Treating the Physical Scars of Crystal Meth Addiction and Heroin Addiction in Recovery
A scar is a permanent growth of tissue that occurs when an open cut, scrape, burn or wound heals. You can get scars from just about any injury, and those who live with an active addiction to drugs like crystal meth and heroin are more likely to have scars for a number of different reasons. Some different causes include:
- Injection sites. Using needles regularly, especially in the same spot over and over, can cause scarring.
- Abscesses. It’s not uncommon for needles to be used during addiction, and dirty needles or injection sites that aren’t cleaned or cared for properly can easily cause or develop into abscesses. These puss-filled wounds can create some pretty nasty scars when they heal.
- Picking. It’s a common side effect of those on stimulant drugs like crystal meth. Many patients report that they feel as if bugs are under their skin, and pick and scratch their arms, legs and face. As a result, serious scars can develop as the scabs heal.
Many recovering crystal meth and heroin addicts with scars associated with their addiction are extremely self-conscious about the issue. Many feel that it marks them in a negative way and have problems interacting socially as a result – both issues can lead to relapse.
So how do you treat scars incurred during addiction? What’s the best way to get rid of them – and can you?
Factors Affecting Scar Treatment
Treatment for your scars will depend upon how they occurred, how old they are, your genetic predisposition to the development of scar tissue, your age and the location of the scar on your body. In some cases, you may be able to lighten your scars if they are colored or allow them to fade naturally over time. Surgical measures, laser treatments and dermabrasion treatments may be the only way to diminish large or bulky skin deposits. In other cases, chemical peels and certain creams can be effective in reducing the appearance of scars or lightening dark spots.
Do Over-the-Counter Scar Treatments Work?
There has been no one single product approved by the FDA or universally supported by medical professionals as a universally effective treatment for scars caused by needle usage, abscesses or “picking” during addiction. The problem with over-the-counter treatments or spa methods is that they are expensive and can take multiple applications or months of application several times a day to see even minimal changes.
Home Remedies for Scars
Aromatherapists say that the most effective treatment for scars is the use of oils three times a day for three to six months when the patient has had the scar for a long period of time. Many books on the subject recommend using Vitamin E oil in addition to other oils like bergamot, patchouli, rosemary, sandalwood, lavender, juniper, geranium and more. Warming the oils combined with Vitamin E oil in a warm water bath before application can increase absorption into the skin.
Have scars affected your drug addiction recovery? What treatments have worked for you?