Does Cocaine Use Cause Acne Breakouts?

Question from a reader: Does cocaine cause acne?

Using cocaine use can certainly lead to acne. In fact, given the variety of ways that cocaine can trigger acne, it would be surprising if cocaine use didn’t lead to some breakouts.

Cocaine use goes hand in hand with staying up all night and a disrupted sleep cycle. Sleep deprivation is known to aggravate acne. Additionally, cocaine stimulates the central nervous system. This causes the adrenal glands to produce cortisol, a steroid hormone created in response stress. There are several studies that directly link stress, cortisol, and acne.

An often-cited side effect of cocaine is ‘picking’, the act of neurotically digging at one’s own skin. Although this is unlikely to cause acne on its own, it can aggravate existing acne and lead to permanent scarring.

This page, which features very limited content about using cocaine, is actually the most popular page on this entire site. A lot of people research the connection between acne and cocaine, which is a clear signal that one exists.

Please use the space below to tell us about your experiences with cocaine and acne.

2 Responses to “Does Cocaine Use Cause Acne Breakouts?”

  1. Annemarie 05. Feb, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    A common misperception about “picking” from using cocaine is that users pick because they feel like bugs are crawling on them or something is irritating the skin, while in all reality – nothing is there. Based on my personal assumption of the situation prior to using drugs, I thought the same thing. After becoming an active user of cocaine amongst other drugs, my pre-use assumption proved wrong when I experienced picking for myself. After consuming cocaine, while under the influence, I become very well focused in, and very concentrated. I would sit in front of the mirror for hours, examining my face for even the slightest bit of acne or black heads and i would dig into my face to pop zits and black heads and it was making it worse than before. Cocaine throws off depth perception, time, senses, etc, and I would use extreme force and pressure squeezing at my face and picking my skin to open up pores and squeeze whatever out of it. (you’d be surprised how much crap is clogged up in your pores thats barely visable) While squeezing to get the barely noticeable grease and gunk out of my pores, It was causing me to bleed and the pressure causing more lacerations. However, because of the effects of the cocaine, it causes your mind to see past the damage you’re causing your face in creating new wounds, because you’re already focused in and so concentrated on popping zits. Afterwards, you’re left with a face full of scabs, new zits and black heads caused by the dirt and oils from your fingers while touching your face, and cuts from digging your nails into your face to pick off the skin over your pimple so its easier to squeeze the crap out of your pores. Nobody wins.

  2. Stacy 27. Aug, 2014 at 9:20 am #

    I can also attest to the above entry. I never used drugs until roughly four years ago when my boyfriend turned me on to coke. I was 36, in great shape, pretty face, great skin. He however, would sit propped up on the sink with his face inches from the mirror popping blackheads and digging in his face, then move onto his stomach or arms and would use tweezers. This would gross me out. I’d really get bugged when id get out of the shower and he’d try to start in on my back our shoulders and saying things like “oh my god, let me get that blackhead; it’s huge!” Then he’d come at me with sharp nails and start picking and digging and leave a nasty red mark or yucky looking area and I wouldn’t be able to wear sleeveless shirts. Once he turned me into it I continued to use up until two months ago. I’m with the same guy and I can tell you that using is very connected to bad skin. eventualIy i would find myself digging in my face, making marks, getting little red bumps on my neck. … it sucks. Also recently I just had my nose fixed because I was blowing my nose so much and huge bloody scabs would come out. After visiting an Ears Nose Throat specialist, it turns out I had a huge hole in my septum and I was actually blowing out scabs that would form around the cartledge that was deteriorating and if I didn’t fix it I could get what’s called ‘saddle nose ‘. Once you google pics of it, it could scare anyone into quitting. That was two months ago I got it fixed. It was my wakeup call. I’m two months clean. Coke will also turn any mild social drinker into a closet alcoholic. I can drink vodka from the bottle and a lot of it and “still feel sober”though I’d be trashed. I’d lose momentum, be late to work. .. and if you didn’t know, booze is also bad for your skin and complexion. Look at those big red noses on recovered alcoholics. Quit if you can, you need to tell yourself you’re better than this shit.

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