Acne can pop up for reasons ranging from hot weather that makes sweaty to hormonal surges to unexpected reactions to skin care products, but whatever the reason for your breakout, you're usually looking for the fastest way to make pimples disappear. Aspirin, a common medicine-cabinet ingredient, may be able to help you do just that.
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Aspirin is a type of drug known as a salicylate that treats pain, fever and inflammation by targeting the substances in your body that cause these symptoms, according to Drugs.com, an online drug and health information resource. A type of salicylate called salicylic acid is one of the most frequently used and recommended treatments for acne in milder over-the-counter formulations and more concentrated prescription treatments.
The salicylic acid in aspirin helps loosen dead skin cells to speed their shedding, clearing up the clogged pores that can cause acne, according to MedlinePlus, the online health information resource maintained by the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. Aspirin also reduces inflammation and redness, making breakouts less noticeable and less painful.
Aspirin can play a role in an acne treatment regimen, but the Mayo Clinic recommends using lifestyle measures too. Clean your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser, and avoid picking at or popping pimples, which can make the problem worse. If you're using aspirin to treat breakouts more than once or twice a month, consider making an appointment with a dermatologist, who can determine whether you might need additional intervention to treat your breakouts.
To use aspirin to treat a pimple, Reader'sDigest.com explains that you should crush an aspirin with the back of a spoon and add a few drops of water, stirring with a toothpick until the mixture forms a thick paste. Use a cotton swab to dab the aspirin mixture directly onto your pimple, then let the mixture sit on your skin for about 10 minutes before rinsing it off with cool water. Repeat up to three times a day as needed until the blemish as cleared up.
It's rare, especially if you use aspirin topically rather than ingesting it, but some people may be allergic to aspirin. If you experience hives, swelling, numbness or difficulty breathing after using aspirin to treat acne, call your health care provider immediately. Though aspirin's effects are usually fairly mild, you may experience some redness or a burning sensation when you apply it to your skin. Don't use this aspirin remedy on broken skin.