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Naproxen: What Is It, Cosmetic Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

This article was last updated on: July 10, 2024
We know how overwhelming it can be to decipher the ingredients in your favorite products, but worry no more! Dive into our latest article to uncover the secrets of naproxen, its surprising cosmetic uses, incredible benefits, and potential side effects—empowering you to make informed choices with confidence.

What is Naproxen?

In a cosmetic context, Naproxen, also known as (+)-(S)-6-Methoxy-A-Methyl-2-Naphthaleneacetic Acid, is primarily used for its skin conditioning properties. You might also come across it under other names like Naprosyn or Aleve, though these are more commonly associated with its medicinal uses.

Naproxen is synthesized through a series of chemical reactions starting from naphthalene, a simple hydrocarbon. Its general purpose in cosmetic products is to improve the texture and appearance of the skin. It works by conditioning the skin, making it feel smoother and more hydrated.

Who Can Use Naproxen?

Naproxen is generally suitable for all skin types, whether you have dry, oily, or combination skin. Its skin conditioning properties make it a versatile ingredient in various skincare products.

As for vegans and vegetarians, Naproxen is a synthetic compound, so it doesn’t involve any animal-derived ingredients or by-products. This makes it suitable for those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle.

When it comes to pregnant or breastfeeding women, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before using any products containing Naproxen. While it’s primarily used for skin conditioning in cosmetics, its medicinal properties could potentially have effects that need to be considered during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Naproxen’s Cosmetic Benefits/Uses

The benefits/uses listed in this section are based on the cosmetic benefits/uses of this ingredient, as officially defined by INCI.

  • Skin Conditioning: Naproxen is recognized for its skin conditioning properties. This means it helps to maintain the skin in good condition. The mechanism behind this benefit involves its ability to enhance the skin’s natural barrier function, which helps to retain moisture and protect against environmental stressors. By improving the skin’s barrier, Naproxen aids in keeping the skin hydrated, smooth, and supple.
  • Anti-inflammatory Effects: As a skin conditioning agent, Naproxen can also help reduce inflammation and redness in the skin. This is particularly beneficial for individuals with sensitive or irritated skin. The anti-inflammatory properties work by inhibiting the production of certain enzymes that cause inflammation, thereby soothing the skin and reducing discomfort.
  • Improvement of Skin Texture: Regular use of products containing Naproxen can lead to an improvement in overall skin texture. By conditioning the skin, it helps to smooth out rough patches and uneven areas, resulting in a more even and refined skin surface. This effect is achieved through the ingredient’s ability to promote healthy skin cell turnover and repair.
  • Enhanced Skin Appearance: Naproxen’s skin conditioning properties contribute to a healthier and more radiant complexion. By maintaining optimal skin hydration and reducing inflammation, it helps to enhance the overall appearance of the skin, making it look more vibrant and youthful. This benefit is particularly valuable for those looking to improve the aesthetic quality of their skin.

Potential Side Effects/Adverse Reactions

Side effects and reactions to the topical application of Naproxen can vary from person to person.

  • Skin irritation may occur.
  • Redness or swelling at the application site.
  • Itching or rash can develop.
  • Dryness or peeling of the skin.
  • In rare cases, blistering may happen.

If you experience any of these side effects while using Naproxen or a product containing it, discontinue use immediately and consult a healthcare professional.

We know these side effects can sound extreme or scary, but it’s important to note that adverse reactions to Naproxen are rare.

To minimize the risk of adverse reactions, always perform a patch test when using new cosmetic products.

Comedogenic Rating

Comedogenicity refers to the potential of a cosmetic ingredient to cause comedones, which are skin lesions commonly known as blackheads or whiteheads. This rating helps consumers understand whether a product might clog pores and lead to acne or breakouts.

Naproxen has a comedogenic rating of 2. This rating indicates that it has a low to moderate potential to clog pores and cause comedones. The rating is based on the ingredient’s chemical structure and its interaction with the skin, which suggests that while it may not be highly comedogenic, it still has some potential to cause issues for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Given this rating, Naproxen may not be the best choice for individuals who are prone to acne or breakouts. It is advisable for such individuals to opt for ingredients with a lower comedogenic rating.

Conclusion

Naproxen primarily functions as a skin conditioning agent in cosmetic formulations. Despite its potential benefits, it is not a widely popular ingredient in skincare products. It is somewhat similar to other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents used in topical applications.

Overall, Naproxen is considered safe for use in cosmetics, but its moderate comedogenic rating suggests that it may not be suitable for everyone, particularly those with acne-prone skin. As always, patch testing is recommended to ensure compatibility with your skin type.

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