There are a lot of people who believe that putting toothpaste on their irritated, acne ridden skin will make it better or even cure it. It is true that in some cases this does work. It is also true, unfortunately, that it can make your existing acne problem a lot worse. So you are getting married in two days, or your prom is coming up; is it worth the risk?
As with most things in life, there are many factors at play here, and it is impossible to tell you exactly what the results will be for you. As long as you are aware of all the possible consequences, this might just help you out in time for your big day, but then again it might not. Read through this article and decide for yourself if putting toothpaste on your acne is really something that you can take a chance on.
To really understand what can go wrong, you need to understand exactly what it is that you are going to put on your skin. Wikipedia* states that 'Toothpaste' is a paste or gel dentifrice used with a toothbrush as an accessory to clean and maintain the aesthetics and health of teeth. Toothpaste is used to promote oral hygiene: it serves as an abrasive that aids in removing the dental plaque and food from teeth, assists in suppressing halitosis, and delivers active ingredients such as fluoride or xylitol to help prevent tooth and gum disease (gingivitis).
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Why toothpaste on pimples is not recommended?
Toothpaste normally consists of: Abrasives, Fluorides, Detergents and Flavorants (Colorants).
Abrasives help remove plaque from the teeth and to prevent cavities and periodontal disease. These abrasives can include: Aluminum hydroxide, Calcium carbonate, various Calcium hydrogen phosphates, various silicas and zeolites, and hydroxyapatite. Abrasives can damage skin cells and even block pores, causing new acne outbreaks.
Fluorides are the most popular active ingredient to prevent cavities. Sodium fluoride is the most common source of fluoride in toothpaste. Fluorides can irritate the skin, causing itching, redness and even swelling.
Surfactants or Detergents are mainly a foaming agent that enables the uniform distribution of toothpaste. These can also act as skin irritates and have the same effect on your skin as fluorides.
Flavorants give toothpaste its taste and colour; most common tastes are peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen. Other components are also added to prevent toothpaste to dry into a powder for example glycerol, sorbitol and xylitol. Depending on the specific flavorant compounds used, negative effects can range anywhere from minor irritation to blistering and allergic reactions.
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The concept of using toothpaste as a pimple treatment arose from the fact that many types of toothpaste contain triclosan. Triclosan, or Zinc chloride, is an antibacterial ingredient that effectively kills bacteria. It is also found in acne treatment products but as a preservative and not an active ingredient.
Toothpaste is said to dry out the acne as it contains alcohol. This is true and is why it is only to be considered a temporary fix and not a long-term solution. In the same way that toothpaste can dry out your acne it can also dry out your skin far more than is healthy.
Toothpaste has a different effect from person to person, on some it might dry out the pimples and on others it can have an adverse effect and irritate the already inflamed area making your acne much worse.
Some allergy-like symptoms can be seen in the form of redness, swelling, itchiness, discoloring and severe blistering. It can also aggravate your acne, causing your skin to have even more breakouts.
Now that you are aware of all the facts, you can make an educated decision to use or not to use toothpaste on such a delicate part of your body.