When we have a splitting headache or our body starts to ache, we head straight to the medicine cabinet and reach for a bottle of aspirin to alleviate our pain. While pain relievers can provide us with temporary relief from fever, aches, and even a hangover, they go beyond curing these common ailments. The anti-inflammatory pills have health-boosting potential, from treating acne to even reducing the odds of either developing or dying of certain cancers.
To reap the benefits of this wonder drug, many people participate in daily aspirin therapy by taking a low dose of aspirin — as low as 75 milligrams, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, you should start daily aspirin therapy on your own, as your doctor may suggest this if you’ve already had a heart attack or stroke, or haven’t had a heart attack, but have had a stent placed in a coronary artery, have had coronary bypass surgery, or you have chest pain due to coronary artery disease (angina). In the meantime, while you talk to your doctor about daily aspirin therapy, these six health and beauty hacks with aspirin can improve your overall health.
1. Acne Treatment
Pain relievers can do more than just alleviate body ailments; they can reduce swelling, unclog pores, and even soften your skin. The active ingredient in aspirin, acetyl salicylic acid, a synthetic derivative of the salicin compound, naturally occurs in plants, specifically the willow tree, says the Aspirin Foundation. Over-the-counter acne treatments use willow bark from willow tree due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory properties that help treat pimples. The salicylic acid in aspirin can help clear anything that is in the hair follicle or pore. Simply crushing five tablets and mixing a tablespoon of plain full-fat yogurt and honey can help double as a moisturizing face mask.
2. Callus Remover
Calluses can be uncomfortable and an unpleasant sight often spotted near the heels of the feet. Simply crushing six aspirin tablets and mixing them with one tablespoon of lemon juice will create a paste that should be applied to the callus. Howstuffworks.com suggests wrapping the foot in a plastic bag and keeping it under wraps for 10 minutes, so the acidity can soften the callus. The salicylic acid helps exfoliate the skin underneath your feet. This should then be followed up with a rub using a pumice stone.
3. Repair Chlorinated Hair
Daily trips to the beach and pool may be refreshing during the hot summer months, but the combination of sun exposure and chlorine can severely damage your hair. Dissolving between six to eight aspirin tablets in a glass of warm water, followed by running the mixture through your hair for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing, can restore your original hair color, according to Good Housekeeping magazine. The green in your hair should disappear after a couple of aspirin washes.
4. Control Dandruff
Plenty of shampoos aimed at treating dandruff use salicylic acid to control these pesky flakes. Adding aspirin to your shampoo can help keep dandruff under control by simply crushing two uncoated aspirins into a powder and combining them with a tablespoon of shampoo. Exfoliating the scalp helps remove dead skin layers that cause dandruff. Kristen Colon, Owner of Studio 11 Hair Salon in Orlando, Fla., wrote in The Huffington Post guest blog: “…aspirin contains salicylates, which is the active ingredient in dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid,” explaining why the method works.
5. Get Rid of a Hickey
A hickey, or a “love bite,” can be embarrassing and make you feel uncomfortable if you have work or school the next day. Luckily, letting one or two uncoated aspirin pills dissolve in half a cup of water and applying the paste to the affected area can help reduce the appearance of the hickey quickly. The aspirin paste works by increasing the blood flow on the skin’s surface, therefore reducing the appearance of the red mark.
6. Prevent Cancer
An aspirin a day may help keep cancer away. A recent study published in the Annals of Oncology found the benefits of taking aspirin to prevent some types of cancer outweigh the harms. The researchers note the effects of aspirin are not apparent until at least three years after the start of use, and some benefits are sustained for several years after stopping daily aspirin therapy in long-term users. If those between 50 and 65 started taking aspirin daily for at least 10 years, there would be a nine percent reduction in the number of cancers, strokes, and heart attacks overall in men, and around seven percent in women, said Dr. Jack Cuzick, head of the Centre for Cancer Prevention at Queen Mary's University of London in the United Kingdom, in a press release.