Why You Shouldnt Use Toothpaste to Get Rid of Pimples

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

It’s a legit question. When I was 15, I read in a magazine (hey, we didn’t have the internet back then!) that putting toothpaste on pimples would get rid of them.

I know, it sounds crazy. But if you were a young and clueless teenager desperate to get the attention of that cute guy next door, wouldn’t you try it? You know what: it worked.

But that doesn’t mean you should do it. Here’s what really happens when you put toothpaste on pimples (hint: it’s NOT good):

Why Did People Start Using Toothpaste For Pimples?

Believe it or not, toothpaste is an effective treatment for pimples. Thank Triclosan for that. It’s an antibacterial agent you’ll find both in toothpaste and anti-acne treatments.

Triclosan dries out pimples, making them disappear faster. It doesn’t play alone either. Other common toothpaste ingredients, like menthol, hydrogen peroxide, and alcohol, do the same thing.

Does Toothpaste Help Pimples?

Here’s the thing: you can’t dry out pimples without drying out and irritating your skin, too.

That’s not even the worst of it. Leave that toothpaste on your pimple a little too long and your skin could literally burn. Ouch!

I’m not kidding. Just because an ingredient is safe in a toothpaste, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want with it. Things that are safe for their intended use can turn nasty when you use them for stuff you shouldn’t…

Is it worth risking all that when there are much more effective and safer spot treatments available? Thought so.

The Fastest Way To Get Rid Of Pimples

In my experience, nothing gets rid of pimples faster than sulfur. This natural mineral plays an essential role in the health of your skin. It’s especially good at keeping acne away. Here’s how:

  • It has antibacterial properties, so it kills the bacteria that cause acne
  • It helps prevents acne-causing bacteria from spreading
  • It helps exfoliate dead skin cells, accelerating cellular turnover and preventing breakouts
  • It helps dry out blemishes
  • It helps reduce oiliness, keeping breakouts at bay

Whenever I use a spot treatmet with sulfur, I can get rid of pimples in two days. It’s that powerful!

The catch? Sulfur is very drying and irritating. Brands will tell you you can safely use sulfur treatments as masks, but don’t fall for it. Sulfur is a spot treatment only!

P.S. If sulfur is too harsh for you, try Benzoyl Peroxide. It has antibacterial properties that kills the bacteria that give you acne. The best part? Bacteria don’t grow resistant to it. Again, use it on pimples only.

Best Picks:

  • Epionce Purifying Spot Gel ($38.00): available at at Dermstore
  • Indie Lee Blemish Lotion ($26.00): available at Blue Mercury, Dermstore and The Detox Market
  • La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo Dual Action Acne Treatment ($36.95): Dermstore and Feel Unique
  • Paula’s Choice Clear Daily Skin Clearing Treatment With 5% benzoyl peroxide ($18.00): Dermstore, Nordstrom and Paula’s Choice

The Bottom Line

Putting toothpaste on pimples isn’t a good idea. It’s true it can help you shrink them and make them go away faster, but the price to pay for that is serious irritation. Heck, in the worst case scenario it can burn your skin! Stay safe and opt for a dermatologist-approved spot treatment, like sulfur or Benzoyl Peroxide.

Have you ever used toothpaste on pimples? Share your experience in the comments below.

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