Why has toothpaste for acne become such a well known remedy for this frequent skin problem? As you brush your teeth and get ready to turn in for the night, you notice that familiar red bump on your face: the dreaded pimple! We have all experienced acne, a skin condition caused by clogged pores from bacteria, dead skin cells, and oil.

There are countless skin care products on the market that promise to eliminate or control acne breakouts, but do you want to risk your money on expensive materials that may or may not work? Toothpaste, a common household item, is also an effective home remedy for acne. Though dermatologists do not recommend this treatment, should we completely steer clear of toothpaste to fight acne? Before attempting to use toothpaste, consider the pros and cons of this possible remedy. And always consult your doctor or dermatologist before trying a new skin care routine. After all, your skin is too precious to jeopardize over convenience.

woman using toothpaste for acne

How Using Toothpaste For Acne Works

Most toothpastes contain triclosan (an antibacterial ingredient found in soaps and other hygienic products), baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol. These have all been reported to dry the skin, possibly diminishing blemishes.

Supposedly, by cleansing the affected area and applying a dab of toothpaste on the blemish will kill the bacterial infection, reduce pimple size and redness. The toothpaste is typically left on the blemish for two hours or overnight. Mixing in additional baking soda, honey, or salt is rumored to increase the remedy’s effectiveness.

Pros And Cons Of Using Toothpaste For Acne

The logic behind purposing toothpaste instead of other acne solutions seems relatively sound as the ingredients offer several benefits:

  • Triclosan, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol are all antibacterial agents that may kill the bacteria that causes acne breakouts.
  • Baking soda is a dependable exfoliate that can help remove dead skin cells and toxins on the affected area.
  • Toothpaste has drying capabilities that may reduce the size of the blemish.
  • The whitening properties of toothpaste could reduce the appearance of dark spots caused by acne.

However, there are downsides of using toothpaste to treat pimples, especially if you are prone to dry or sensitive skin.

  • Toothpaste is formulated for our teeth, not our skin. While it does contain ingredients that can help to fight the symptoms of acne, it might do more harm than good.
  • Toothpaste may irritate or even burn the skin. Spot treating an already sensitive pimple with toothpaste can irritate it further, resulting in pain and additional inflammation.
  • Some individuals may be unknowingly allergic to toothpaste that is applied on their skin.
  • Toothpaste can cause the skin to over-dry, provoking the skin to redden and eventually peel.

7 Tips on How To Apply Toothpaste For Acne

woman applying a paste on her pimple

  • Clean the affected area thoroughly with soap and warm water. Do not overly scrub the area as this will only irritate the skin more than it already is.
  • Completely dry the area with a clean towel. Towels can harbor bacteria if they are not consistently washed, or left crumpled and wet for a long period of time.
  • Using a clean Q-tip or your index finger, gently apply enough toothpaste to cover the entire blemish. If you use your hands, make to wash them before you dab on the toothpaste.
  • Keep the toothpaste on the blemish, untouched, for at least two hours. For maximum results, leave it on overnight. Some individuals have experimented with placing a band-aid over the toothpaste covered blemish.
  • Using cool water, gently wash off the toothpaste. Warm water opens your pores allowing for an easier extraction of oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria. Cool water closes your pores, helping to prevent later blockages.
  • Dry the affected area with a clean towel and apply a moisturizer if desired. If you plan to go out in the sun, protect your skin with a sunblock or a moisturizer with at least an SPF of fifteen.
  • You can repeat these steps once daily. Watch your skin closely. If you note dryness or irritation, either stop this treatment completely or reduce the procedure to only a couple of times per week.

Extra Tips To Make Toothpaste For Acne More Efficient

You should try to avoid gel toothpastes or toothpastes specifically formulated to whiten teeth. Most gel toothpastes lack the beneficial ingredients that can help treat acne. Whitening toothpastes contain harsh bleaching components that may negatively react with skin, causing a chemical burn. They may even bleach the skin resulting in an uneven and patchy skin tone.

As mentioned previously, you can add baking soda, honey, and salt to toothpaste to increase its potency in battling breakouts. These ingredients have antiseptic, antibacterial, and healing properties. However, mixing them in will alter the toothpaste’s affect on skin. Try to leave the concoction on the affected area for up to twenty minutes instead of leaving it on overnight.

Precautions To Remember Before Trying Toothpaste For Acne

woman shocked to see a pimple

As with many products, using toothpaste to treat blemishes comes with its own risks. If you have never tried this remedy before, a perform a patch test. Spread a thin layer on unaffected skin for twenty minutes to see if you are allergic to toothpaste. If you note any negative reactions like a rash, this treatment is not for you.

Since toothpaste has a drying effect, those with sensitive skin or who are prone to dry skin may need to reduce the amount of time they leave the toothpaste on to around ten minutes. If any over-drying occurs, properly moisturize the skin. Dry skin will produce more oil and can cause additional acne to develop. Pay special attention to the active ingredients in toothpaste when deciding which type to use. Aside from lacking ingredients that can help treat acne, some brands of toothpaste contain fluoride and menthol, which can irritate the skin and cause itchiness.

Toothpaste contains many ingredients that are anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial. While these components on their own are effective in treating acne, they may not be as potent when included in toothpaste. The most advantageous property of using toothpaste for blemishes is the drying effect. In some cases, drying out the pimple may treat the redness and inflammation. In others, toothpaste can further your skin’s irritation, prolonging or increasing your acne.

While toothpaste may be a quick and inexpensive fix in a pimple emergency, it does not seem to be a beneficial treatment in the long run. Toothpaste can further aggravate your current acne symptoms, causing pain and an extended healing period. Consult your doctor for approved dermatologist recommended treatments, or try simple home remedies like using witch hazel or baking soda to alleviate the symptoms of acne.