Does Putting Toothpaste on Pimples Work?
I woke up calmly one morning, stretched, and lay for a moment in the pool of warm sunlight collecting on my bed. I knew instinctively that it was going to be a good day. Or at least I thought I knew!
I padded into the bathroom, rummaged in my drawer for my toothpaste and toothbrush, and looked up contentedly at my reflection in the mirror. That's when I knew it was actually going to be a horrible day. An angry red pimple had appeared on the side of my chin, and not only was it visibly unappealing, but it hurt too!
Carefully applied makeup got me through the day, but when I got home, I was desperate for quick remedies to make the unsightly blemish go away. After calling my mom and asking some friends for advice, I decided on using toothpaste. It may sound strange, but toothpaste dried up the skin and pimple, and by the next morning, the angry red spot was visibly reduced.
Why Does Toothpaste Get Rid of Pimples?
Toothpaste contains many different chemicals depending on the brand and purpose. A lot of brands contain baking soda and whitening chemicals that will dry out your skin quickly. This is good for the occasional pimple, but toothpaste can seriously dry out your entire face if you use it regularly or all over.
Toothpaste is also designed to give you fresh breath, which it does by killing the bacteria in your mouth. If it can kill the bacteria in your mouth, it can also kill the bacteria that cause some types of pimples.
If you think your pimple may be caused by stress or an ingrown hair, toothpaste might not be as effective, but it's definitely worth a shot!
What Kind of Toothpaste Should I Use?
Gel toothpaste is not as effective against pimples as are more abrasive, opaque toothpastes. Go for a simple, opaque, one-color type of toothpaste. I prefer Crest or Colgate because I'm a bit of a brand snob, but any non-gel toothpaste works the same.
White toothpastes contain fewer chemicals and colors and in some cases may even be cheaper. These will work fine and their appearance is much the same as typical acne cremes, so it won't seem so weird for you to be rubbing toothpaste on your face!
Do not try to 'lance' your pimple with a needle, even if it is sterile! You can cause scarring and the pimple may stick around for a lot longer! Just keep the area clean and avoid touching it as much as possible.
Just like you wouldn't be the person to walk around in public with curlers in your hair, you don't want to be the person to walk around with toothpaste on your face. But you don't want walk around with a pimple either!
If you're a girl, you can easily cover it with a light dab of carefully blended concealer, which you can then cover with a light brush of powder that also matches the surrounding skin tone. If you're a guy and have no fear of judgement or just happen to be skilled with makeup products, covering your pimple for the duration of the day (assuming you woke up with it) is also an option.
When you get home, thoroughly—but gently!—wash the affected area with hot soap and water. Make sure to wash your hands, fingertips, and nails extremely well also if you don't have access to sterile gloves. Lightly move your fingertip up and down against the toothpaste so you don't get too much. Gently rub the first layer into the pimple until most of it is blended in to the skin.
Dab your finger again and layer a second layer of toothpaste over top of the pimple. This layer should be visible, but not caked on. Go to bed or wait several hours before peeling or gently washing the toothpaste off. You may feel some slight burning at first, but this is normal. If it continues, you just have very sensitive skin, and you should wash it off.
If you see improvements in redness but aren't satisfied, wait a few hours before applying again. If it didn't work at all (and it might not), you can try again, but you may just have a stubborn pimple or the toothpaste treatment may not be right for you.
Have you ever used toothpaste on a pimple?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.