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Have You Made the Mistake of Using the Ibuprofen Acne Treatment?

It’s no secret that acne sufferers are desperate to try just about anything. With that in mind, you too may be one of the many people who have turned to such remedies as ibuprofen acne treatments in the hopes of finally clearing up your skin for good.

Are There Benefits in Using Ibuprofen for Acne?

In my research as an aesthetician, I have stumbled across quite a few blogs that promote using man made drugs to treat one’s acne. Ibuprofen is on clear example. Many of these supposed health blogs praise the benefits of the anti-inflammatory benefits of ibuprofen to alleviate the symptoms of acne.

But is it a safe?

Ibuprofen is made with chemicals in a lab and is far from natural. It works by forcing actions on your body, instead of allowing your body to naturally heal and detoxify on it’s own.

It’s sold by a large corporate company that only aims to market it as mild and safe with money on their minds. In fact, Bayer, the company that was the first to sell Ibuprofen, used to sell Heroin!

How can we possibly trust a company that once sold heroin to also sell medications like ibuprofen that many people believe can treat their acne?

Moving on, ibuprofen is often recommended to be used both internally and topically for treatment. When taken internally, an ibuprofen acne treatment is supposed to reduce inflammation since it is marketed to be a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug. [1]

While it would make sense that many acne sufferers would turn to taking ibuprofen for acne to reduce inflammation, it is essential to point out that a single drug is not going to affect chronic inflammation in your skin. The source of acne inflammation is actually caused by imbalances in the diet and eating processed foods heavy in chemicals that trigger inflammatory compounds in the body, resulting in inflammation and infection in the skin.

Ibuprofen has the effect of working as a vasodilator to dilate blood vessels in the skin, which many people believe reduces acne redness. However, this effect is only temporary when taking the drug, and it will not provide long-term relief that can only be treated by balancing the diet to eliminate inflammatory triggers in the first place!

Topically, there are ibuprofen acne treatments available in the form of gels that contain a concentration of ibuprofen to reduce inflammation in the skin. Still, it is clear these gels cannot provide long-term relief since the chronic inflammation associated with acne comes from the inside out.

What Acne Sufferers Have to Say About Ibuprofen

A simple search on the forums brings up multiple testimonials:

It can help if you have inflammation. You really have to take a lot of it though – 600mg 4x a day.

I tried it and really regretted it as it caused me to get depressed for a week. So maybe don’t try it if you’ve ever had problems with depression.

I’ve had to take high dose ibuprofen for other ailments under a docs care. It didn’t help my acne. If you want something that helps inflamed acne, oral antibiotics or topical emu oil are much better options. Ibuprofen thins the protective lining of your stomach. It can cause bleeding and nasty nausea.

I concur with everyone else. Taking large quantities of anti-inflammatories on the basis that it might help your skin stop forming a pigmented mark is insane. The red mark is a normal remnant of your skins inflammatory/healing process. You might want to consider an acne treatment that has pigment fading or exfoliating properties like azeliac acid, salicylic acid, topical retinoids. Also consider light ahas ie: diluted acv toner.

When it comes to your decision about using an ibuprofen acne treatment to clear up your skin, there is very little evidence to suggest that it can provide any results whatsoever.

At the very least, you may have to spend quite a bit of money on both topical and internal ibuprofen acne treatments, which may cause serious side effects to your health and your skin. I would encourage you to cut to the chase and not mess around with any potentially dangerous acne treatments out there.

Instead, start by making simple dietary changes that will reduce the triggers that are causing chronic inflammation in the first place to ultimately rid your skin of acne for good!


  1. “PubMed Health – Ibuprofen”. U.S. National Library of Medicine. 2010-10-01. Retrieved 2011-01-20.

About the Author: Bethany Ramos is an aesthetician and makeup artist with a special interest in using nutrition to heal and alleviate a number of conditions in the skin. You can find out more skin care and makeup tips by visiting her blog at FacebyBethany.

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All I see here are ad hominem arguments “How can we trust a company that once sold heroin” (keep in mind that they used to sell heroin IN THE EARLY 1900′s when it was first discovered), and a lack of basic knowledge of chemistry.

acetylsalicylic, which is the active ingredient in Bayer asprin, essentially breaks down into salicylic acid (which is a natural (emphasis on the word natural) compound found in willow bark) in the blood stream. All aspirin does is suppress enzymes that are responsible for pain and swelling on a very mild scale. All ibuprofen is, is salycylic acid. Just because something is synthesized in a lab, doesn’t mean that it is bad for you. Synthesizing compounds in a lab is just a more efficient way of doing things compared to harvesting it from nature.

Secondly, there is not need to take large quantities of ibuprofen to combat acne inflammation, simply crush up the ibuprofen, add a small amount of water, mix into a paste, and apply to the swollen areas. It delivers it directly to the site, and basically eliminates the risk of stomach bleeding.

“Bayer, the company that was the first to sell Ibuprofen”

Actually Boots (boots medical group) were the first to discover and market ibuprofen.

Ive tried literally every treatment for acne there is. I’ve used oral antibiotics with little to no effect. I’ve altered my diet several times also with no effect on my acne. Using crushed up ibuprofen on my skin has had fantastic results. As for the claims of depression, I suffer pretty badly from depression and ibuprofen has in no way made me more depressed, in fact, having clearer skin makes me feel much more confident.

Just my take on things.

As a response to some of the remarks made above, please keep in mind the difference between advil and aspirin. Aspirin contains acetylsalicylic acid and the tablets can be crushed to make a paste. Advil contains ibuprofen (not a salicylate). Both pharmaceuticals are non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, promoting vasoconstriction. Of the two, it is aspirin that will more readily cause gastral-intestinal bleeding. And, Bayer was the first company to market aspirin, not ibuprofen.

People – please refer to the peer-reviewed scientific literature, if you are going to self-medicate.

Ibuprofen use in the treatment of acne:
Wong RC, Kang S, Heezen JL, et al. Oral ibuprofen and tetracycline for the treatment of acne vulgaris. J Am Acad Dermatol1984;11:1076–1081. [PubMed]

And what evidence do you have that proves diet affects acne? I’ve read multiple studies and gone to many websites, Paula’s Choice being one of them ( very good looks at actual studies and scientific evidence for efficacy of products and ingredients) and there has yet to be a valid and non-biased study proving diet has ANYTHING to do with people’s level of acne. So quit spewing lies and actually look up credible information supporting your claims.

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