Skin effects associated with methamphetamine

Author: Dr Diana Purvis, Dermatology Registrar, Green Lane Hospital, Auckland, New Zealand, 2008.


What is methamphetamine?

The amphetamines are stimulant medications.

Methamphetamine may be used as a drug of abuse. Street names for methamphetamine include: meth, crystal meth, speed, pure, ice, crank, glass and P.

Skin effects of methamphetamine use

Methamphetamine may cause side effects including skin problems.

  • Grayish leathery texture to the skin
  • Increased sweating
  • Repetitive or compulsive skin picking causing excoriations and ulcers.
  • Increased dental wear and decay.

Rarely, allergic reactions have been reported.

As with other drugs of abuse which are injected intravenously or subcutaneously, soft tissue infections (cellulitis) related to methamphetamine use are the most frequent cause of hospital presentation.

Skin picking due to methamphetamine

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