Aspirin is a bit of an overachiever. Besides easing your headaches, the magical over-the-counter med can enhance your health, appearance, and even your hair. Here are five surprising uses for the popular pill.
01. CLEARS PIMPLES
Aspirin’s primary ingredient, salicylic acid, helps beat zits by breaking down the offending clog and reducing inflammation, the root of redness, says dermatologist Dr Kavita Mariwalla.
To treat your pizza face, crush one pill and stir in 3 tablespoons of water. The consistency should be like milk, not mayo. Rub the mixture on your blemish before bed to help shrink the spot while you sleep.
Try this trick on mosquito bites, too – it reduces itching.
02. CUT CANCER RISK
Cancer cells can glom on to clotted blood platelets, but by making platelets less sticky, aspirin makes them less likely to clot. So the odds of clingy cancer cells lingering in your arteries drops.
In one study from the University of Oxford, people who took a low daily dose (75 milligrams) of aspirin for five years were 20 per cent less likely to die of cancer than those who didn’t pop the pill.
They were also eight per cent less likely to die of any cause over the next 15 years.
03. SOFTEN CALLUSES
Help eliminate these tough patches on your hands and feet by mixing three crushed aspirin tablets, 1 tablespoon lemon juice and 2 tablespoons water. Rub the paste on each callus and cover it with a Band-Aid overnight.
The lemon juice is an astringent, says Mariwalla, and with the aspirin, it will penetrate the skin and break down the tough spots. Repeat the process for a few days and your calluses should be soft enough to grind away with a nail file.
04. CURE DANDRUFF
Salicylic acid fixes more than just pimples; it’ll take care of dandruff, too. (It’s the secret weapon in Neutrogena’s T/Sal shampoo.)
The acid skims the dry skin from your scalp, so the flakes land in the drain and not on your jacket.
Try this: crush two aspirin tablets and mix in just enough shampoo to form a nice lather. Leave it on your hair for at least 30 seconds, and rinse as usual, Mariwalla says. Do this two or three times a week to stay flake-free for life.
05. BEAT DEPRESSION
People who popped aspirin regularly over a 10-year period were less likely to experience symptoms of depression, a study in the journal Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics found.
According to Dr Keith Souter, author of An Aspirin a Day, the explanation may be linked to inflammation: in research from Denmark, people with the highest levels were more likely to have depression symptoms.
Since aspirin eases inflammation, it can literally put a smile on your face.