Can You Use Aspirin to Treat Acne? We Investigate TikTok's Latest Skincare Hack

Another day, another trend to debunk.

Can You Use Aspirin to Treat Acne? We Investigate

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Clear skin is a top priority for many people. In fact, a lot of us are willing to go to great lengths to treat breakouts. And the latest "hack" that's got everyone's attention is using aspirin for acne.

Of course, it pays to be wary of any beauty trend that goes viral with few receipts to back it up — so a thorough investigation is in order. After all, some #BeautyTok trends are helpful (such as skin cycling), and others are quite questionable (we all remember onion oil for hair, right?).

To get to the bottom of this so-called skincare hack, we turned to the experts. See what they had to say below.

Can You Treat Acne With Aspirin?

The short answer is no. According to board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology Marisa Garshick, MD, aspirin is not considered an approved treatment for acne. Joshua Zeichner, MD, associate professor at the Icahn School of Medicine and director of cosmetic and clinical research in the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, agrees and explains that aspirin contains an ingredient called aminosalicylic acid, which has anti-inflammatory properties. While it's a cousin of sorts to the known acne-fighting ingredient salicylic acid, he says that aspirin does not possess the same exfoliating effects on the skin and cannot remove excess oil from the skin to really help with breakouts.

Does Aspirin Do Anything For Acne?

Dr. Garshick says that there is no evidence to support the use of aspirin in treating acne. With that said, she says some people may find aspirin helpful in reducing inflammation associated with a larger cyst or nodule. "People have suspected that aspirin may help because it contains acetylsalicylic acid," she adds, emphasizing what Dr. Zeichner had stated previously. "While it is related to salicylic acid, [it] is not the same thing."

Can You Use Aspirin to Treat Acne? We Investigate

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How Do You Apply Aspirin Safely? Are There Any Downsides?

So if you're looking for ways to reduce the size of your pimple, applying aspirin could possibly help. Both Dr. Garshick and Dr. Zeichner say that it is generally safe to put on the skin, but it can lead to skin irritation if you're especially sensitive. "I would only recommend it if you are in a pinch with no other available options," says Dr. Zeichner.

To do it safely, Dr. Garshick suggests crushing a few aspirin tablets before combining with water to create a paste. Wash your face with your normal cleanser and then apply the paste directly to the skin. Leave on for about 10 to 15 minutes, and then rinse with lukewarm water.

What's The Most Effective Way To Treat Acne?

The best way to treat acne is to use products with known acne-fighting ingredients. Dr. Garshick says to look for anything with retinoids, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid. She also recommends seeing a board-certified dermatologist to determine the best game plan for your skin and to determine if you need any additional treatments.

Other options include pimple patches. Dr. Zeichner says that because pimple patches are usually made of hydrocolloids, they help absorb excess fluid and protect the inflamed skin. (As an added bonus, they also help keep your hands off the pimple "so you don't cause damage by picking at it," he adds).

For any pimples you want to reduce in size, Dr. Zeichner says to use ice. "It constricts blood vessels to reduce redness and swelling," he explains. "Apply to an angry pimple for five minutes to calm inflammation."

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