Does Toothpaste Work On Pimples?

Many people have tried to use toothpaste for pesky blemishes as a spot aid, but it may do more harm than good. There is no empirical evidence for this specific home remedy, and it is hard to trace its exact roots. Toothpaste, since it contains drying agents and antibacterial compounds, may seem to be an effective spot treatment. When it comes to skin care, however the ingredients in toothpaste can have more drawbacks than benefits.

Historically, an antibacterial agent called triclosan was used in toothpaste. However, after finding evidence to indicate that it can suppress thyroid hormone levels and potentially lead to antibiotic resistance, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prohibited triclosan as an ingredient in antiseptic washes in 2017.

As of early 2019, there is no triclosan in commercially used toothpaste anymore. Many ingredients that support dental health include toothpaste, such as:

  • glycerin
  • Sorbitol Sorbitol
  • Carbonate calcium
  • SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)
  • (baking soda) sodium bicarbonate

Many of these ingredients, however, are too harsh to be used on the skin. People can discover that toothpaste irritates their skin or dries it out. For those with dry or sensitive skin, this effect may be especially harmful.

Excess oil production can be stimulated by getting excessively dry skin, which could in turn cause more breakouts of spots and pimples.

The night before a major event, seeing a new pimple pop up or enduring a stubborn breakout that lingers for weeks on end can be frustrating. However they may wish to suggest the following alternative pimple remedies instead before individuals reach for their toothpaste.

Toothpaste can be irritating to your skin

Note, toothpaste is made for your teeth, not for the delicate surface of your skin. So while the strength of the chemicals in your toothpaste may be healthy on your pearly whites, they may be too strong for your skin. “Toothpaste has a basic pH [level] and can irritate healthy skin with a naturally acidic pH,” says Shainhouse. Upset your pH with too much baking soda could lead to rashes and burning.


Sodium lauryl sulfate, another ingredient widely used in toothpaste, can be too harsh to be used on blemishes. Some have been known to irritate the skin, depending on the sensitivity.

Overdrying could backfire

And if you manage to stop discomfort, there are other potential adverse reactions. For example, if your skin gets too dry with toothpaste, it may cause more acne.

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