Many people claim that treating pimples with toothpaste will cure them. Is this fact or fiction? Can putting such an ordinary household substance like toothpaste on pimples really work? Moreover, how could it possibly work?
Acne is an infection of the skin caused when miniscule holes on the skins surface, which are called pores become blocked. Each pore has an opening to a canal called a follicle containing an oil gland and a hair. Normally, these glands, known as sebaceous glands produce sebum, which helps remove dead skin cells and keep the skin lubricated. When these glands produce an excess of sebum, the pores becomes blocked and accumulate bacteria, dirt, and other debris. This blockage is known as a comedome or a plug.
Toothpaste is designed to prevent tooth decay, strengthen the teeth, reduce any build up of dental plaque, clean the teeth, as well as eliminate all bad breath. It is specifically formulated and marketed with that goal in mind.
Fluoride is the major active ingredient in toothpaste. Fluoride protects the tooth enamel from a process known as demineralization caused by acids, which have formed when sugar and bacteria in your mouth mix. Also, if the teeth have already been damaged by this acid, fluoride will accumulate in the damaged areas and begin strengthening the enamel in a process known as remineralization. Fluoride can be present in toothpaste in several forms, depending on the manufacturer. The two most common forms sodium fluoride and sodium monofluorophosphate can cause irritation to the skin and even cause the skin to blister.
Other ingredients of toothpaste include alcohols and biocides designed to kill the bacteria causing dental plaque and gingivitis, menthol to freshen the breath, food extracts as flavourants and tiny micro beads that assist in the scrubbing action and removal of plaque.
The first reaction of toothpaste when applied to your skin is to dry it out. This is all well and good, and will definitely help your acne as its drying up excess oils. However, the fluorides in the toothpaste may cause your skin to itch, feel scaly, appear red, and even to blister which may result in your skin being more unsightly than it was from the acne alone. The other ingredients may also further irritate your skin. The biocides in toothpaste are designed to kill bacteria found within the mouth and may have no effect on the bacteria present of the surface of the skin. The micro beads present in some toothpastes could potentially enter the pores and clog them further.
Therefore, although toothpaste could potentially treat your acne, it is more likely to increase your skin problems and do more damage than it cures.