The Ugly Truth: How Drugs Impact Your Appearance

We’ve all seen the images of celebrities just before they’re thrust into rehab. Suffering from addiction, they live their life in the spotlight, the paparazzi capturing every low moment as they stumble out of nightclubs and months later into a clinic. Their physical appearance deteriorating each week.

It’s a sad snapshot of someone’s life who’s battling addiction, and one of the stark reminders exactly what addiction can do. The human’s physical appearance when hooked on drugs is just one part of it, with financial, societal, family and underlying health problems all part of it.

When it comes to judging the book by the cover, though, there’s a real ugly truth to what drugs can do.

Whether you’re a regular consumer of cannabis, suffering from cocaine addiction or have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, drugs can have a large impact on how you look. And in a number of areas too…


One of the most notable areas is the skin. Our skin gives us our youth and healthy looking glow and pretty much any kind of drug abuse will diminish that. The effects substances can have on the skin are plentiful and not only are acne and wrinkles a result of such abuse, but also the skin can also show some more severe health implications.

The likes of meth can also cause severe skin issues,  and even lead to parasites crawling under the skin. Among the more common ways the skin will suffer due to drug abuse, include:

  • Rashes
  • Dry skin
  • Slower-healing wounds
  • Uneven skin tone
  • Scars
  • Chapped lips
  • Dark spots
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Meth can also have a huge impact on the hair, as well as cocaine, adderall, steroids and alcohol. First and foremost, hair loss is one of the larger symptoms of substance use and abuse, while dry skin in the hair can lead to scabs and flakey skin in your hair.

The health of hair will also suffer dramatically. Hair will be left dry and dull due to substance abuse.


The mouth can be affected in a number of ways, with different substances leading to different issues with the mouth and teeth. Dental hygiene can really suffer, with the following among the more common:

  • Alcohol: Booze can impact tooth and gum health, with more acidic kinds of alcohol such as wine also leading to erosion in your teeth.
  • Stimulants: The likes of meth and cocaine can lead to dramatic changes in your mouth. Sores will develop, your teeth will decay and smell and taste will also alter. Extreme cases may also see perforations of the nasal septum and palate which can lead to serious health problems.
  • Cannabis: This drug has been found to have connections with oral cancer, as well as contributing to dry mouth and bad breath, as well as infections in the gums.
  • Opiates: You’ll find tooth decay is at the heart of the damage that can be done with drugs such as heroin as it reduces saliva production. This can damage the sense of taste as well as lead to eating issues.
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