If you’ve ever seen a drug user with heroin sores on their face or body, there’s a reason — hard drugs are terrible for skin.
The bad news is that drugs, in general, seem to take a horrible toll on skin with near immediate results including skin lesions, limited circulation, and even heroin sores. The good news, however, is that within days, months, and years of drug use (and abuse), beauty can be regained.
One former heroin addict, a brave 24 year old, took to the internet to show the incredible difference in her skin and overall beauty from the 826 days of sobriety she achieved. The before and after pics, posted to Reddit by DisregardThisOrDont, are pretty powerful. The first photo (below), shows her June 2014 police mugshot with heroin sores, scabs, and a listless stare.
“The major harm that illegal drug use (i.e. heroine, methamphetamine, cocaine) can do to your skin is that they all constrict the blood vessels throughout the dermis,” explains dermatologist S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, CEO and Founder of Miami Skin Institute. “Not only does constricting the blood supply give the skin a gray, unhealthy pallor, over the course of weeks and months, it significantly limits the amounts of nutrients and antioxidants that reach the skin surface, so the skin cannot even utilize its own mechanisms to repair and restore DNA damage from the sun and other external factors.”
If all the other effects of hard drug use weren’t enough — this might be the icing on the never-even-try-it cake.
The now totally sober women from the photos (she chose to remain unnamed) shared, “After eight months of daily use and a few half assed attempts at getting clean, I told the judge preceding over the guardianship case of my daughter that I had been using and that I needed help.”
She went on to describe her journey to sobriety as an “uphill battle” that now “feels like a bad dream” and wanted to share her before and after photos, heroin sores and all, to encourage other addicts to make a major lifestyle change, fast.
“There are other addicts out there who are in the same circle of hell that I was in in that mug shot. So even if one of those people see this and get their shit together, then it was worth it.”
Dr. Jegasothy adds that, “Stopping these harmful habits can restore normal blood flow to the skin in as little as one month, for someone in their 20’s or 30’s. If you are older than 40, it may take up to 6 months to restore proper blood flow, and habitual drug users over 60 may not ever achieve normal blood flow to the skin again.”
Moral of the story? Don’t do drugs.
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