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How to Use Toothpaste to Get Rid of Acne Fast

by Christine GlasgowMay 11, 2017

How to use toothpaste for acne

Having pimples and acne is never fun. Watching a pimple pop up the day before a big date or a very important interview can, for many of us, be a nightmare scenario. Even though often the pimple won’t look as bad to others as it does to you in the mirror – where it looks like it is just SCREAMING look at me – yes, there’s a good chance they will notice it.

It’s also very fair – and not at all silly – to say that a badly timed pimple like this can be a real confidence sapper. You’ve got your best outfit planned, you’ve scheduled the big event to go as smoothly as possible, your hair looks great, your teeth look great, but that pimple? Urgh, it feel like it’s ruining everything.

The Emergency Pimple Plan

Once (almost) over the initial ‘pimple shock’ most of us will then pull ourselves together and start trying to brainstorm a solution. A quick solution. There’s no time for a gradual acne treatment to begin to do its work. There’s no time to go hunting the stores, either online or off, for that acne treatment you saw advertised on TV the other day either. So what are you going to do?

Then, from somewhere at the back of your mind you remember that you once heard that toothpaste could dry out a pimple fast. And the good news is that there is a tube of that sitting right in your bathroom. But will the idea really work or is it just another crazy old wives’ tale or, to give it a more modern spin, silly social media hoax? And if you do give it a try could it actually do more harm than good? Let’s start from the beginning and take a look to find out.

How Could Toothpaste Possibly Help Get Rid of a Pimple?

As is the case for many ‘home remedies’ for acne the key to why toothpaste may be able to get rid of a pesky pimple lies in its basic ingredients and how they can interact with the offending acne. Specifically, the right kind of toothpaste (more about that in a moment) contains all – or at least some – of the following ingredients that can help clear up a pimple fast:

Those of you who are used to dealing with common acne products probably recognize at least a couple of those ingredients as those used in other acne remedies, especially the triclosan. The surprise for most is that they can be found in toothpaste!

How Does Toothpaste Work to Get Rid of a Pimple?

A dab of toothpaste can get to work on a stubborn acne pimple in a number of different ways:

  • Toothpaste has the ability to ‘dry out’ pimples which helps them heal faster and become less noticeable
  • The triclosan in your toothpaste is an antibacterial agent that will help kill acne causing bacteria
  • The baking soda in your toothpaste helps calm inflammation and re-balance the skin’s natural PH levels.
  • Silica is a mild skin healing agent that may also help reduce the risk of scarring
  • Hydrogen peroxide deep cleanses pores and also boasts mild antibacterial properties.

5 Top Tips for Choosing the Right Acne Fighting Toothpaste

OK, we admit, the term acne fighting toothpaste sounds really strange but hey, in this instance that is exactly what you want it to do right? How effective the ‘toothpaste treatment’ will be on your stubborn pimples does depend however on what kind of toothpaste you use. Here are five tips to keep in mind to help you make the right choice.

  • Get the White Stuff – The toothpaste you choose should be the ‘old fashioned’ white paste kind. The additives in many colored toothpastes can actually cause allergic reactions in some who have sensitive skin and can cause minor damage to anyone’s skin.
  • Read the Ingredient List – Make sure that the toothpaste you use to get rid of a pimple actually contains the ingredients that allow it to do so. Remember these are rarely listed as active ingredients so you’ll have to check the very small print.
  • Forget the Gel Stuff – Gel toothpaste is very popular these days but it is NOT the kind you should be using to treat acne. It has different ingredients to traditional pastes and many people who have tried to use it to get rid of acne have found that it can actually burn their skin.
  • Try Going Organic – Organic toothpastes contain no artificial additives or colors but they do tend to contain lots of baking soda to dry out the pimple as well as natural pimple fighters like tea tree oil, aloe, myrrh, menthol and eucalyptus oil. These toothpastes are usually best for those with sensitive skin if you are going to try this ‘pimple trick’.

How to Use Toothpaste to Get Rid of Acne

So, you have the right toothpaste and a big problem pimple you are desperate to get rid of fast. You want to try using toothpaste to get rid of it. So what is the best way to go about doing so?

  • Ensure that you cleanse your entire face well before you begin.
  • Ensure that your hands, especially your fingers and nail beds, are scrupulously clean to avoid transferring bacteria from them to your skin.
  • Squeeze a small dab of toothpaste onto your fingertip.
  • Apply the paste directly to the pimple you want to treat.
  • Don’t rub the toothpaste into the skin, just dab it on.
  • Leave toothpaste in place for at least 3 hours but if at all possible overnight for the best results.
  • Rinse off thoroughly with lukewarm water.
  • Repeat, if necessary, once a day but no more than four times in one week.

Warnings About Using Toothpaste to Get Rid of Acne

As we have mentioned, using toothpaste to get rid of an acne pimple is an emergency only measure that should only ever be considered in a pinch. This is because as an acne treatment it does have more than its fair share of cons:

  • Toothpaste can cause skin reactions that are worse than the pimple being treated. These can include itching, burning, and, most commonly, over-drying of the skin.
  • It is hard to find the ‘right’ toothpaste, so if you have to shop for it then you’d be better off shopping for a proper acne treatment instead (unless perhaps your only choice is the 24 hour convenience aisle at the gas station.
  • Unless you are using an organic paste that only has all natural ingredients then there are all kinds of extras in modern toothpastes that can damage skin or cause unusual allergic reactions.

It is for these reasons that using this method of getting rid of an acne pimple really should only ever be used very sparingly and as a last resort.

Alternatives to Toothpaste to Zap Pimples Fast

OK, so you’ve read all of our warnings but your regular acne treatment specifically says that it will take a while to work and you need something that will work now, or at last as quickly as possible. So, if toothpaste can be a bad idea what alternatives do you have? Here are just a few suggestions:

Benzoyl Peroxide Cream

A dab of the benzoyl peroxide cream that can be found at most drug stores and some supermarkets can be just as effective as toothpaste to dry out a pimple fast when applied in the same manner.

Tea Tree Oil and Baking Soda Paste

Two of the ingredients in toothpaste that can help dry up a pimple fast are baking soda and tea tree oil. So skip the toothpaste and simply create a paste using those two ingredients only.

What You’ll Need

  • Tea tree oil (available at most health food stores and some supermarkets)
  • Baking soda (available almost anywhere)
  • A mixing bowl
  • Cotton bud

How It’s Done

  • Add 1 teaspoon of baking soda to mixing bowl
  • Dropper in tea tree oil, stirring all the time
  • When you have a thick paste, stop adding oil.
  • Using cotton bud, dab mixture onto pimple
  • Leave on for 3 to 4 hours, or for best results overnight.

Aspirin Paste

Have no tea tree oil and the baking soda box is empty? Before you reach for the toothpaste consider trying this instead if you have a couple of aspirins in your medicine cabinet. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, a known acne fighter but it has to be the real thing, not ibuprofen or acetaminophen (Tylenol or Advil)

What You’ll Need

  • 3 Aspirin tablets
  • Water
  • A mixing bowl
  • A soup spoon
  • A cotton bud

How It’s Done

  • Place the aspirin tablets in the bottom of the mixing bowl.
  • Crush them with the back of the soup spoon until you have a fine powder
  • Dropper in water, stirring all the time.
  • Stop adding water when you have a thick paste.
  • Apply paste to pimple using cotton bud
  • Leave on for 3-4 hours or overnight
  • Rinse off using lukewarm water.

A Last Word

Toothpaste can be an effective way to get rid of an acne pimple fast but it really is a last ditch measure. There are a lot of safer ways to treat acne and we really do suggest trying them instead. That being said, have you ever tried using toothpaste to treat a stubborn acne pimple? If so how did it work out or you? Let us know, we’d love to hear what you have to say!

Christine Glasgow
Canadian girl addicted to beauty and fashion. I'm a Blogger, Entrepreneur and web influencer 👑 I mostly talk about anything related to skin care and beauty. I created this site to share science-based information on skin conditions, treatments and skin care.

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