As the warm weather fades, the cool air will soon start to wreak havoc on your skin. Your primal instinct will kick into gear, steering your car toward the nearest beauty counter for the first “miracle” cure you can get our hands on. You will use the remedy for about a week and end up tossing your barely used bottle onto the pile of products already littering your bathroom.
Instead of venturing out on the search for a new remedy and frittering away a few more hundred rupees, take a page from our book and look in your medicine cabinet for a commonly used pain reliever - aspirin.
That’s right, we said aspirin. Ever heard of salicylic acid, the prime component used in most acne-preventing face washes and lotions? Well, aspirin contains the same active ingredient - a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) that works to deeply cleanse your pores and help stop the formation of new spots on your face.
Beauty mavens and bloggers all over the world commonly use aspirin to create masks that reduce redness and inflammation while brightening the complexion. If applied correctly and regularly, aspirin masks will soften and smoothen skin and, over time, you will see a reduction in blackheads.
Before we share our recipe, we wish to issue a disclaimer. As with all medications, proceed with caution, especially if you are allergic to aspirin or BHAs, or have generally sensitive skin. We recommend doing a patch test before applying aspirin to the entire face.
What you need: aspirin (or disprin, depending on what’s available at your local pharmacy) that is uncoated for easy dissolving, a small bowl, a spoon and warm water. Optional: honey, aloe vera gel or yoghurt.
Begin by placing a few uncoated aspirin in the bowl. You may use anywhere from four to eight tablets depending on the area you wish to cover. Add warm water a few drops at a time to dissolve the aspirin. The consistency should be grainy and slightly thick. At this point, you can include a mixer for your skin type. For those with a dry to normal complexion, throw in a little honey or aloe vera gel. If you struggle with oily zones, add some yogurt, which is known to be a natural astringent.
Apply the mask to your face and leave it on for about 10 minutes or until it begins to flake. Don’t be surprised if the powder-like consistency causes you to sneeze. Splash a little water onto your face and begin to use the mask as a scrub. Use soft circular motions while paying close attention to your nose, which is a problem area for most women. Wash the mask off your face completely after exfoliating.
Your skin may feel a little tight after the mask, so be sure to moisturise. As with any BHA cream or face wash, frequent use will dry your skin out. Apply no more than once a week for oily skin or every ten days for dry complexions.
Don’t have time to mix and apply a mask? Aspirin can also be used as a spot treatment. Just dissolve one uncoated tablet and apply it onto any blemish you’re trying to get rid of. It will help reduce the redness and work to dry the pimple out.
If you’re planning on staying in tonight, go ahead and slather on our favourite beauty concoction. At just a few rupees per application, what have you got to lose? PS: We’ve heard brothers and husbands rave about this mask as well - so pass it on!
Maria Saadat is author of the popular desi beauty site Lipstick Masala
Do you have a question about make-up? Can’t figure out a hairstyle for an upcoming wedding? Do your attempts at smoky eye make-up leave you looking like a raccoon? Have no fear! E-mail your questions and issues to [email protected] and Maria Saadat will respond to them in an upcoming column.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 10th, 2010.
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