So, what’s the connection between toothpaste and acne? Well, there isn’t one. However, that certainly doesn’t mean that you didn’t try to make fetch happen whenever a red, angry pimple arose and toothpaste was the only thing you had at hand.
It’s alright really, we’ve all done it when we didn’t know any better. However, some things are best left behind, but for some reason, people still swear by a dab of toothpaste as a pimple treatment.
This brings some important questions like:
- Is toothpaste a good way to deal with acne?” or
- Is it safe to put toothpaste on acne?”
As someone who used to reach for toothpaste whenever I had a zit, in this article I will be talking about my experience as well as the science behind this.
What’s Inside Your Toothpaste?
Toothpaste is a key part of your daily oral hygiene routine. Along with toothbrush and floss, it helps to remove food debris and plaque in your teeth and gums.
Toothpaste typically consists of active and inactive ingredients. While the ingredients may slightly differ from toothpaste to toothpaste, all of these typically contains the same general components:
Each of these does an excellent job of keeping your teeth clean and prevent bacteria from spreading. So it is very easy to see the appeal of why people reach for toothpaste when trying to get rid of a zit.
However, is it really a useful thing to do?
Does Toothpaste Get Rid Of Acne?
The short answer to this is: No. Toothpaste won’t help you get rid of acne because toothpaste isn’t intended to be used on acne.
So, if you think you’ve found a cheap and easy trick to get rid of a zit, you are totally wrong.
Although it is not really clear exactly how and where this trend got started, some likely reasons may be the following:
So, it is not totally out of the field to believe that this home remedy could potentially work. However, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t use toothpaste as your go-to acne treatment.
Toothpaste is alkaline.
After having our food, the bacteria present in our mouth feed on the food, and small particles of food trapped between our teeth and produce acid.
In order to neutralize this acidic effect, we brush our teeth with toothpaste and since toothpaste is used for neutralizing acids, it means that it can never be acidic but it is rather basic or alkaline.
However, our skin, on the other hand, is acidic, and adding products that are alkaline in nature can negatively affect our skin barrier and result in dryness, irritation, and inflammatory conditions such as acne breakouts.
Toothpaste can be an irritant.
Your skin is more delicate than your teeth and some ingredients in toothpaste such as fluoride, methanol, baking soda, and hydrogen peroxide can cause skin irritation.
Yes, these can dry out a zit, but at the risk of hardcore irritating your skin barrier at the same time.
And when your skin barrier is messed up, it goes into overdrive and overproduces oil to compensate for the dryness and heal itself, which often leads to excessively oily skin, clogged pores, and acne breakouts.
Additionally, toothpaste formulations rely heavily on fragrant components such as spearmint or menthol to mask the natural and often unpleasant odor of the other ingredients present inside the formulation.
And menthol, as we already know is a common skin sensitizer that promotes that cooling and refreshing sensation when applied to the skin.
This cooling, refreshing sensation menthol produces is direct evidence that your skin is being sensitized and potentially irritated rather than being soothed.
Toothpaste won’t help heal acne.
The ingredients in toothpaste can help dry out your zit. But drying out your zit definitely won’t make it go away.
What usually happens when applying toothpaste over an already inflamed area is it just dries out the top layer of your skin, without killing the bacteria inside the follicle.
Which all in all, is a pretty bad solution to go about.
What To Use Instead?
There are several other ingredients that are known as acne-fighters and these can actually help you take care of your skin concern without irritating or further damaging your skin. Some known ingredients are:
Benzoyl peroxide is one of the most common ingredients in skincare products designed to combat acne breakouts and it is often found in cleansers, toners, gels, and creams.
Through many studies, benzoyl peroxide was finally proven to have an antibacterial effect that specifically inhibits and destroys the acne-causing bacteria Propionibacterium acnes or simply P. acnes that live deep in your pores and survive on your natural oil, dead skin cells, and skin tissue.
Salicylic acid is a BHA naturally derived from willow tree bark, wintergreen leaves or sweet birch bark. Different concentrations may vary depending on the product at hand with mild percentages of 0.5 up to strongest percentages being 5.
This multifunctional ingredient addresses many of the systemic causes of acne.
Its primary benefit is as an exfoliant, however, because it has the ability to penetrate into the pore lining and exfoliate inside the pore as well as on the surface of the skin, it is especially effective for reducing acne breakouts, including blackheads and whiteheads.
In addition to these benefits, salicylic acid also has soothing properties to calm aggravated skin, help minimize the appearance of uneven skin tone, and has hydrating properties that can result in smoother skin.
Read my full article on Exfoliating Acids In Skincare – Explained.
Mandelic acid is an increasingly popular alpha hydroxy acid derived from the hydrolysis of an extract of bitter almonds.
It has a large molecular structure, which means it is a gentle exfoliating alternative as it doesn’t penetrate the skin as deeply as some of the other AHAs, like glycolic acid.
Mandelic acid has been extensively studied for its use in treating common skin problems including inflammatory and non-inflammatory acne.
One of these studies shows that different percentages of mandelic acid can have the upper hand in successfully treating inflammatory acne over salicylic acid.
Additionally, using mandelic acid to treat acne can have significantly fewer side effects such as inflammatory reactions as well as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Read my review on Mandelic Acid 5% Prep Water by Wishtrend.
Niacinamide is otherwise known as vitamin B3 and it’s one of the most potent anti-inflammatory ingredients in skincare.
It is ideal for treating blemishes due to its anti-inflammatory properties and can suppress the skin’s inflammatory response to calm redness, sores, and imperfections.
Niacinamide products also help encourage the production of ceramides that are a naturally present moisturizing factor in the skin.
Ceramides are the oils that protect your skin by forming a barrier to prevent pathogenic bacteria from entering into your pores.
This is also called a lipid barrier and will prevent moisturize from evaporating from the surface of your skin which can result in dryness and dehydration.
The benefits of moisture retention are extremely useful for oily and acne-prone skins because sufficient hydration will regulate the amount of oil the sebaceous glands produce and prevent them from going into overdrive and potentially clogging the pores.
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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