Once upon a time, I used toothpaste to get rid of pimples. It was what every magazine recommended. Back then, magazines were the only source of “wisdom” for a young girl. There was no internet to check out if all their recommendations were true. Had there been, I would have stayed clear of this particular trick. Here’s why:
Toothpaste can dry out pimples
I don’t know why people started using toothpaste as a spot treatment. Maybe a girl, while trying to get the last bit out of a toothpaste, accidentally squeezed too hard and had a dollop land on a pimple. Or maybe she noticed most toothpastes contain triclosan, an antibacterial agent used in many anti-acne products , and tried applying it on her pimple. However it happened, triclosan, and other ingredients used in toothpaste such as menthol, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol, can cause pimples to dry out. But that doesn’t mean you should use it.
Why you shouldn’t use toothpaste on pimples
All the ingredients mentioned above, and a few more such as Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which is commonly found in toothpastes too, can dry out pimples. But they can also dry out and irritate your skin. Worse, if you leave toothpaste on a pimple a little too long, you may even experience burning! Ouch! Is it worth risking all that when there are much more effective and safer spot treatments available? I don’t think so.
What to use instead
if you have oily, acne-prone skin, use an exfoliant with salicylic acid (it can penetrate inside the pores to unclog them) to prevent breakouts. Two of my favourite options are Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA and Philosphy Clear Days Ahead Oil-free Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment & Moisturizer.
If you already have a pimple, instead, opt for a spot treatment with benzoyl peroxide such as ProActiv Plus Emergency Blemish Relief or Serious Skin Care Clearz-It Acne Treatment (it contains tea tree oil too). If your blemishes are so stubborn they don’t respond to small concentrations of benzoyl peroxide, try something a more heavy duty, such as Clearasil DailyClear Vanishing Acne Treatment Cream (it contains a whooping 10%!).
Have you ever used toothpaste on pimples?