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What are Meth Sores and How Do You Get Rid of Them?

Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant that is often referred to as crystal meth, ice, tina, or meth. While it is available by prescription under the brand name Desoxyn to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), most people abusing meth are buying an illicit form of the drug off of the street.[1] Meth abuse can lead to a variety of long-term health issues, including meth mouth, mental health issues, and even changes to your brain structure.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 2.5 million people reported abusing meth in 2021.[2]

When binging on meth, you stay up for long hours or even days at a time. This can cause hallucinations that imaginary bugs are crawling under your skin–a phenomenon known as “meth mites.”

Meth mites can cause you to scratch or pick at your skin. As a result, you will develop open sores on parts of your body that are nicknamed “meth sores.” If you are experiencing meth sores, you should perform regular wound care, see a doctor, and consider professional addiction treatment.

In this article, you will learn:

  • What meth sores are
  • What methamphetamine sores look like
  • How to get rid of meth wounds caused by picking at the skin
  • Why professional treatment is important for overcoming meth addiction

What Causes Meth Sores?

Two main causes play a role in the development of sores or scabs on the skin from meth use. First, meth intoxication can cause hallucinations known as “meth mites.” Meth mites occur when you believe that bugs are crawling under your skin, which is a type of tactile hallucination known as dysesthesia.[3]

These crawling sensations can cause compulsive picking and scratching at the skin, leading to open wounds that people refer to as meth sores. Research has proven that at least 43% of meth addicts experience hallucinations like meth mites.[4]

The other reason you develop sores while you are high on meth is because meth is water-soluble.[5] As a result, you will sweat out meth toxins that are released onto your skin. Since it is common to have poor hygiene and a weakened immune system when you are addicted to meth, these toxins often lead to blemishes and sores.

What Do Meth Sores Look Like?

Abusing meth increases the risk of a variety of health concerns, including sores and open wounds on the skin.

Lesions on the face caused by meth abuse are typically red and inflamed patches on the skin. They might be crusty or have pus oozing out of them. While it is common for them to appear on the face, you might find meth sores on someone’s arms, legs, chest, and other areas of the body.

Meth sores can progress as time goes on if you do not seek medical treatment. Since poor hygiene is common when you suffer from meth addiction, they might become infected as well. While meth sores start as small, inflamed spots, they can progress into abscesses or systemic infections and cover large areas of the body.

How Do You Get Rid of Meth Sores?

Addressing meth sores involves proper wound care, treatment from a medical professional, and overcoming addiction to prevent them from returning. If you are struggling with frequent meth sores, you should seek treatment for meth addiction.

Some key considerations for getting rid of meth sores include:

Wound Care

As soon as you notice meth wounds developing, you should begin proper at-home care. Maintaining personal hygiene and cleaning the area will prevent you from developing an infection. It can be helpful to use anti-bacterial creams and bandages if the meth sore is an open wound.

Medical Treatment

If you are dealing with severe or multiple meth sores, you should seek medical treatment from a healthcare professional. Treatment is especially important if the area around the wound is inflamed, red, excreting pus, or feels warm, as these are signs of infection.

Addiction Support

While wound care and medical treatment can resolve existing meth sores, they will return if you continue using meth.

Signs of meth addiction include continuing to use it despite facing health concerns, which include the development of meth sores. Additionally, the effects of meth do not stop at scabs on the face, you could develop long-term physical and mental health issues without receiving addiction care.

At an addiction treatment center, you will receive medical detox, evidence-based therapies, and relapse prevention planning to help you achieve long-term sobriety. During these programs, you will address the root causes of your addiction to prevent you from returning to meth abuse. In other words, receiving addiction treatment will stop meth sores from returning for good.

Find Help for Meth Abuse and Addiction

If you or a loved one suffers from meth addiction, it’s time to seek professional help. Meth sores are not the only risk of long-term meth abuse, as you could do significant damage to your immune system, vital organs, and brain. Thankfully, addiction treatment centers will help you overcome meth addiction and treat any health concerns caused by your substance abuse.

At the Mandala Healing Center, we use an evidence-based approach to recovery from meth addiction. You will receive medically assisted detox, behavioral therapies, peer support, and relapse prevention planning to ensure you achieve long-lasting sobriety.

Contact us today for more information on our meth addiction treatment program.


  1. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA): Methamphetamine
  2. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): What is the scope of methamphetamine use in the United States
  3. Neurocutaneous disease: Neurocutaneous dysesthesias
  4. Methamphetamine-associated psychosis: Clinical presentation, biological basis, and treatment options
  5. Excretion of Methamphetamine and Amphetamine in Human Sweat Following Controlled Oral Methamphetamine Administration