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Redness with burning sensation on face after applying 10% ibuprofen gel. How to get rid of this?

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Orthopaedic Surgeon
Practicing since : 1994
Answered : 7910 Questions
I stupidly applied 10% ibuprofen gel to my face overnight after reading on the internet that it was good for clearing up acne (I applied it to broken skin after popping a spot). In the morning it had a burning feeling and was red. I washed it off but my cheek was still very red. After a day or so the skin flaked off and was quite sensitive, like a chemical burn. It is now 5 weeks later and it has healed but my cheek is still very red. I can't tell if it's getting better. Will the redness ever fade? Is there anything I can do to get rid of the redness.
Posted Wed, 30 Jan 2013 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 5 hours later
Thanks for posting your query.
I have seen the photo attached. The red area is likely to be due to a pigmentation secondary to the inflammation caused by the gel. This is most likely a self limiting process and is likely to fade without any treatment in 10-12 weeks.
You can apply Glycolic acid cream available over the counter for short term DEMELAN / GLYAHA at night. You should use SUNCROSS-SPF30 sun screen lotion while going out in the sun.
I hope this answers your query.
In case you have additional questions or doubts, you can forward them to me, and I shall be glad to help you out.
Please accept my answer in case you do not have further queries.
Wishing you good health.
Dr. Praveen Tayal.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Redness with burning sensation on face after applying 10% ibuprofen gel. How to get rid of this? 6 hours later
Thank you for your answer, it's very reassuring. I just am slightly worried because it doesn't appear to be fading even after 5 weeks, in fact some days it looks worse. So you don't think it will be permanent? It hasn't affected the texture of my skin and it's smooth to touch, it's just still noticeably red.

I am very surprised ibuprofen gel did that to my face, I thought it was meant for skin. I guess the face is more sensitive though. I am slightly apprehensive about putting acid cream on my face. I have been massaging aloe vera gel and vitamin E cream on my cheek, but I can't tell if it's having any effect.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Tayal 9 minutes later
Thanks for writing again.
Such marks are not usually permanent but these do take time to disappear. Aloe vera gel and vitamin E will have a moisturizing effect on the area.
Ibuprofen gel can cause such a reaction if you are allergic to it or the skin surface is broken.
You can wait for few weeks more and see if it fades spontaneously.
Hope my answer is helpful.
Do accept my answer in case there are no further queries.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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