The truth about toothpaste and acne:
When traditional acne products aren’t available, many people turn to items found around their home to treat their pimples. One common item that’s believed to help suppress acne is toothpaste. The truth about toothpaste and acne: it can over-dry your skin, and it will actually cause your skin to be irritated and your acne to inflame. It’s better to use sacylic acid or sulfur to treat a single pimple.
How toothpaste affects acne:
Most toothpastes contain some or all of the following ingredients, which can theoretically treat pimples: hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, alcohol, and tricosan. These all have antimicrobial qualities and remove the excess oil on your skin. While these might independently have a positive effect on your acne, when combined, they cause irritation, dry flakey skin, and along with the other ingredients in your tube of toothpaste, they make your acne even worse.
Meant for your teeth…not your skin:
Toothpaste will hurt your skin, not help it. It was designed to wash your teeth and brighten your smile. If you apply it to a pimple, it can cause over-drying and will further irritate your skin. If you apply it to an open comedone (a blackhead) many times it will sting and cause increased redness and swelling. This makes your pimple more noticeable along with hurting your body’s natural ability to heal the lesion.
Alternatives to toothpaste for acne:
If you’re looking for a spot treatment (targeting specific pimples), then sacylic acid and sulfur are much better options. They are available at most drug stores as well as online. However, spot treatments are very ineffective. As opposed to treating the cause of acne, spot treatments try to accelerate the healing process of an already formed pimple. The best treatments prevent a pimple from ever forming! For very mild acne, benzoyl peroxide can be an adequate treatment. For most people, a consultation with a dermatologist is necessary. The doctor will create a personalized treatment plan, based on your skin type and acne severity. Dermatologists give you access to the most effective products available: prescription medications.
- Kaminer, M., and B. Gilchrest. “The Many Faces of Acne.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology 32.5 (1995): S6-S14. Web. <https://www.jaad.org/article/0190-9622(95)90415-8/abstractref>.
- “Toothpaste.” - American Dental Association. N.p., n.d. Web. <https://www.ada.org/1322.aspx>.
- Kitchens, Simone. “Toothpaste To Dry Out Pimples? Top Derms Clear Up This Home Remedy.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 23 Oct. 2012. Web. <https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/toothpaste-pimples-acne-dry-out_n_1994320.html>.