Toothpaste on pimples: why you should avoid it

Dec 4, 2019 | | Say something
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Many people have tried using toothpaste as a local treatment for annoying spots, but it could do more harm than good.

This particular home remedy has no scientific support, and it is difficult to determine its exact origin.

Toothpaste may seem like an effective local treatment because it contains drying agents and antibacterial compounds. However, the ingredients in toothpaste may have more risks than benefits when it comes to skin care.

Read this article to learn more about the risks of using toothpaste as a treatment for pimples. We also provide some ideas for alternative remedies and treatments.

toothpaste in the tub that should not be used on pimples Share on Pinterest
The ingredients in some toothpastes can be aggressive to the skin.

Historically, toothpaste contained an antibacterial agent called triclosan. However, in 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned triclosan as an ingredient in antiseptic washes after finding evidence that suggests that it can lower thyroid hormone levels and potentially contribute to antibiotic resistance.

In early 2019, commercially available toothpaste no longer contains triclosan.

Toothpaste contains many ingredients that benefit dental health, such as:

  • glycerin
  • sorbitol
  • calcium carbonate
  • sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS)
  • baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

However, many of these ingredients are too hard to use on the skin. People may discover that toothpaste irritates or dries the skin. This effect could be particularly dangerous for people with dry or sensitive skin.

Having too dry skin can stimulate excess oil production, which in turn could trigger more spots of spots and pimples.

Having a new emerging pimple the night before a big event or experiencing a stubborn break that lasts for weeks can be frustrating. However, before people look for their toothpaste, they may want to consider the following alternative remedies against pimples.

People who experience frequent outbreaks may try using over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription acne treatments.

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Although these treatments can be highly effective, they can also cause side effects and may not be suitable for everyone. A person should work with a doctor or dermatologist to find the best treatment for them.

Over-the-counter treatments generally work well for mild to moderate acne breakouts and pimples. These treatments come in various forms, including gels, creams and cleansers, and generally contain the following ingredients:

  • salicylic acid
  • benzoyl peroxide
  • alpha hydroxy acids
  • sulfur
  • carbon

Doctors can prescribe topical or oral treatments for people who have severe acne. Some of these medications include:

  • oral isotretinoin
  • oral minocycline
  • topical tretinoin
  • topical or oral clindamycin
  • oral antibiotics
  • oral contraceptive pills

In a 2019 comparative study, researchers discovered that herbal extracts were as effective in treating acne as a solution containing 2.5% benzoyl peroxide. In this particular study, those who use herbal extracts were also more satisfied with the treatment. Below are some examples of natural remedies for pimples and spots:

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil comes from Melaleuca alternifolia tree. The compounds in tea tree oil have powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, which can help kill acne-causing bacteria and soothe irritated skin.

In a 2016 pilot study, researchers asked 14 people between the ages of 16 and 39 with moderate acne to use tea tree oil products twice a day. Tea tree oil products reduced the number of acne lesions by 54% after 12 weeks.

Four of the participants experienced mild side effects, such as mild itching and moderate peeling, peeling and dryness. However, these side effects disappeared within a few days.

In a 2018 randomized trial, 60 people between the ages of 14 and 34 with mild to moderate facial acne received one of the following treatments:

  • Natural acne treatment that contains 3% tea tree oil, 20% propolis and 10% aloe vera.
  • Acne cream containing 3% erythromycin
  • placebo
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The researchers concluded that the natural treatment that contained tea tree oil was significantly more effective than the other two treatments.

aloe vera

The aloe vera plant contains at least 75 different minerals, amino acids and vitamins. These compounds promote wound healing, reduce skin irritation and inflammation and prevent skin infections.

The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial compounds in aloe vera can help fight imperfections.

In a 2019 study, 60 participants with mild to moderate acne received a natural gel containing aloe vera, mangosteen peel and camellia tea extracts or a 1% clindamycin gel. Participants used these products twice a day for 28 days.

Participants who used the natural gel experienced significant reductions in skin redness, hyperpigmentation and the number of acne lesions compared to those in the group using clindamycin gel.

However, some people may experience adverse skin reactions to pure aloe vera and the commercial products that contain it. It is advisable to perform a skin patch test before using aloe vera on the face.

Read more about the use of aloe vera for pimples here.

Prebiotics and probiotics.

Many of the billions of microbes that live on the skin play a vital role in wound healing and fighting infections. Researchers have found evidence that links imbalances in the skin's microbiota with numerous skin conditions, such as eczema, psoriasis and acne.

In a 2018 study, researchers found that bacterial gender balances were different in people who had severe acne. These people also had lower levels of beneficial intestinal bacteria than participants without acne.

The growing awareness of the gut and skin microbiomes and how they influence people's overall health has led many researchers and manufacturers to believe that manipulating the microbiome could improve skin health.

Prebiotics are dietary fibers that feed beneficial bacteria. Probiotics are strains of live bacteria that can help increase the amount of beneficial bacteria on the skin and prevent the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

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In a 2013 study, researchers found that oral supplementation with a probiotic strain called Lactobacillus paracasei It reduces the sensitivity of the skin and improves the skin's natural barrier function.

In 2014, an 8-week trial with 34 people found that fermented cypress, another probiotic, appeared to be more effective than tea tree oil to reduce the amount of acne lesions and decrease oil production.

These preliminary findings suggest that prebiotics and probiotics may be effective alternatives to current acne medications.

Read more about some remedies to remove pimples quickly here.

It is not a good idea to use toothpaste as a treatment for pimples and acne. Although toothpaste contains ingredients that keep the mouth clean and prevent dental diseases, it does not follow that it benefits the skin in the same way.

The chemicals in toothpaste can irritate the skin, causing dryness that can stimulate the sebaceous glands in the face. Excessive oil production can cause new or worsening acne breakouts.

Instead of toothpaste, people who fight against pimples may consider using an over-the-counter acne treatment or an herbal extract, such as tea tree oil or aloe vera.

People who have severe acne can talk to a dermatologist about other prescription treatment options.


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