You’ve heard the horror stories of how drugs can affect your health and your appearance so some of this information might sound familiar and some might be surprising. The fact is, drugs take a severe toll on our appearance. Here are 5 drugs that can make you UGLY. And y’all, this ain’t a pretty sight.
Just like there’s a term for meth users, meth mouth (see #4), a 1985 study came up with the term to describe the appearance of smokers, smoker’s face, to describe certain facial characteristics caused by smoking, such as wrinkles, gauntness, and a gray appearance of the skin.
Did you know that smoking cigarettes makes you four times as likely as nonsmokers to experience poor sleep on a regular basis? According to a Johns Hopkins study, smokers get less rest, which leads to baggy, puffy eyes with dark circles under them.
Although it’s an inheritable autoimmune disorder, psoriasis – a scaly skin condition – affects more smokers than non-smokers.
According to a 2007 study, if you smoke a pack a day for 10 years or less, your risk of psoriasis goes up 20%; 11-20 years and your risk is 60% higher; and for those who pass the 20 year mark, the psoriasis risk more than doubles. Cigarette smoke is so potent that even secondhand smoke during pregnancy or childhood is linked to a higher risk.
You’ve probably heard it tons of time: smoking causes winkles. Well, experts agree that smoking accelerates aging to the point that, on average, smokers look 1.4 years older than nonsmokers. The reason for this is that smoking impedes the blood supply that keeps skin tissue looking supple and healthy.
Experts think that, due to the toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, DNA in our hair follicles can actually be damaged, leading to thinner hair that tends to go gray sooner than nonsmokers, and increased risk of hair loss, altogether.
In fact, men who smoke are about twice as likely to lose their hair as nonsmokers, (taking into account age and genetic factors, according to a 2007 study in Taiwan).
Alcohol causes broken capillaries, the smallest of a body’s blood vessels that aid with circulation, irritating and enlarging the ones on the surface of your eyes, causing a “bloodshot” appearance. Overtime, this can lead to serious eye problems and even result in permanent blindness.
Just like causing broken capillaries in the eye, drinking alcohol affects the capillaries in other parts of the face, mainly the cheeks and nose, causing redness and pustules. This is a skin condition known as rosacea and drinking alcohol is one of the main causes of it. People who abuse alcohol but who don’t have the disorder can still run the risk of developing unwanted, permanent redness. Alcohol not only increases blood flow and dilates those tiny blood vessels that are closest to the outer layer of your skin, it sometimes does it in such volume that they burst, resulting in unsightly and sometimes permanent broken capillaries on the face.
Just as alcohol dehydrates your skin it also dehydrates your hair. Dry hair means weak hair and weak or brittle hair is more prone to split ends. Excessive alcohol use can also cause a zinc deficiency in the body, which has been shown to cause hair loss.
Nose (see image at top)
The “cocaine nose job” as it’s called, is a horrible consequence of repeated cocaine insufflation (snorting). After repeated and prolonged use in this manner, coke causes a loss of blood supply to the septum (the thin dividing wall between your nostrils). When this becomes damaged, it causes an erosion of the septum that can leave a gaping hole between the two nostrils. Since the septum acts as an integral part of supporting the bridge of the nose, when it becomes weak and damaged, the bridge of the nose actually collapses. This is a pretty terrible sight and leaves the faces of cocaine users with a “pushed-in” look.
Cocaine and crack have the tendency to cause hallucinations and psychosis. Heavy coke users often experience the feeling of bugs, called ‘cocaine bugs’ or ‘snow bugs,’ crawling under their skin. Some users describe the sensation of cocaine bugs as biting, burning or itching, which causes them to scratch, pick, and dig at their skin until it bleeds. Many cocaine users have sores, scratches, and scars as a result.
The infamous coke bloat – the uneven puffiness that is characteristic of the faces of cocaine addicts, is yet another way that drugs can make you ugly. Although cocaine often leads to extreme weight loss, coke users have a disproportionately large face due to the puffy bloating that the drug causes.
#4. Crystal meth
Meth abuse causes the destruction of tissues and blood vessels, which keeps the body form being able to repair itself. Meth causes acne and the skin loses its luster and elasticity, making meth users appear years, even decades older. Because of psychosis and hallucinations like that of cocaine users, meth heads also gouge at their own skin, causing sores take longer to heal and that result in visible scars.
Meth users often neglect their nutritional needs as well as their personal hygiene, leading to other ways it can make you ugly.
Tooth clenching and grinding combined with poor or total lack thereof, oral hygiene results in tooth decay and loss. This tendency of meth users has led to yet another slang term, meth mouth, which is used to describe the characteristic mouths of meth users. Essentially, meth mouth refers to a meth addict’s broken, stained and rotting teeth but, that’s really an understatement. It’s pretty effing disgusting.
Heroin users have pallid complexions that are even more noticeable by the contrasting black circles under their eyes. Heroin and other opiates, like prescription painkillers have the tendency to cause extreme itching and therefore, like other types of drug users, heroin addicts also often have scratches, sores, acne, and scars from picking at their skin. The heroin abuser’s face is gaunt and drawn; pale yet spotty from picking. , picking/scarring, vacant eyes
Heroin causes extreme weight loss because it suppresses appetite and also because, in order to support their habit, heroin users often forego buying food and eating it. A telltale sign of a heroin addict is that they are extremely underweight, to the point that they look as if they’re suffering starvation, with bones jutting out.
If you are struggling with one or more of the drugs on this list, or substances that weren’t mentioned, or if you know someone who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, there is help available. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak directly with an Addiction Specialist day or night with questions and for resources. We’re here to help and you are not alone.