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The problems with using toothpaste to remove a pimple

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Model Gigi Hadid does. Actresses Selena Gomez and Amanda Seyfried do it too. Olivia Munn also used to apply toothpaste to her pimples, but has since become aware of this acne treatment hack. The stars, they are like us, at least when it comes to falling in love with old tales of beauty.

Putting toothpaste on a pimple might have been enough for the day, but it also irritates your skin. And today, we have safe, scientifically proven spot treatments designed to fight acne – specifically, the antibacterial benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid. They are sold in the same stores that you buy your toothpaste from. Just keep them away from your fancy towels.

Why acne pimple patches are ‘here to stay’

The idea of ​​putting toothpaste on a pimple isn’t totally unfounded. “Many toothpastes contain ingredients that can target bacteria and help shrink and dry out pimples, such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda,” says Shadi Kourosh, assistant professor of dermatology at Harvard. Medical School and board-certified dermatologist at Sadick Dermatology in New York. York. “It’s understandable that people tried this as a home remedy, especially back when we had better options for spot treatments for acne.”

But part of the toothpaste’s antibacterial effect may be due to triclosan, an antiseptic that the Food and Drug Administration recently banned because of its potentially negative health effects.

“There are also other ingredients in toothpaste, such as fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate, and flavoring agents that could irritate the skin and cause allergies,” Kourosh says.

“It’s much better and more consistent to use something that actually has a mechanism of action, that’s been studied, and that’s based on data, not anecdotes,” says Joel Cohen, board-certified dermatologist and director of AboutSkin Dermatology in Denver.

“An acne-targeting product, such as benzoyl peroxide, will not only help kill bacteria in your pimples, but will also work as an anti-inflammatory to reduce swelling and redness,” Cohen says. He says salicylic acid will also help open up skin follicles, remove dead debris from pores, and reduce some of the oil production. Can your toothpaste do this? No. “These products only cost a few dollars and all the major skin care companies make them.”

Acne is not just a problem in adolescence

You will find spot treatment products containing benzoyl peroxide in amounts ranging from 2.5 to 10 percent. If you have sensitive skin, Kourosh recommends starting low and working up as needed. Most salicylic acid spot treatments are 2%. Apply either product to the pimples twice a day and moisturize the surrounding skin, not the pimple itself. “The drying effect is helpful in treating the acne spot,” she says.

If you’re determined to avoid acne products and still want a home remedy, consider something like tea tree oil instead of toothpaste. In a 2014 comparative study, researchers found that this herbal extract was as effective in treating acne as a solution containing 5% benzoyl peroxide.

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