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Why You Shouldn't Use Toothpaste to Treat Acne

Why Using Toothpaste for Acne is Dangerous

Toothpaste for acne is a home remedy that many teenagers hear about from their parents. It has been touted as an inexpensive acne spot treatment, which dries pimples quickly and shrinks them overnight. So, does toothpaste help acne? This home remedy is more of a gimmick that may cause more harm to your skin than help it. Let’s take a closer look on why.

Toothpaste dries out the skin, causes irritation and skin soreness.

Toothpaste is not formulated to go on the skin but instead on your teeth. It contains hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, which dry out pimples[1]. The concentration of these two ingredients are particularly high and too harsh for the face. Teeth is made of minerals whereas, skin is made of cells which is more sensitive to harsh chemicals. In addition, many toothpastes have peppermint or spearmint, both come from menthol – an alcohol that can irritate the skin, causes itching and inflammation[2]. Thereupon, this will darken acne scars.

Toothpaste may cause chemical burns and contact dermatitis

toothpaste acne

There have been unfortunate circumstances where people who applied toothpaste on skin result in a chemical burn called contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is a red, itchy rash that is very uncomfortable[3]. This is caused by the release of inflammatory chemicals. As previously discussed, inflammation can make your acne worse and cause hyperpigmentation – darkening of the skin.

Toothpaste doesn’t kill acne-causing bacteria

The idea to use toothpaste came about probably because it contains ingredients that kill bacteria. One particular ingredient is known as triclosan, a preservative that can kill Propionibacterium acnes – the bacteria that causes acne[4]. Although studies have shown that triclosan can combat P. acnes, it must be formulated in a certain way to do so. No studies have shown that incorporating triclosan into toothpaste can treat acne.  Furthermore, triclosan has been banned from being added into hand soaps and body washes by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2016[5]. One reason is because it may contribute to antibiotic resistance and disrupt hormones and immunity. It has also been linked to cancer risk[6].

Alternatives to Toothpaste for Acne Treatment

It is best to stick with the try and true acne treatments. If you’re looking for inexpensive over the counter remedies, here is a good list to start with.

Combat comedones such as blackheads and whiteheads– Salicylic Acids

Anti-bacteria for acne pustules– Benzyl Peroxide

Combat overproduction of skin oil - Retinol

Improve acne scars – Retinol, Azelaic Acids, Niacinamide

Help support anti-inflammation for hormonal and cystic acneDermatrope Acne Supplement


cystic acne home remedy

Natural Herbs to Support Clear Skin