1.08.2015

Aspirin Mask Review - The Acne Experiment

Aspirin Mask Review - The Acne Experiment

Let's get fuuuuuuud up. With drugs. We gonna take some drugs. Some hard drugs man. Some hard and nasty OTC drugs man. Some aspirin, man. Generic ass aspirin man. More than the recommended dosage aspirin man. Then we gonna pud it on our faces. Pattin it gently on our faces.


Fud up.

The night after I wore the Aspirin mask for the first time, I woke up multiple times in a Nyquil-like state. I read somewhere that people sometimes have bad reactions to Aspirin, even if applied topically. I convinced myself I was ODing on it; it is so obvious that my body absorbed the 10 pills I mashed up and put on my face skin, causing me to trip balls. Some people might call this the power of suggestion. I call this my mutant ability: I can travel to other dimensions while I sleep. Cool, right?

So, apparently this is something that people do. They night travel to other dimensions sure, but they also put aspirin on their faces. Aspirin's active ingredient is a salicylic acid cousin. Salicylic acid is a BHA, BHAs are good for acne, and aspirin is cheap. It's a mask made in heaven.

Ingredients:
Method:
  1. Get yourself some generic ass aspirin man.
  2. Make sure it's the normal white chalky, tab kind. Avoid anything with flavoring, and try to find something without an enteric coating. I had no luck finding non-enteric coated aspirin, so I settled for the cheapest, most basic stuff I could find at Target. 
  3. Rinse your face with water (or cleanse your face if that's your jam). Dry your face.
  4. Grab a small dish, add 8-10 tabs of aspirin.
  5. If you have the enteric coated aspirin, rinse them for a few seconds in cold water then pour it off quickly (aspirin dissolves super fast). 
  6. I have no idea if step 5 actually does anything, so don't ask.
  7. If the aspirin has not already started breaking apart, add a few drops of warm water.
  8. It should look like this:

    DIY Aspirin Mask

  9. Pat it on your face. You can't really apply it by smearing like you would a normal mask because the aspirin paste is super crumbly. Tilt your chin back to avoid it from chalking in your eyes. Aspirin burns, Gabriel.
  10. Avoid laughing, smiling or talking for about 20 minutes. The less you move around, the less it will crumble into your eyes or into your beard.


  11. Actually just rest your head gently on an elevated pillow and think of England.
  12. Rinse your face with water. You can use the mask crumble as a kind of scrub if you think your skin can tolerate it.
I tested aspirin on my face for 3 weeks. I did the aspirin mask only for one week. For the next week, I mixed the paste into my usual Aztec Healing Clay mask. I then made a kind of "aspirin toner" by soaking a bunch of aspirin tabs in water, then removing the crumble with coffee filters. I used this "astringent" in my Aztec Clay mask for the final week.

Conclusions:

First, let me clarify what a BHA is. BHAs (beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid) and AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic or lactic acid) are both chemical exfoliants. The difference is BHAs can get down into the pores, while AHAs do not - they only exfoliate the surface of the skin. (Go here if you want to read more about chemical exfoliants.)

Second, I wanted to address the conflicting information online regarding whether aspirin can actually turn into salicylic acid. Aspirin is made of acetylsalicylic acid, a cousin of salicylic acid. Some people say, yes acetylsalicylic acid turns into salicylic acid in water, while others say, no dumbasses, acetylsalicylic acid is not salicylic acid. It can never be salicylic acid. 

My basic knowledge of chemistry told me the latter is probably not right and my connection to the Internet allowed me to consult someone much smarter than me in this area. My consult, whom I will call Dr. Laser, told me (basically) "Sorry Shay, I am more of a physicist these days. Why do you hound me with these stupid questions?" To which I said, "Please Dr. Laser. My zits, please." Dr. Laser tells me that with "85% certainty" he believes acetylsalicylic acid will yield some salicylic acid in the presence of neutral water; it will also yield some acetic acid (which is basically vinegar).

85% certainty is good enough for me, so I'm moving onto my third point: Aspirin is not 100% acetylsalicylic acid. My up&up Target brand aspirin also contains corn starch, dibasic calcium phosphate dihydrate, hypromellose, talc, and triactin. I know that talc is problematic for a lot of people with acne prone skin which is why I opted to strain out the powdered parts of while making the "aspirin toner" in the third week. I'm sure my flimsy coffee filters didn't get it all. Acetic acid will be in the final water solution as well, but considering that it's basically vinegar, I was not concerned about it.

Lastly, I have no idea what percentage salicylic acid I was putting on my face. I suppose it wouldn't matter if the aspirin had done some amazing things, but it didn't:

Aspirin Mask Before and After :: The Acne Experiment 

Aspirin Before and After :: The Acne Experiment

I really wanted this to be amazing. Aspirin so cheap, but it just ain't my jam. I noticed some increased redness and little bumps by the second week, especially on my forehead. By week 3, I had stopped using the chalky part of the aspirin on my face and started using the clay mask more regularly - I attribute both of these things to the slight improvement.

I realize my skin could have been purging (salicylic acid being a BHA and all), which is why I gave my skin a solid 3 weeks. The extra ingredients could have been problematic, and like I said the percentage of salicylic acid could have been too low or too high or something.* Some of this could even be a continued reaction to the jojoba oil (what is happening on my face, really??). As a result, I'm gonna ride this "purge" and try a proper salicylic acid skincare product next. My second bout with salicylic acid is probably going to be a longer one. Thank goodness for bangs.



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* If you're curious about DIY salicylic acid and are looking into white willow bark, read this first.

ALL Acne Experiment Posts are listed at The Acne Experiment MOTHER HUB.

Aspirin Mask Review - The Acne Experiment

All Images © Crappy Candle / The Acne Experiment

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2 comments

  1. Ha! I don't know about the aspirin (I thought you had to mix it with lemon juice, not water) but your writing made me laugh!

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