Uh oh. Did you wake up with a big, gigantic pimple on your forehead?! If you’ve got big plans in the next 24 hours, you’re probably scrambling to figure out a fast way to get rid of zits on your face. An old hack that some people recommend is putting toothpaste on pimples. But does toothpaste help with acne or actually make it worse?!
A generation or two ago, a lot of people would say to put toothpaste on pimples if you needed a fast way to manage a breakout. While it’s true that some ingredients in toothpaste can help with inflammation, it’s important to remember that the formula is designed for hard tooth enamel and not your delicate facial skin! Putting it on a pimple could actually backfire on you and cause side effects and more irritation than relief. If you’re getting photos taken or have a big event planned, that’s the last thing you want. Plus acne products with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid are way more effective than using toothpaste on a pimple.
Many moons ago, the ingredients inside toothpaste were different than today. Putting toothpaste on your skin a few decades ago might have helped with pimples then, but it’s basically outdated information that continues to be handed down in the general public. One reason why people used toothpaste on large pimples was that a lot of the toothpaste brands used to contain an ingredient called triclosan. Triclosan is still found in some medical products because of its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. But it’s not in as many kinds of toothpaste as it used to be. (Some people also say that toothpaste with peroxide in it helps to dry out big pimples, so they continue to use it.)
Too many oral bacteria will eventually lead to gum inflammation, or gingivitis. When you have gingivitis, your body has naturally elevated levels of Propionibacterium. And Propionibacterium is the same type of bacteria that we see in pimples! When someone isn’t caring for their teeth and gums as they should, they might also be exhibiting more acne on their face than their peers. A lot of it boils down to your daily home care routine.
Your face isn’t the only thing that will thank you when you start brushing and flossing more frequently. Improved oral health also reduces your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and reproductive health issues, among others.
If you can’t put toothpaste on pimples, what can you do? A proper dental routine and a real acne treatment will do wonders!
Make sure you’re brushing your teeth for a minimum of two minutes, twice a day. Focus on the gumlines, where plaque tends to be the heaviest. If your gums bleed, it’s almost positively because of a gum infection due to plaque buildup. Continue brushing thoroughly and flossing at least once a day and you should see improvement in your oral health within at least two weeks.
Use a non-abrasive cleanser every day to remove oils, dirt, and gently exfoliate your skin. You can use your fingers or a soft washcloth and lukewarm water. Try to avoid scrubbing too hard, as it could irritate your skin and cause additional redness. Wash your face at least once a day, if not both morning and night. Be sure to remove any makeup before bedtime.
Your skin needs a delicate balance in oils and pH levels to minimize breakouts. A toner and appropriate moisturizer will help even out your skin tone and reduce how many pimples or blackheads you tend to get in the future.
If you can’t use toothpaste to treat pimples, what else is it good for?! Yes, toothpaste is best for teeth, but there are plenty of other hacks you might still find useful, such as:
Got Foggy Headlights? Use a little toothpaste on a cloth or sponge and scrub in a circular motion then rinse it right off.
No Magic Erasers? If your toddler colored on the wall, use a little toothpaste to gently clean off their artwork.
Guest forget to use a coaster? Use toothpaste on the water ring, then follow up with your favorite wood polish.
Still Own/Use CDs? If your disk is scratched and you still need it, rub a little toothpaste over the area in a gentle, circular motion, then wipe it clean.
Clean White Sneakers or Scuffs. White shoes don’t stay white for long, do they? Use a little toothpaste and a toothbrush to clean them up and they’ll look better in no time.
Fog-proof Your Goggles or Mirrors. Some people use toothpaste as an anti-fog treatment on bathroom mirrors, swimming goggles, or other protective eyewear to prevent it from fogging up. Baby shampoo works too.
Getting Gum Out of Hair. It happens to the best of us. If you (or your child) have gum stuck in your hair, rub toothpaste all over that area, let it sit for a few minutes, then gently pull it out.
It could be buildup on your keyboard, piano keys, or even a coffee mug. The micro-abrasives in toothpaste help lift the surface residue off of whatever it is, so that it looks cleaner than just wiping it with a washcloth.
Putting toothpaste on pimples won’t help as much as you may hope it does. In reality, it could just irritate your face and make things worse. The better option is to promote healthy skin with a good oral hygiene and face care routine to limit the bacteria and oils responsible for causing breakouts. But there are still plenty of other useful hacks you can get out of using toothpaste around your house. Just try not to use it on your face!
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