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Toothpaste And Acne | Does It Work?

Updated on February 2, 2012

Toothpaste And Acne

Does it work? Should you try it? Is it safe?

The answer you are looking for is – YES, toothpaste and acne can work! As to how effective it is and whether it is right for you is a different matter. After reading this you will be in a position to decide whether toothpaste on acne is right for you. Or, you will have followed the links for some helpful places to go for an alternative.

Is the combination of toothpaste and acne safe?

Is the combination of toothpaste and acne safe? YES it is safe – you are not going to die! However, use it wisely and with caution at first. Above all, don’t expect miracles.

There are thousands upon thousands of websites out there in ‘Google Land’ that tell you that toothpaste is the way to go in the fight against acne. There are just as many telling you how people have burnt their skin or how toothpaste and acne is just an old wives tale.

Here you will find a balanced approach to what you need to know. The first thing you need to know is that using toothpaste on acne is not a cure and it is not a long term solution.

A word of caution...

If you decide that toothpaste and acne is a partnership you want to try out, follow some basic tips:

  1. use a normal white toothpaste – NOT a gel variety
  2. choose a toothpaste with minimal additives (whitening chemicals and fluoride can cause burning or further irritation)
  3. DON’T rub the toothpaste into your skin – simply dab a small amount over the pimple to cover it and the surrounding area
  4. do not leave toothpaste on your face overnight
  5. find the right toothpaste – Crest is known to burn, whereas Aquafresh and Colgate are highly recommended by toothpaste and acne advocates

Using toothpaste on acne should be a last resort. By all means use it as a quick fix but if you are looking for a long term solution to your acne problem without daubs of toothpaste over your face, consult a specialist and try a recommended and proven treatment. There are better, more effective ways than toothpaste.

So why does toothpaste work on acne?

Many toothpastes contain the compounds menthol, or alcohol, which can dry your skin. This is where the zingy, fresh, minty feeling comes from as you brush your teeth. At first this sounds like a good idea, seeing as acne is caused by overproduction of oil within the pores – dry the skin, reduce to oils and reduce the pimple or zit, result!

However, these active ingredients can dry your skin too much, which is no good. Your skin could become damaged as a result, or just feel more uncomfortable than normal. You may feel a refreshing tingling sensation on your skin. Aah… a deep cleanse that feels great! Wrong. There is a chance that your skin is actually drying out and leading to more irritation and discomfort for you and your face.

Toothpaste can act like a mask, sitting over the pimple drawing out the oils and impurities. Toothpaste often contains triclosan. Triclosan is an antibacterial ingredient which is frequently added to hygiene skin care products, such as deodorant, soaps, shower gels. Triclosan effectively kills bacteria and can be found in many acne treatment products but as a preservative rather than an active ingredient. It is the presence of triclosan that leads people to believe that toothpaste helps to cure acne.

Why use toothpaste when there are a whole host of acne treatments on the market?

Well, first of all everybody has toothpaste (or at least they should!). It is available and relatively cheap. However, your doctor or health-care professional would not recommend it. So, if you want an effective, long term cure for your acne consult your doctor, look around for some over the shelf treatments. They do work but you need to find the right one for you. Acne treatments contain active ingredients that are proven to reduce acne.

The bottom line is this:

If you have a couple of problem zits and want a fast way to try to get rid of them, give toothpaste a go. It may work for you, it may not. If you are a long term sufferer of acne you should probably look elsewhere than in your bathroom for help. If you have tried over the counter treatments and they just don’t work for you try online. There are loads of places to try cost effective offers, articles, books.

And remember – You are not alone!


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Toothpaste does work, but then i've burnt my skin once!!! It depends on which stage acne is, It should never be an open pore, Acne should be closed to use toothpaste on it!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Great article. All of the information I was looking for.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      how long do you leave it on for?

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Just used the toothpaste treatmment and it leaves a slight burning sensation :p my pimple does feel refreshed though and hopefully in the morning it will look less red :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hope I will get some luck like you guys...LOL

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I love it... It works miricales. I use aquafresh

    • profile image

      Mischca Lee 

      6 years ago

      I found that colgate works. quite quickly too :) its kind of like an inexpensive spot treatment that works to clear stand-out zits.

    • S R Roberts profile imageAUTHOR

      S R Roberts 

      7 years ago from UK


      Thanks for letting us know. Its good to hear from someone who can confirm the theory!


    • viryabo profile image


      7 years ago

      It does work for me, and perfectly too. I have found that Colgate works better for me.

      However, i only need to use it occasionally when a larger than normal pimple appears, and it works within 48 hrs max!.

    • S R Roberts profile imageAUTHOR

      S R Roberts 

      7 years ago from UK

      Hi Kayha,

      Thanks for stopping by. Just out of interest, which toothpaste did you use?


    • kayha profile image


      7 years ago

      I have tried it and it works, but unfortunately it also leaves a (red/brown) spot behind. As you said, it may not work for everyone.


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