What It Means When Your Skin Breaks Out During Treatment

There’s a long list of physical symptoms which accompany early recovery. Early recovery is the beginning months of someone’s sober life, usually going from day one to about eighteen months to two years. During the first two years of recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, there are ongoing physical changes. Weight loss, weight gain, change in physique, and more can happen. The early phases of recovery are a healing phase for the body. Years of toxins, abuse, and neglect are being filtered through the system. Some people suffer as their body tries to restabilize. Others find a natural homeostasis. In the midst of these physical changes are emotional changes as well. Though there is a wealth of gratitude, joy, and celebration to be had each day spent sober, there is also a lot of stress, pain, grief, shame, and guilt. Processing difficult emotions can lead to more physical symptoms as manifestation. A time of great vulnerability and often insecurity, one of the last things men and women in treatment want to deal with is acne.

These are some of the early recovery behaviors which can contribute to a breakout of acne during treatment:

  • Exhaustion: detox and withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can often mean losing out on quality sleep. Getting used to new medications, learning to sleep without drugs and alcohol, dealing with restlessness, irritability, low energy, and low dopamine levels can all contribute to exhaustion.
  • Dairy And Sugar: ice cream, sweets, candy, chocolates, treats, comfort foods- dairy and sugar can quickly find their way into an early recovery diet. Some treatment centers are strict on what is available in clients’ diets while others let clients eat what they feel they need to because a candy bar is usually better than drugs. However, the brain reacts to sugar like it reacts to drugs. While it is trying to cleanse itself and the body, dairy and sugar can be toxic, causing a skin breakout.
  • Poor Hygiene: when you’re lacking in energy, depressed, unmotivated, and tired, it can be hard to inspire yourself to shower, brush your teeth, and wash your face. Poor hygiene means poor skin health and poor skin health can lead to skin breakouts like acne.

Coping With Acne

Making sure to balance diet, exercise, and hygiene are good ways to maintain skin health during treatment. If acne comes, realize that it is likely going to be passing. Everything in your body is changing right now and the acne is just one way for your body to cope. Use natural remedies and avoid obsessing. You have a major focus right now and that is staying sober. If your acne during treatment is causing you to feel insecure and causing cravings to relapse, make sure to talk to your therapist, lifecoach, mentor, or sponsor.


LEAD Recovery Center promotes wellness through a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Our clients are shown how to take care of themselves in practical and clinically founded ways. For information on our extended care treatment programs, call us today at 1-800-380-0012.