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It may not come as a surprise that cocaine is not good for you. It impacts every system of the body, as well as the psyche, the family, employment, and the community at large. But one subject that is not talked about much when it comes to the detriments of cocaine use is its impact on the skin. While some of the diseases or conditions that may come with cocaine use depend on how it is put into the body, smoked, inhaled, etc., one thing that is clear is that it can irreparably harm or destroy the skin.

One thing that comes from the use of cocaine is called acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis. This is the creation of small, raised blisters on the skin that contain pus. It is often referred to as Rice Krispie skin, due to the size, shape, and amount of blisters that will appear all over the body.

An issue that arises for people that snort cocaine is that it destroys the inner lining of the nasal passages, and it will eat away at the septum separating the nostrils, eventually destroying it. This will often need to be repaired surgically, as it will interfere with a person’s ability to smell and breath, and the struggle to breath may be life-threatening in some situations.

Discoloration of the skin will come from a variety of conditions that are caused by chronic cocaine use. The skin can turn red, black, or even white, and this is just a symptom of much worse conditions, like inflamed and burst blood vessels, or even more dangerous, a form of necrosis, meaning the skin itself is dying.

Another issue that can affect the skin is Stevens-Johnsons syndrome. In this syndrome, the dermis, or upper layer of skin separates from the next layer, the dermal layer of skin. This is a dangerous condition that requires immediate hospitalization for treatment, as cell death of the skin is imminent. It is preceded by flu-like symptoms, rashes, blisters, or a purple coloring of the skin.

And perhaps one of the more disgusting, and deadly, possibilities, is that cocaine use can cause the skin to rot. The vast majority of cocaine coming in to the country is contaminated with a medication that can cause a dangerously low white blood cell count, which will eventually lead to the skin dying, giving it blackish coloring and rotting smell.

What most do not realize is that the skin is actually the body’s largest organ, and cocaine use, even occasional use, is an assault on one of the most important organs of the body. Any attack on the skin puts the whole body at risk, with rotting skin, open sores, and the inability of the skin to get the nutrients and oxygen it needs, this could all lead to disability and death.

Blisters, sores, discoloration, and rotting skin. These are just some of the possible impacts on the skin when a person uses cocaine. And while they may be treatable, the scars will be there for a lifetime.