Infection Obsessive Picking Burns Acne Immune System

Deconstructing The Damage

Open sores. Just the sound of it is revolting. But they are a common trait of methamphetamine users.

Roll over areas of the face to see why

A combination of poor hygiene, the
toxins from the drug escaping through
the pores, and restricted blood flow
can result in severe breakouts.
Users who smoke Meth often have burns
on their lips and around their mouths
because of overheated pipes and hot
smoke touching their skin.
Immune System
Methamphetamine suppresses killer
T cells, white blood cells that fight off
germs, viruses, and bacteria. Users are
more susceptible to getting infections,
viruses, and fungi, which may manifest as
sores on the skin.
Meth cuts off a healthy flow of blood to
the skin, so open sores take longer to
heal and become infected more easily.
Obsessive Picking
Meth users often scratch and dig at their
faces and arms. This is because methamph-
etamine causes hallucinations that make
users believe there are bugs crawling on
or under the skin. In their deluded states
they obsessively try to pick them out.
Radio Illustration
Radio Illustration

What is formication?

  • Unprotected sex
  • The feeling of bugs crawling under the skin
  • A sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • Synthetic material used in countertops
  • Extreme acne

Methamphetamine can cause hallucinations and delusional thoughts. In the case of formication, Meth users experience tactile hallucinations that cause the false sensation of bugs crawling under their skin. They will obsessively scratch and pick at these imaginary insects leaving their face and body riddled with open sores.



  • A bacterial infection of the skin that can cause fever, chills, and shaking. Methamphetamine users can get infections like this from picking at their skin. If left untreated, cellulitis can lead to blood poisoning and heart valve infection.

  • Medical term for the often-cited tactile hallucination that makes Meth users think there are insects crawling under their skin. Formication may sometimes cause itchiness, tingling, pins and needles, burning, or even pain. Under Your Skin

  • This strain of staph bacteria has been referred to as a “superbug” because it can cause an infection that is resistant to a range of anitbiotics. MRSA skin and soft tissue infections cause bumps or boils that progress into deep, painful abscesses that may ooze pus or other fluids. Meth users have a higher incidence of this MRSA due to a number of behaviorial factors including frequently picking and scratching at their skin. Physical Damage

  • Cuts and open wounds that secrete blood and other liquids for extended periods of time. Methamphetamine users get weeping sores because Meth weakens the body’s ability to heal, and because of users’ obsessive picking of their skin, not allowing the sores to heal.

    Weeping Sores