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Earlier this week paparazzi photos surfaced online that appeared to show pop singer Justin Bieber suffering from a severe case of acne. His shocking appearance led some observers to assume his skin condition was caused by an addiction to methamphetamines.

Methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, is a popular party drug that is usually smoked through a small glass pipe. Users also swallow it, snort it, or inject it into a vein.

Meth Face

By now you’ve seen the before and after “meth face” mugshots released by the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon that shows the ravaging facial effects of crystal meth.

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According to, crystal meth can drastically alter a drug user’s facial appearance through the physical and psychological side effects of the drug.

Methamphetamine is a toxin that the body tries to get rid of by pushing it through the pores in the face, causing severe acne and skin infections. Skin infections take longer to heal because methamphetamine delays the body’s ability to heal itself.

Sores and facial scarring occur when meth users scratch or pick at the facial sores due to the drug’s effects that causes a sensory illusion of bugs crawling under their skin.

Meth Mouth

According to the American Dental Association, “meth mouth” is caused by a combination of drug’s effects that leads to dental decay and tooth loss.

Addicts suffer dental decay and tooth loss from the effects of xerostomia (dry mouth), poor oral hygiene, and bruxism (teeth grinding). The effects are most severe in people who inject the drug.

Legal Requirements for Sale of Pseudoephedrine, Ephedrine

Methamphetamine is considered the world’s most dangerous drug. It is a man-made drug that is mixed with common, over-the-counter cold medicines containing ephedrine (Primatene) or pseudoephedrine (Sudafed). Common nasal decongestants like Sudafed are kept under lock and key behind the counter in all drug stores by law.

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 law, which took effect on September 30, 2006:

  • limits the monthly amount of pseudoephedrine any individual can purchase
  • requires individuals to present photo ID to purchase pseudoephedrines
  • requires retailers to keep personal information on file for at least 2 years


    Meth users should seek treatment as soon as possible to reverse the harmful effects of the drug before the damage is permanent.

    This has been your Medical Minute.

    Copyright Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the photograph(s) used in this post. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance of copyrighted photos is made for “fair use” for purposes such as parody, criticism, commentary, news reporting, education, and research.