Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Another Cheap Trick

Ever heard of the Aspirin mask?

 Yes as a dentist , I  get pretty annoyed with patients that squish the aspirin onto their delicate mucosa (gum and cheek bits) hoping to dull a toothache instead of drinking it. If they get a headache I doubt that they rub it all over their forehead, but doing that may actually help. It may not help with the pain but it makes your skin look good!

Some important Aspirin facts:
 Aspirin or acetylsalicylic acid, is a derivative of salicylic acid that is a mild, nonnarcotic analgesic useful in the relief of headache and muscle and joint aches. The drug works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, body chemicals that are necessary for blood clotting and which also sensitize nerve endings to pain.
The father of modern medicine was Hippocrates, who lived sometime between 460 B.C and 377 B.C. Hippocrates was left historical records of pain relief treatments, including the use of powder made from the bark and leaves of the willow tree to help heal headaches, pains and fevers.
By 1829, scientists discovered that it was the compound called salicin in willow plants which gave you the pain relief.

According to "From A Miracle Drug" written by Sophie Jourdier for the Royal Society of Chemistry: "It was not long before the active ingredient in willow bark was isolated; in 1828, Johann Buchner, professor of pharmacy at the University of Munich, isolated a tiny amount of bitter tasting yellow, needle-like crystals, which he called salicin. Two Italians, Brugnatelli and Fontana, had in fact already obtained salicin in 1826, but in a highly impure form. By 1829, [French chemist] Henri Leroux had improved the extraction procedure to obtain about 30g from 1.5kg of bark. In 1838, Raffaele Piria [an Italian chemist] then working at the Sorbonne in Paris, split salicin into a sugar and an aromatic component (salicylaldehyde) and converted the latter, by hydrolysis and oxidation, to an acid of crystallised colourless needles, which he named salicylic acid."
Henri Leroux had extracted salicin, in crystalline form for the first time, and Raffaele Piria succeeded in obtaining the salicylic acid in its pure state.
The problem was that salicylic acid was tough on stomachs and a means of 'buffering' the compound was searched for. The first person to do so was a French chemist named Charles Frederic Gerhardt. In 1853, Gerhardt neutralized salicylic acid by buffering it with sodium (sodium salicylate) and acetyl chloride, creating acetylsalicylic acid. Gerhardt's product worked but he had no desire to market it and abandoned his discovery.
In 1899, a German chemist named Felix Hoffmann, who worked for a German company called Bayer, rediscovered Gerhardt's formula. Felix Hoffmann made some of the formula and gave it to his father who was suffering from the pain of arthritis. With good results, Felix Hoffmann then convinced Bayer to market the new wonder drug. Aspirin was patented on February 27, 1900.
The folks at Bayer came up with the name Aspirin, it comes from the 'A" in acetyl chloride, the "spir" in spiraea ulmaria (the plant they derived the salicylic acid from) and the 'in' was a then familiar name ending for medicines.
Aspirin was first sold as a powder. In 1915, the first Aspirin tablets were made. Interestingly, Aspirin ® and Heroin ® were once trademarks belonging to Bayer. After Germany lost World War I, Bayer was forced to give up both trademarks as part of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
Today Asprin is still the best great analgesic, anti-pyretic and anti-inflammatory. So let's get back to this aspirin mask. I tried it out (of course!)

 What is the aspirin mask?
The aspirin mask is a homemade BetaHydroxyAcid ( salicylic acid -a powerful exfoliator to slough off dead skin cells) mask  totally inexpensive and highly efficient, made of salicylic acid or tablets of aspirin.
Indications: all skin types, especially normal to oily and combination skin, acne-prone and clogged skin. It even helps ingrown hairs
Basic preparation:  Crush 3-5 tablets of plain aspirin (not the ones with the enteric coating), distilled water. Mix the powder with the water until it becomes of a creamy consistence, apply on clean dry skin (focus on T-zone and sides of the nose). Keep it on until completely dry. Take a small cotton pad, wet it lightly and begin scrubbing the areas covered with the mask, making small circles. Finally, rinse with plenty of water. There are practically unlimited versions of this mask. You can add yoghurt (hs lactic acid in it -mild AHA) for an astringent effect, aloe vera, honey. You can also make the mask using a basic moisturizer mixed with the salicylic acid/asprin instead of water.
Another option is to mix salicylic acid / crushed aspirin into a mask: into a clay mask, a hydrating mask or a soothing mask. !
Do not apply it near to eye zone, as it would be extremely drying and irritating for the sensitive skin there.
Refrain yourself from over-using it. For very oily skin and for severe blemishes, every 3 days would be more than enough in order not to stress the skin and obtain maximum efficiency. Other skin types should use it once a week or twice a month (dry to very dry, sensitive skin).

Salicylic acid's deep exfoliating action can take moisture along with it. Unless the skin is dehydrated or lacking water, oily skin types should be okay mixing it with water. Otherwise add Jojoba oil to help replenish lost moisture for normal to dry skin.

Honey is great has natural hydrating, antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-bacterial properties. Honey in the recipe will help ward off bacteria so the area doesn't become infected, moisturize the skin and reduce swelling.
So with a little trial and error I found what works for me. First I tried crushing the 500mg extra strength tabs and adding them to yoghurt with little success. The mask was too granular and the Asprin did not dissolve well into the yoghurt. Then I came across this little blue box at Dischem - 10 sachets of 750mg of the pink BHA. It was only R8! So I took a whole lot. It worked like a bomb! It has a fantastic anti-inflammatory effect especially on an unexpected breakout, is great for preventing ingrown hairs (guys and shaving) and a fabulous brightening effect!

 Steer clear of this is you are allergic to Aspirin! Please do not OD on this mask - twice to thrice a week is enough.
Plain Yoghurt, Raw Acacia honey and the Pain Powders

Found this little gem at Dischem. 750mg of Salicylic Acid in 1 sachet.


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