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can motrin (ibuprofen) pills help acne?

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Ibuprofen has only a mild anti-coagulant effect, but the primary effect is as an anti-inflammatory, which is probably why it is good for acne, as acne seems to be an inflammatory disease (acne improves on low-dose tetracyclines, even when given below the dose necessary to kill bacteria, tetracyclines have a well known anti-inflammatory effect.)

Yes. Doxycycline in subclinical doses (50mg or less a day) has also been proven to be effective for acne due to the anti-inflammatory effect.

I recommend ibuprofen as an anti-inflammatory. But ibuprofen does have an anti-coagulant effect and thus patients who are on Plavix, who have bleeding ulcers, who are on any other type of anti-coagulant therapy should choose another type of anti-inflammatory and steer clear of NSAIDs altogether. It's not a significant risk for most young persons.


Take responsibility for your health; read the full prescribing information for any medication you take and understand that not all risks or potential side effects will likely ever be fully known.

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Well, with my topical ibuprofen, my total dose is about 50mg/day, so I'm not at all worried, and it gives good clearance.

With the pills you have to max out the dose, LionQueen apparently tried it, and I think it worked a bit, but COX-2 inhibitor pills (Alleve) work better for monthly acne with pills.

I used Aleve. The thread is in the Adult Acne forum.


Retired from Acne.org


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I've discovered you can take the ibuprofen liquid gel caps break them open and mix them into your face cream. That way you're only applying the ibuprofen where you need it and the dose you get is tiny (about half a pill, ~100mg).

It works because the liquid gels contains the ibuprofen dissolved, and it's absorbed through the skin just fine (it's ok to apply ibuprofen topically, you can get ibuprofen gel over the counter in the UK for sports injuries, provided you're not sensitive to ibuprofen anyway).

Works great.

Its not even near 50 or 100mg of ibuprofen absorbed when using it topically. Only about 10% of what you apply to your face will be absorbed through the skin....

A 100gram tube (containing aprox 5000mg of ibuprofen (5%)) lasts me 6 weeks, 42 days.... I therefore use aprox 120 mg per day, about 10% of this will be absorbed, so we are talking about 12mg of the drug reaching the blood.

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Yeah, sounds about right from the numbers in the studies I've just looked at.

If your numbers are right, it's 1/100 of the maximum daily dose you're absorbing.


-Temp123

Using a combination of topical ibuprofen (5% sports gel) on face together with 10% tea tree cream. The combo works really well, excellent clearance, invisible, no bleaching, zero irritation, no dry skin, just smooth, (mostly) clear skin.

Topical ibuprofen is available in supermarkets in the UK (own brands are cheapest).


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i believe the total absorbed amount from an application of 120mg will result in anything from 2mg-15mg being absorbed systemically. Depending on the efficiency of the carrier in the given topical ibuprofen, ofcourse.

Either way, yeah we are getting about 1/100th of the amount you would get from a single oral dose of 400-600mg.

I only apply the ibuprofen once at night.

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That's interesting then, I didn't realise it was quite that low-it might open the door for use for bacne as well; provided it's not too extensive.


-Temp123

Using a combination of topical ibuprofen (5% sports gel) on face together with 10% tea tree cream. The combo works really well, excellent clearance, invisible, no bleaching, zero irritation, no dry skin, just smooth, (mostly) clear skin.

Topical ibuprofen is available in supermarkets in the UK (own brands are cheapest).


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The outward signs of acne (the redness, pain, and swelling) are all caused by the body's inflammatory process. Bacteria injure the dermal tissue causing special immune cells (Mast cells) to release Histamine. Histamine is a chemical mediator that causes local blood vessels to dilate (causing the redness), and fluids to leak out of capillaries (swelling). Other chemical mediators released by the body called Prostaglandins also contribute to the inflammatory response and cause pain (when you press down on a pimple). Ibuprofen is a NSAID, and blocks formation of prostaglandins by inhibiting the enzyme (COX) that creates them. Therefore, ibuprofen does in fact work to block certain processes involved in inflammation and can indeed be used to treat acne.

It is not foolish or reckless to attempt to use ibuprofen to treat your acne. Also, the drug is not nearly as bad as it is made out here. Otherwise healthy young people will most likely not experience the GI adverse effects like ulcers or liver problems. You should speak to your doctor before starting ibuprofen, and it is most effective when combined with a tetracycline family antibiotic.

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It is not foolish or reckless to attempt to use ibuprofen to treat your acne. Also, the drug is not nearly as bad as it is made out here. Otherwise healthy young people will most likely not experience the GI adverse effects like ulcers or liver problems. You should speak to your doctor before starting ibuprofen, and it is most effective when combined with a tetracycline family antibiotic.

On balance I think the pills are probably a bad idea; you're risking shutting down your kidneys. With acne you would have to take a huge dose over a long period, much longer that ibuprofen is normally taken for. You'd probably be better off with a high dose tetracycline- that gives an anti-inflammatory effect anyway.

The topical ibuprofen on the other hand; you don't absorb enough to do that and it seems to give very quick resolution of the lesions. In fact, it may well only be significantly absorbed only where the spots are.


-Temp123

Using a combination of topical ibuprofen (5% sports gel) on face together with 10% tea tree cream. The combo works really well, excellent clearance, invisible, no bleaching, zero irritation, no dry skin, just smooth, (mostly) clear skin.

Topical ibuprofen is available in supermarkets in the UK (own brands are cheapest).


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It is not foolish or reckless to attempt to use ibuprofen to treat your acne. Also, the drug is not nearly as bad as it is made out here. Otherwise healthy young people will most likely not experience the GI adverse effects like ulcers or liver problems. You should speak to your doctor before starting ibuprofen, and it is most effective when combined with a tetracycline family antibiotic.

On balance I think the pills are probably a bad idea; you're risking shutting down your kidneys. With acne you would have to take a huge dose over a long period, much longer that ibuprofen is normally taken for. You'd probably be better off with a high dose tetracycline- that gives an anti-inflammatory effect anyway.

The topical ibuprofen on the other hand; you don't absorb enough to do that and it seems to give very quick resolution of the lesions. In fact, it may well only be significantly absorbed only where the spots are.

Renal elimination is not a problem in younger patients without disease. Ibuprofen can be safely taken at as much as 3200 mg/day Rx. You will not need that much for treating acne.

As far as avoiding it in enteral form, it is purely a benefit vs risk stratification, and ibuprofen is rarely dangerous, and has been shown to reduce acne. I also do not agree that tetracycline is any safer than ibuprofen as far as the kidneys are concerned. All drugs must be eliminated through the kidneys or liver/biliary system. It is unavoidable and a non issue in healthy patients that meet the indications.

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It is not foolish or reckless to attempt to use ibuprofen to treat your acne. Also, the drug is not nearly as bad as it is made out here. Otherwise healthy young people will most likely not experience the GI adverse effects like ulcers or liver problems. You should speak to your doctor before starting ibuprofen, and it is most effective when combined with a tetracycline family antibiotic.

On balance I think the pills are probably a bad idea; you're risking shutting down your kidneys. With acne you would have to take a huge dose over a long period, much longer that ibuprofen is normally taken for. You'd probably be better off with a high dose tetracycline- that gives an anti-inflammatory effect anyway.

The topical ibuprofen on the other hand; you don't absorb enough to do that and it seems to give very quick resolution of the lesions. In fact, it may well only be significantly absorbed only where the spots are.

Renal elimination is not a problem in younger patients without disease. Ibuprofen can be safely taken at as much as 3200 mg/day Rx. You will not need that much for treating acne.

As far as avoiding it in enteral form, it is purely a benefit vs risk stratification, and ibuprofen is rarely dangerous, and has been shown to reduce acne. I also do not agree that tetracycline is any safer than ibuprofen as far as the kidneys are concerned. All drugs must be eliminated through the kidneys or liver/biliary system. It is unavoidable and a non issue in healthy patients that meet the indications.

The thing is though that the topical form is a tiny, tiny dose and costs far, far less. You're also with acne facing taking ibuprofen over a long, long period. It's not usually taken like that in pill form, although ibuprofen is better from a GI perspective, it's still not completely blameless.

The dose from topical is never likely to cause any problems at all no matter how long you take it for, the absorption is tiny, and the total dose is low.

There's also the other point, that you don't need to take an antibiotics at all- you can stick to topical antibacterials and not mess up your intestinal flora. I think the combination of topical ibuprofen and topical tea tree oil is as good (actually better) than minocyline, but without the risk of lupus.


-Temp123

Using a combination of topical ibuprofen (5% sports gel) on face together with 10% tea tree cream. The combo works really well, excellent clearance, invisible, no bleaching, zero irritation, no dry skin, just smooth, (mostly) clear skin.

Topical ibuprofen is available in supermarkets in the UK (own brands are cheapest).


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