The most common treatments for acne are over-the-counter creams and lotions that contain benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. However, these solutions for clearing acne breakouts don’t always work for everyone. Acne breakouts can sometimes be more complicated than we give them credit for. Your skin’s pH balance, the foods you eat and your body’s hormonal balance all play a part in the severity and frequency of acne breakouts. If breakouts are too severe to treat with OTC remedies, medical acne treatments might be the answer. However, OTC ibuprofen for acne might be an option to consider before resorting to prescription medication.
Why Does Ibuprofen Work?
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen are manufactured with similar ingredients. The most important ingredients are the ones that have an anti-inflammatory effect. Salicylic acid is one of the most effective anti-acne ingredients, and it’s found in many OTC treatments for acne. Ibuprofen and other NSAIDS like aspirin have an ingredient that is closely related to salicylic acid: Acetylsalicylic acid.
Acetylsalicylic acid could be thought of as a chemical that mimics the effects of salicylic acid since it’s closely related to it. Salicylic acid has been recognized as a scientifically proven way of controlling acne breakouts. So, what are the effects salicylic acid has on acne?
- It dries the skin, discouraging the reproduction of acne-causing bacteria.
- Dries up blackheads and whiteheads.
- Prevents comedonal acne from forming on the skin.
- Removes excess oil and dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause breakouts.
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory on the skin by decreasing swelling and redness.
In short, the ingredients found in ibuprofen and other NSAIDs, especially acetylsalicylic acid, can do many of the same things salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can do for acne. There are proven benefits to using Ibuprofen for acne, as long as you use it the right way.
Topical Application of Ibuprofen for Acne
Taking ibuprofen orally is not a good idea for treating acne, although it might have some effect on the swelling. You need to apply it directly to the skin and leave on for a good length of time. Dissolve a tablet in a tiny amount of warm water and apply the paste directly to the acne. Leave this on for twenty minutes and then rinse it off.
You can also use ibuprofen soft gels or liquid-filled capsules. Carefully piercing the middle with a needle should do the job. You can then apply this directly to the pimple or an area of your face. Leave it on for twenty minutes as well before rinsing off.
You might be surprised how much this will greatly reduce the redness and swelling, as well as the pain, itching or both. Use your favorite lotion or moisturizer afterward, but be careful what kind you are using. It won’t hurt to use a medicated cream or lotion that is allergen-free and mild on your skin.
Watch how your skin reacts to the first application before applying any again. Ibuprofen for acne can cause skin irritation if the skin gets too dry, and this can happen even if you apply lotion because ibuprofen significantly drains the skin of moisture. Try treating your skin with it once a day and then you can increase it to up to two times a day if you feel you need to.