It is possible to repair your skin health in sobriety. In fact, staying sober will allow you to improve your skin health, in addition to your overall well-being.
It’s fair to say that addiction1 is a powerful disease. Thus, it inevitably comes with a long list of detrimental health consequences.
A person on the road to recovery must frequently deal with internal health issues. Often, the heart, liver, and even lungs can incur damage due to extensive substance abuse.
That being said, the largest organ the human body possesses 2 is actually the skin. Addiction takes a significant toll on a person’s skin over time, just as it does on other organs. Fortunately, there are ways to regain skin health in sobriety. Read on to learn about solutions for your skin health in sobriety.
How Addiction Can Affect Your Skin
Addiction-related skin damage differs in type and extent based on the drug or drugs in question.
No matter what addiction is under question, some noticeable and common skin conditions occur across the board as toxins build throughout the body. These include but aren’t limited to:
- Excessive wrinkles
- Chapped lips
- Dry skin
- Skin infection
While these skin conditions happen from a breakdown of cellular functions due to alcohol or drug use, there are other factors to consider, as well. A common symptom of addiction is a lack of focus on personal hygiene.
As a person’s attention becomes laser-focused on fulfilling their cravings for a substance, other daily and basic life duties fade into insignificance. Over time, a fundamental lack of care for the skin can exacerbate addiction-related skin conditions, too.
Drug Addiction and Skin Health
For example, when a person uses methamphetamines, blood vessels constrict, sometimes to the point of collapse. Collapsed blood vessels can no longer carry vital nutrients to the skin. As a result, a methamphetamine user’s skin may begin to develop sores, uneven pigmentation, and a dehydrated texture.
Alcohol Addiction and Skin Health
Individuals who suffer from alcoholism have issues with their blood vessels, too, just in a different way. Alcohol works as a vasodilator, meaning it widens vessels, particularly those carrying blood and nutrients to the face. The result is more blood flow to the skin, which produces a temporarily red, irritated appearance.
Over time, distended blood vessels tend to burst. The result is an unnaturally red complexion that’s often most noticeable across the nose.
Strategies to Regain Skin Health in Sobriety
People in recovery need actionable plans to work on their skin health while getting their lives back under control. Here are some strategies for regaining skin health in sobriety:
Taking active steps to regain skin health in sobriety often starts with a healthy diet. Balanced nutrition is key to getting skin to look and feel healthy again.
A whole-food-based diet filled with essential fatty acids is key to healing damaged skin cells. Diets that include poultry and fish, bananas, blueberries, vegetables, and whole-grain pasta will simultaneously improve digestion and nutrient absorption.
People who are actively addicted to drugs or alcohol usually suffer mineral and vitamin deficiencies. These levels drop for a few reasons. Firstly, nutrition falls by the wayside during active addiction. Secondly, the body works overtime to fight the excess toxins in the body. That’s why, for many in recovery, increasing daily vitamin intake is essential. Vitamin supplements are critical for skin health in sobriety.
In many cases, those in recovery will be advised to supplement their whole-food diet with vitamins B, C, and D. Both zinc and magnesium supplements can help restore volume to the skin’s surface, as well.
Topical Solutions to Regain Skin Health in Sobriety
Treating the skin topically is just as important as improving nutrition for regaining skin health in recovery. Several types of herbal oils have been shown to help improve skin texture and tone.
Diluted lavender oil can prove highly useful in hydrating the surface of the skin. As a bonus, it’s associated with a calming effect which can boost the body’s response to healing.
Aloe Vera gel is an excellent option for those recovering from addiction and left with dry, flaky skin too. Additionally, you can use calendula to reduce overall redness thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
In many ways, regaining skin health in sobriety means getting back to the basics. Some damage done to the skin due to substance abuse may be irreversible, but that doesn’t mean it has to get worse.
Taking simple steps to incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine is a good start. Protecting the skin you’re in from harsh elements like UV rays while you simultaneously heal internally can provide some drastic improvements over time.
Sometimes, skin improvements are more aesthetic. Recovering addicts left with track marks may want to consider covering them with inspiration tattoos instead. This way, the skin is a canvas of potential for the future instead of a reminder of the past.
Moving Forward from Addiction
It’s no secret that addiction leaves scars, both literally and figuratively. However, at Ocean Hills Recovery, we believe in everybody’s right to move forward in life towards a brighter future!
When you’re ready to tackle your addiction and take back the life you love, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about our many programs and services.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.