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What Are Meth Sores?

Meth sores can form on your chest, skin, mouth, or arm when meth is continuously. Read on to learn more.

What Are Meth Sores?

Methamphetamine (meth) is a synthetic and highly addictive stimulant. Meth sores are a part of the side effects associated with continuously or frequently using meth. If you notice meth sores appearing on your body or the body of a loved one, it might be a sign they have a substance abuse disorder.

One expected aspect of meth addiction is meth sores. These sores are open wounds that may form on various parts of the body, including hands, mouth area, chest, and arms. Using meth occasionally does not cause meth sores; however, consistent meth use results in meth sores.[1]

meth sores

How Do Meth Sores Form?

Meth sores form in various ways depending on how one uses the substance. How someone uses meth also determines where these sores will form. For instance, face and mouth sores may result from injecting meth into the bloodstream. 

When someone injects dissolved meth into the bloodstream, it becomes water-soluble and escapes the body as sweat. When the skin’s pores sweat and secretes an oil, it develops into sores. The meth-laden sweating irritates the skin and results in meth sores.

Secondly, scratching or picking the skin from meth’s effects can cause sores. Lastly, smoking crystal meth through a pipe can cause blisters to develop into open wounds. The tube heats up and burns the lips and skin around the mouth. This is also known as drug-triggered itching and contributes to why meth sores form on the body.

Why Do Meth Sores Form?

Meth sores may form as either drug-triggered itching, hallucination-induced scratching, or limited blood flow that causes acne. These sores often result from burns from meth smoking, infection, continuous skin irritation and picking, weakened immune system, and lack of personal hygiene. 


Hallucination-induced scratching leads to meth sores also. Meth can cause hallucinations of bugs living under the skin, which are commonly known as "meth mites.” The hallucinations cause one to have a strong crawling sensation or see bugs crawling under the skin. The result is a continuous itching and scratching that lead to irritated skin and open sores.

Limited Blood Flow

Limited blood flow to the body due to meth abuse may lead to scratching and eventually open sores. Continuous use of meth leads to blood flow restriction through the blood vessels. The lack of oxygen and healthy blood flow causes the skin to become very scaly and dry. These patches become itchy, and when scratched, they turn into meth sores.

How is Meth Used?

One can use meth in various ways, including snorting, injecting, smoking, ingestion, or taking pills. Meth appears in "ice" form or as crystal meth in the form of blue-white rocks. People can smoke the hydrochloride salt of meth without having to add something else to it or change its state.

Meth Consumption

Most people smoke meth using a glass pipe known as a "flute." Apart from meth sores appearing around the mouth, people can also develop corroded teeth, gums, and a dry mouth. Users can dissolve powdered meth and inject it into their bloodstream as well. Additionally, people can snort meth powder. However, snorting meth can damage the sinus cavities and cause a chronic runny nose, and continued use might even lead to a hole being worn into the septum.

Origin of Meth

Meth was produced initially for medical purposes and was given in pill form. Patients can still take meth in this way, either with homemade pills, manufactured pills, or other means of ingesting the drug.

What Do Meth Sores Look Like?

Meth sores are often mistaken for acne because they mostly form on the face of users. These sores appear as open, inflamed, and red flesh wounds that may have a scabby appearance as they heal. In the beginning, they look like small bites but can become large open sores with persistent scratching and itching, especially when they are irritated or infected.

What Are the Side Effects of Meth Abuse?

Meth use has both long-term and short-term side effects. While some can be mild, others are severe and may even lead to death.

Short-term effects

Short-term effects include:

  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Higher blood pressure and body temperature
  • Irregular or increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Behavioral issues
  • Moodiness

Long-Term Side Effects

Long-term effects include:

  • Increased risk of contracting diseases
  • Poor judgment that can lead to dangerous situations
  • Worsening progression of HIV/AIDS
  • Severe tooth and gum decay (meth mouth)
  • Anxiety
  • General confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Meth psychosis
meth sores

Treatment for Meth Addiction at Genesis Recovery

Seek treatment at Genesis Recovery for any problem resulting from meth use. Some of the recovery treatment options for meth side effects are listed below.


This process gives you skills that help your body safely and slowly remove meth. Therapy also enables you to manage any withdrawal symptoms related to meth and help prevent future drug relapses. Detoxification typically takes place in the presence of mental health experts for the best outcomes.

12-Step Program

The 12-step program uses holistic principles that also non-religious individuals may find helpful. However, researchers find it challenging to discover the program's effectiveness due to the lack of formal research and anonymity.[2]

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Therapists use CBT to help patients face various problematic thoughts or feelings and overcome meth addiction. Apart from meth use disorder, CBT also helps treat post-traumatic disorder, eating disorders, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

Relapse Prevention Therapy (RPT)

RPT is a subsect of cognitive-behavioral therapy that helps patients to avoid future possibility of meth relapses. It enables them to gauge circumstances that can cause them to relapse and help patients develop various coping strategies intended for many different situations.[3]

Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

During comprehensive addiction treatment, mental health professionals identify various underlying problems that may have contributed to meth addiction. Some significant examples include behavioral disorders and childhood trauma. By identifying the underlying issues, patients can face their problems and work on them, also while treating substance abuse disorders.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

MAT involves using several drugs to help you reduce withdrawal symptoms like paranoia. Therapists combine it with other behavioral therapies to provide the best treatment results.[4]


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