Pimples and Toothpaste As A Cure? Does It Work?

After reading the headline, you may wonder if you can actually cure your acne spots with toothpaste. It’s a myth you would be best to avoid trying. Acne spots can make people feel very self-conscious, but relying on videos instead of professional health advice may cause more problems. If you’re still wondering, let's look at the facts.

Myths, Facts and Reality

A misleading video uploaded to YouTube claimed you could reduce the size of acne spots by applying toothpaste to them. This video has clocked up millions of views as people from all over the world search for cures for their acne.

Dermatologists warn that this isn’t a sensible treatment for acne. They say that because toothpaste wasn’t designed for topical applications, it will irritate your skin.

A Youtube video about reducing acne spots with toothpaste

The information presented as fact by the video is said to be incorrect because there are specific ingredients in toothpaste detrimental to your skin.

The British Association of Dermatologists waded into the debate on the 6th of January 2020, by releasing a statement highlighting the false claim that we could use toothpaste as a treatment for acne spots.

They said, “FALSE! Toothpaste does include anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory ingredients, but it can be irritating to the skin and causes severe discoloration. You should instead use targeted acne treatments that are safe to apply to the skin.”

A post by The British Association of Dermatologists

This statement was similar to one released in 2019 by the Cleveland Clinic; a US based academic medical center. They stated that toothpaste was “not intended to be put directly on your face”.

A statement by Cleveland Clinic

Quoting from the statement, they said, many kinds of toothpaste contain ingredients like alcohol or baking soda that may help dry out a pimple. But toothpaste also contains other ingredients that aren’t intended to be put directly on your face. She cautions that using toothpaste to treat a pimple could irritate your skin.

Both statements from the professional medical bodies agree that toothpaste is not for skin issues like acne spots. The ingredients of toothpaste may appear to be assisting, but are more likely to cause skin irritation.

The British Association of Dermatologists mentioned that you should use products specific to the treatment of acne, which toothpaste clearly isn't. They say that a dab of benzoyl peroxide is the correct treatment. It can be bought from a drugstore in gel, cream or patch forms. This is specifically to kill the bacteria that clogs your pores, causing inflammation.

Be Cautious of Health Claims Online

A woman with acne

There are a lot of claims online like the YouTube video trying to extol the benefits of things like toothpaste for conditions it wasn’t designed for. You can be forgiven for being confused, especially with the saturation of medical advice being offered to you.

Remember, anyone can upload videos to platforms like YouTube and there isn’t necessarily any oversight looking at the validity of claims. The internet really is a dog-eat-dog world, taking advantage of anxiety.

It’s for this reason, the best piece of advice you can receive is to select information to read in order not to be confused with all the contradictory information. Read information from sources like the two examples in this article.

The last thing you want to happen is the acne spots get worse because the treatment wasn’t designed for being rubbed on your facial skin. Just like toothpaste is designed for oral health, there are products designed for eliminating acne spots.