skin abscesses are painful, pus-filled sores. These can develop on the skin as a result of prolonged meth abuse by injecting or through skin picking. Users who inject the drug intravenously or under the skin are extremely susceptible to developing abscesses. Contaminated needles are mainly what lead meth users to develop these harmful skin sores. They often require medical intervention to treat, and if left untreated abscesses can lead to life-threatening complications.

Collapsed Nerves and Nerve Damage

The effects of meth on the skin also include collapsed nerves and nerve damage. This can result in a range of neurological complications. Because meth affects the central nervous system, it can lead to excess releases of neurotransmitters, which can damage nerve cells. This can lead to inflammation in the nerves, neuropathy and compression of the nerves. Symptoms like nerve pain, tingling, numbness, and muscle weakness can occur.

Wound from Delusions

Due to the delusions that meth causes, it can lead to visual hallucinations such as bugs crawling on or under the skin. Again, this leads to picking and scratching the skin, resulting in open wounds that can become infected. The infection can enter the bloodstream if left untreated, resulting in health complications. These wounds could have problems healing, and leave scars that can be dark and cause future discomfort.

How Wound Care and Detox Help

Wound care is available at Brentwood Springs. Cleaning and disinfecting these meth wounds on the skin is necessary to promote healing. Detox helps to remove the toxic substances from the system and allows healing to begin. As the drug is removed, the body can begin to heal. Wound care helps to keep the open sores clean, and allows them to heal with minimal pain and discomfort, as well as attempting to prevent scarring from occurring. 

Get Hands-On Care for Meth Addiction in Tennessee

Struggling with meth addiction can affect a person mentally and physically. Meth can lead to delusions, and it can also lead to damage to a person’s skin. It can lead to sores forming, nerve damage, and infections. Those addicted to meth have hope though, there is help available. At Brentwood Springs, we offer help to those who need it most. Our comprehensive, personalized care can help someone who is addicted to meth fight the addiction and begin to gain control of their life back.

Call us today and begin utilizing the resources available to combat addiction to meth.

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