Most of us have heard a number of beauty myths over the years that some seem to swear by. But one of the most prominent is that using toothpaste as a spot treatment will get rid of pimples overnight. Now, to be fully honest, I've tried this hack, back when I was in university, and I got mixed results, so it never became a staple in my routine. However, I did have friends who decided to ditch what they thought was "overpriced" zit cream for a tube of Colgate whenever they had breakouts. So after years and years of debate, it's time to finally put this burning question to rest: Can toothpaste get rid of pimples? The experts aren't exactly convinced.
Dermatologist and Director of Cosmetic and Clinical Research at Mount Sinai in New York City, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, tells Elite Daily that while toothpaste has been reported to help treat pimples, it's not the best option. "Toothpaste used to contain an ingredient called triclosan, which has antimicrobial properties," he says. "It is a common cause of allergic reaction which is why it is no longer used in toothpaste formulas."
However, Dr. Zeichner does explain that toothpaste may be OK to use in an emergency, but it can cause the skin to become irritated. Instead, he recommends opting for more traditional acne products, like Neutrogena's On-the-Spot Acne Treatment, which contains 2.5 percent benzoyl peroxide — a key acne-fighting ingredient.
Erin Norden, creator of Clean Beauty Market, an e-commerce site offering clean beauty brands from around the world, also told the Daily Mail's Femail that she's not a fan of using toothpaste on the skin, either. "Toothpaste applied on the skin disrupts the acid mantle," she said. "People apply it to a blemish thinking it will dry the pimple out but what it does is irritate the skin and causes redness."
The expert also shut down a number of other so-called beauty hacks that she said aren't the best solutions when it comes to achieving clear skin, like applying egg whites to the face as a mask. "You'd need to be wary of bacteria spreading to the skin potentially also, given raw eggs have the danger of containing salmonella," she explained, adding that there isn't evidence that eggs can even penetrate the skin.
And if you're into DIY body or face scrubs, Norden may have some bad news for you as well. "Sugar and salt crystals have harsh edges which can potentially tear the skin if one isn't careful, which can lead to irritation and dryness," she said. "Baking soda is also one to be wary of. It's actually quite a harsh ingredient to apply to the skin and can disrupt the pH balance of your skin and strip your skin, making it vulnerable to bacterial infection and irritation in the way of inflamed and itchy skin." Yikes!
So while dealing with breakouts is definitely not ideal, keep in mind that getting pimples well into adulthood is totally normal. But if your condition is worsening or has become severe, it may be a good idea to see a professional before opting for a home remedy.