Does toothpaste get rid of spots? Skincare experts set the record straight
Toothpaste gets rid of spots is an old wives' tale we all heard growing up.
But is it actually a legitimate anti-spot treatment? Does toothpaste get rid of spots? Here's everything you need to know...
Does toothpaste get rid of spots?
Toothpaste has been used as a home remedy to get rid of spots because many brands contained an ingredient called Triclosan.
You see, triclosan contains an antimicrobial that helps kill acne-causing bacteria that lives on the skin. But is this really a technique experts advise?
If we reference the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), several studies have pointed out that triclosan can disrupt hormone levels. This is why most toothpaste brands have taken out the ingredient from their recipes.
But even without triclosan, toothpaste might still work to remove your pimples thanks to the "drying effect" of ingredients like baking soda and alcohol.
In fact, baking soda is a popular ingredient used to make DIY face scrubs to combat breakouts. But while this might decrease the size and redness of pimples, we still need to be cautious.
Do experts recommend toothpaste to get rid of spots?
The chemicals in toothpaste are much harsher than your regular face-cleansers or spot-creams. Unfortunately, this can leave many of us feeling dry and irritated in the places where we apply it to our skin.
And as we know, even oily, acne-prone skin will produce more pimples if any area of the face is irritated and dry.
Speaking to The Huffington Post, Dr Neal Schultz warned: "over-drying and even burning can occur on skin from applying it to pimples."
When asked who thought of this remedy in the first place, Dr Schultz guessed that it was by accident.
"It was probably discovered by somebody who got toothpaste on pimples near their mouth and saw that it helped cure the breakout," he said. "If you have access to traditional acne medication, I advise using that product over toothpaste."
Toothpaste can prove to be irritating to the skin
Toothpaste has a basic pH level and can irritate healthy skin, which has a naturally acidic pH.
Unfortunately, this could lead to rashes and burning.
Another ingredient that is often found in toothpaste is Sodium lauryl sulfate, which can be too harsh to be used on pimples.
It has been known to irritate sensitive skin.
What are the alternatives?
Over-the-counter products are your best bet to treat pesky flareups.
These products normally contain salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, or topical retinoids.
And you can find them in the form of face washes, moisturisers or masks in your local drug store.
But if you're in need of a quick fix, should you have an event coming up, you can also purchase a specific spot treatment. These can simply be dabbed on the pimple in question, and work to help reduce swelling and redness.
However, if you're dealing with chronic acne which affects your day-to-day life, it's best to consult a dermatologist or a healthcare professional.
What's the bottom line?
When it comes down to it, toothpaste is for teeth. It's not for our skin.
Anti-pimple products are developed by scientists who've specifically focused on combating zits for decades. On the other hand, toothpaste is formulated to remove plaque, whiten teeth and freshen breath.
So, if you're looking for something that works, opt for acne-specific products. And if in doubt, always consult a healthcare professional.
But what if you really insist on your high-school remedy? Zeichner suggests looking for toothpaste without added whiteners, mouthwash and colours as these can irritate your skin.
But just to repeat myself and the docs, you really should put the toothpaste down.