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Though it is most often consumed orally as an analgesic or pain killer, aspirin has many other uses. One of the lesser known uses for aspirin is as a topical acne treatment. While it was used by previous generations as one of the more common responses to minor breakouts, aspirin has largely been forgotten as an element of skin care. However, due to the pill’s remarkable qualities, it may still stand out today as one of the more effective acne remedies.
How to Use Aspirin Topically
In order to use aspirin most effectively against acne, individuals should use crushed aspirin tablets to create an aspirin mask. Begin by taking 8 to 10 uncoated aspirins and crushing them into a small bit of water. This creates a nice, gritty paste. If an individual has sensitive skin that is irritated by gritty exfoliants, a small bit of honey can smooth out the mixture. Using clean fingertips, the paste can then be applied in a light layer over the whole face using small circular motions. The mask can then be left on for five to 15 minutes before being washed off with warm water. Aspirin masks should only be applied once or twice a week to avoid over-exfoliation and irritation caused by the application.
Effectiveness of the Solution
Because aspirin is a natural anti-inflammatory, it works wonders at reducing the redness of most facial blemishes. It is also a gentle exfoliant as it removes dead skin that may clog pores and diminish the natural healthy glow of skin. After removing an aspirin mask, individuals may enjoy noticeably brighter and softer skin for a few days. Even by placing a small amount of the aspirin paste over blemishes and allowing the paste to dry, individuals will notice an immediate reduction in the amount of redness and swelling around the blemish.
How It Works
Aspirin is an acetylsalicylic acid. When applied topically, this acid serves to dry out the areas in and around blemishes, removing many of the oils and bacteria associated with acne. Also, because acetylsalicylic acid is an anti-inflammatory agent, as it is absorbed into the skin, it helps discourage white blood cells from so vigorously attacking bacteria build-ups in the pores. This allows much of the swelling to go down until the bacteria can be washed away.
Limitations to Aspirin
Individuals should only use 100% uncoated aspirin. The ingredients in most medical coatings can cause irritation on the skin. Likewise, using Advil or ibuprofen will fail to address any of the symptoms of acne. There are some concerns about using an aspirin mask too frequently as an acne treatment. Because it works so effectively to dry out blemishes, it can also upset the pH balance and moisture of the overall skin of the face. Individuals should always follow up aspirin masks with liberal application of a moisturizer.
Aspirin was used frequently at the beginning of the 20th century as a reliable and consistent acne treatment. Though there are a number of other treatment options available today, aspirin masks continue to be a successful way to deal with the unsightly redness and swelling of acne related blemishes.