Is there anything worse than finding a new zit? Um, yes — finding a new zit and immediately realizing you ran out of spot treatment.
You’ve probably heard that a dab of toothpaste can clear a pimple when you’re in a pinch, which sounds like a pretty sweet life hack — after all, you can pretty much find toothpaste anywhere, anytime. (Not to mention it’s a lot cheaper than most spot treatments.)
But none of that matters if it doesn’t actually work, so is there any truth to this home remedy? Here’s what you need to know.
There *is* some science behind putting toothpaste on pimples.
The idea of using toothpaste to treat acne isn’t totally baseless. A few common ingredients in toothpaste — like baking soda, peroxide, and alcohol — can help dry out a pimple. Some brands also contain triclosan, an ingredient that fights bacteria. So, yes, the tube of toothpaste on your bathroom counter does have a few ingredients that can help with pimples. But there’s a catch…
Toothpaste isn’t meant for skin.
That’s not a dealbreaker on its own, since plenty of beauty products can pull double duty. (I mean, lip balm on cracked cuticles = total lifesaver.) But your skin is a teensy bit more delicate than your teeth, and some ingredients in toothpaste — like fluoride and methnol — can cause skin irritation, especially if you have sensitive skin.
“Toothpaste can irritate the skin and cause allergic contact dermatitis, especially if it’s flavored — which most are,” says Lauren Ploch, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at Georgia Dermatology & Skin Cancer Center.
Stick with the real deal.
Sure, you may be able to find a brand of toothpaste that’s free of harsh ingredients and doesn’t irritate your skin — but it’s better to wait until you can get to the drugstore and restock your spot treatment. Dr. Ploch recommends looking for one that contains benzoyl peroxide, an antibacterial ingredient that will help dry out the pimple and unclog blocked pores. (In a serious pimple emergency — say, the day before you take your yearbook photo — your derm can inject the zit with an anti-inflammatory steroid to shrink it, Dr. Ploch says.)
Until then, stick with regular cleanser, and dab the zit with an ice cube to ease any painful inflammation.
Bottom line, there are a few ingredients in toothpaste that can be effective in fighting acne on their own — but it also contains harsh ingredients that can irritate your skin and make your pimple even redder and angrier. Your best bet is to stick with skin care products that are made for the job.
Originally created from here.