Substance Abuse and Its Effect on Appearance

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We know the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol on the body. This also includes the physical appearance. Misuse and addiction can create visibly noticeable changes on the face and body. For instance, methamphetamine use can quickly deteriorate appearance. The face and body may have ‘meth sores’ from picking and scratching, sunken eyes, dull skin, emaciated appearance from lack of appetite, and dental problems. All this creates a much older appearance.

Substance abuse can wreak havoc on your appearance. Some other ways drugs can affect the complexion of skin include:

  • Acne
  • Rashes
  • Wrinkling
  • Dry, chapped skin

Other than their toxicity to the body, long-term drug and alcohol misuse cause dehydration and nutritional deficiencies. Thirsty, malnourished skin looks tired, dull, and prematurely older. Not exactly the combination we want for our appearance. Fortunately, when substance abuse stops, much of the damage reverses.

8 Tips for Improving the Appearance of the Skin

While we can’t escape the effects of the natural aging process, we can put a stop to premature aging caused by substance abuse. The following are ways you can help reverse physical damage from drug or alcohol addiction.

Healthy diet

Drugs and alcohol can zap essential nutrients from the body. Without these nutrients, appearance suffers. Substance abuse can also decrease appetite and, sometimes, cause significant weight loss, leading to a loss of elasticity in the skin, giving a loose, sagging appearance.

A well-balanced diet can help bring the body and skin back to optimum condition. If trying to gain some pounds, include extra helpings of good fats found in vegetables and oils. Olive or nut oil drizzled over vegetables and grains can add healthful calories and glow to the skin.

Daily vitamins

While ideal to get your vitamins from foods, it’s not always possible to get everything we need in one day. If you feel your diet is lacking or want an extra push to compensate from nutrient loss, a daily multi-vitamin may be just what you need.

Visit any store, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of vitamins on the shelf. Ideally, choose a brand with safe levels of vitamins and minerals and third-party tested.

Skincare routine

Design a skincare routine you like and can stick with. You can keep it simple or go all out. Retail stores carry complete kits that can help get started. Depending on specific skin concerns, add a blemish cream, eye gel, or anti-aging cream.

Dental hygiene

Substance abuse and dental issues go hand in hand. Things like dry mouth, teeth clenching, and poor dental hygiene cause a host of problems like tooth decay, cracked teeth, and tooth loss.

Brush twice daily with toothpaste. Add in mouthwash if you like that extra fresh zing. And don’t forget to floss. If unchecked issues are present, schedule a visit with the dentist. And while it may be embarrassing, remember that’s their job and they’ve seen it all.

Regular exercise

Exercise helps reverse the signs of aging. It increases blood flow and delivers oxygen and nutrients to the skin. This helps skin cell turnover and promotes collagen production, which gives skin its youthful appearance.

If going for a run or other outdoor exercise, don’t forget the sunscreen. After exercise, cleanse the skin to avoid clogged pores and breakouts.

Restful sleep

Poor sleep can cause swollen, droopy eyelids, dark under-eye circles, and more fine lines and wrinkles. It’s recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep helps the inside and outside of the body repair itself. While we sleep, the increased blood flow helps skin cells regenerate. This plumps the skin and minimizes the look of wrinkles and sagging.

There is some truth to getting your ‘beauty sleep’. And not only for our appearance, sleep can help keep our mind focused, stay productive, and tackle challenges that may come our way.

Stay sober

One of the best ways you can take care of your skin and appearance is to stay sober. Avoiding harmful substances can help your skin repair, heal, and naturally reverse many of the effects caused by substance abuse.

Professional Help for Better Health and Appearance

Pura Vida outpatient treatment program helps men and women struggling with substance abuse and addiction. To learn about our evidence-based treatment program, speak to our dedicated staff.