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Can toothpaste get rid of acne?

Topic: Acne

Tags: acne acne regime acne-prone skin protective barrier treating acne

Written by aesthetic therapist Laura Van Den Wijngaerd
Edited by Lucy Dodd
Medically reviewed by Dr Dev Patel BSC(HONS) MB BS DIP IMC RCS(ED) DFFP DPD MRCGP DOCCMED

Approx. reading time: 7mins

What is acne and can I use toothpaste to get rid of it?

Acne Vulgaris is an inflammatory skin condition characterised by blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, pustules, nodules and cysts. Can toothpaste get rid of this complex skin condition? Let’s explore what acne is, how it is formed and how you can properly help to heal your skin.

Visual diagram of different types of acne

How is acne caused?

There are numerous and complex theories on the underlying causes of acne. One of the main causes of acne is an overproduction of sebum (oil) within the skin. This excess oil clogs hair follicles with debris and skin cells. Follicle clogging leads to a blockage, resulting in inflammation and a perfect breeding ground for P. acnes bacteria.

The acne bacteria feeds off the sebum and thrives in this low-oxygen environment. This makes the inflammation even worse and some sufferers can form painful cysts and nodules which will always result in significant scarring. The psychological impact of acne and the resulting scarring (including pigmentation), can be massive.

A man with acne-prone, congested skin and a damaged skin barrier

What triggers acne?

Changes in hormone levels or sensitivity to those hormones are key drivers. Puberty heavily disrupts our hormones which means acne is more prevalent among teenagers. NHS data suggests around 95% of those between 11 and 30 years old suffer from acne at some point. This proves acne is not just a problem for teens. Adults are increasingly seeking help to get their acne under control. Let’s explore how we can best treat acne without damaging the skin.

Can toothpaste get rid of acne?

For many years, toothpaste has been a popular quick-fix for pimples. We need to ask if it works and is it safe? Brace yourself, folks, as we are about to pop the pimple of validity of using toothpaste for acne.

Recently we have seen a resurgence in toothpaste as an acne treatment thanks to social media and unverified, unqualified advice. Unfortunately, applying toothpaste to your skin causes far more damage.

Toothpaste should be on a toothbrush, not on your face

Household items are not put through the same extensive testing
that skincare products require. You could seriously harm your skin
and create even more issues if you apply toothpaste.

Will toothpaste dry out and get rid of my acne?

First of all, let’s explore why people think toothpaste is ‘good’ for getting rid of acne. Toothpaste contains alcohol, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. These three ingredients are all known for their drying ability. Sometimes applying toothpaste to the skin creates more breakouts thanks to excessive dryness that triggers increased oil production. Your spot might reduce in redness or size, but you can guarantee there has been serious damage caused to your protective barrier. This seemingly successful result will only be temporary.

Damaging your skin barrier

Next, we need to remember that toothpaste has a pH level (how acidic or alkaline something is) ranging from 7 to 10, making it very alkali. Toothpaste deeply cleans teeth. It is far too harsh for your delicate facial skin. Our facial skin has a natural pH of 5.5 which means our skin is slightly acidic. Any changes to the skin’s environment can negatively impact the protective barrier. The protective barrier helps keep skin in optimal condition by protecting water levels and will help keep acne at bay. Ultimately, changes in the skin’s pH can negatively impact oil production.

Avoid SLES

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLES) is a well-known foaming agent – you will usually find it in toothpaste (and poor quality cleansers). It is far too harsh for your skin! It could even worsen your skin condition, it is unlikely that toothpaste will get rid of your acne. Instead, you will face dry, damaged skin and a rise in oil production to counteract the damage, resulting in more spots. It’s a vicious circle that requires a proper, high-quality skincare regime to tackle the issues deep within the dermis.

A woman with congested, acne-prone skin. She has redness and scarring, irritation and comedones.

Acne can negatively impact self-confidence, but it can be helped
with proper guidance from an expert and the correct treatment.

Best treatments for acne

To summarise, you shouldn’t be using toothpaste on your face. Ever. Your skin is a delicately balanced organ – it needs the appropriate steps to restore its health. Acne does not have a quick fix. People might tell you that toothpaste will get rid of your acne, but these people aren’t professionals and are unlikely to understand the skin’s complexities.

Keep on reading to discover Dr Dev Patel‘s five-step regime to noticeably improve your skin health – you won’t find any toothpaste recommendations here! 

A woman faces into the sun with clear and healthy skin.

Step 1 – Cleansing

First of all, you need an effective cleanser for your skin type. Most cleansers strip the skin of good and bad oils, creating a feeling of tightness across the face. Many people mistakenly associate skin ‘tightness’ with feeling clean. Skin tightness is a sign of dehydrated, dry skin. Removing the oil from your skin seems like an effective acne treatment, right? Actually, a lack of oil is counteracted by a rise in oil production. Say hello to more acne, dehydrated skin and a damaged skin barrier. Your complexion could start to look dull with an increase in skin texture. These are all signs of skin crying out for help!

CellDerma Hydraclean is the best cleanser you can use for your acne-prone skin. Our calming botanical gel cleanser gently foams on the skin. It effectively breaks down excess oil and sweeps away impurities to restore your skin to its most healthy state. Our formula includes Rose Geranium Water, Rosehip Seed Oil and Irish Moss Extract – you won’t find Sodium Lauryl Sulfate here! These ingredients work together to effortlessly clear build-up to reveal brighter, decongested skin. We have designed our cleanser to leave your skin at the correct pH level.

Step 2 – Exfoliating

One of the main contributing factors to acne is the build-up of dead skin cells. It is vital to exfoliate your skin regularly to clear this pore-clogging debris. We recommend using our facial scrub two to three nights per week. You can even leave it on your skin for 2 minutes to increase the exfoliating capability. CellDerma PHA Renewal Scrub contains Poly-Hydroxy Acid (PHA), Blackcurrant Fruit Powder, Ginseng Extract and Strawberry Seeds. 

PHA (poly-hydroxy acid) acts as a gentle chemical exfoliant. It removes dead skin cells to leave your skin looking and feeling smooth and radiant. The fruit extracts (blackcurrant powder and strawberry seeds) provide a soft physical exfoliation. Walnut or apricot scrubs are very harsh exfoliants, and using them can cause micro-tears in the skin. Micro-tears create the perfect breeding ground for more acne bacteria. You will experience increased irritation and redness too. 

CellDerma PHA Renewal Scrub is the best exfoliator for removing impurities whilst ensuring inflamed skin stays intact, helping to soothe the underlying issues. 

Step 3 – Resurfacing (Night use only)

What is a retinoid? HOW CAN IT TREAT ACNE?

A topical solution, like a retinoid, increases skin cell turnover to help resurface the skin. Increasing the rate at which these cells renew reduces the number of blocked pores and blemishes. Expect a clear, healthier-looking complexion in a matter of days, thanks to this renewal process. 

CellDerma Retin-ACE next-generation retinoid

CellDerma Retin-ACE is a next-generation retinoid, equally as effective as 0.1% tretinoin, without the harsh, irritant side effects.

CellDerma Retin-ACE is a next-generation retinoid which we have observed to be as effective as 0.1% tretinoin without the harsh, irritant side effects. It is a perfect serum for those with sensitive skin and active acne. 

A woman with severe acne before using CellDerma Retin-ACE
Patient at 0 weeks, prior to CellDerma Retin-ACE
A woman with healed and healthier skin after using CellDerma Retin-ACE
Patient at 6 weeks after using CellDerma Retin-ACE as recommended

How to use Retin-ACE as part of an ACNE REGIME

Dr Dev Patel recommends starting with CellDerma Retin-ACE serum just two nights per week. We recommend that you begin to increase to a maximum of alternate night use over a 4-6 week period, as tolerated. For an intensive treatment, your practitioner may advise nightly use for a few months. You should only follow this usage if recommended by a CellDerma approved partner. Did you know our retinoid stays active within the skin for up to 18 hours?

CellDerma Retin-ACE absorbs into your skin with ease, leaving you with a beautiful non-tacky finish. It is perfect as a base layer for other CellDerma serums and creams. Layering our products will help you achieve optimal clinical results not seen with other brands.

How to purchase CELLDERMA RETin-ace

To purchase CellDerma Retin-ACE, you need a skin consultation with one of our stockists. They will assess your suitability and provide directions of use and a regime to help you achieve healthier skin. 

SUPPORT YOUR SKIN WITH GROWTH FACTORS

An additional serum to keep in mind is CellDerma GF5, dubbed the “superhero serum”. It contains 5 Growth Factors, Vitamin B9 and neuropeptides. This winning complex of active ingredients helps repair and regenerate the skin surface. CellDerma GF5 aims to reduce scarring and pigmentation and helps heal spots quicker. You can apply CellDerma GF5 to the skin after cleansing. It will add a nourishing boost of repairing peptides to your regime. 

Step 4 – Moisturising

All skin types need hydrating – EVEN ACNE-PRONE

Never ignore the power of a good moisturiser! We tend to choose potent acne-fighting serums and topical, active treatments over moisturisers. Every skin type requires deep hydration – even oily skin needs hydrating! Adding a surge of hydration each morning and night will slow your natural oil production. Your skin will no longer need to overcompensate for the lack of water within the dermal layers. 

Non-comedogenic moisturising cream perfect for acne

Always opt for non-comedogenic products to avoid further pore clogging.

THE PERFECT CREAM FOr ACNE-PRONE SKIN

Try introducing a rich, non-comedogenic moisturiser into your AM and PM regime. Within a few days, your redness and irritation will be noticeably better! We highly recommend CellDerma Hyaluronic Cream. Our creamy formula contains high levels of water-soluble Hyaluronic Acid. It is also enriched with powerful emollients (hydrators) such as squalane, jojoba seed oil and apricot kernel oil. 

ENRICHED WITH NATURAL HYDRATORS

Jojoba seed oil contains up to 96% ceramides – essential and natural fats that help maintain hydration of the skin and the integrity of the skin barrier. Apricot kernel oil is high in fats too and is 25% linoleic acid. Linoleic acid deficiency has been implicated as a cause of acne. Hyaluronic Acid is a humectant. Humectants attract water from their environment. Hyaluronic Acid can hold up to 1000x its weight in water. Pairing a humectant with an emollient (hydrator) will provide multi-layered hydration that continues throughout the day. Your skin’s water content will dramatically increase in a short time frame. Your complexion will look more nourished, vibrant and healthier after adding CellDerma Hyaluronic Cream to your regime.

A woman with healthy skin in the shade with some sunlight on her face

Step 5 – Sunscreen (Day use only)

ApplY Daily for incredible skin benefits

Remember to apply high-quality sunscreen every single day! Sunscreen protects your skin against damaging UV rays. Did you know that sunscreen increases the efficiency of other products by reducing the damage caused by the sun? A reduction in daily sun damage will produce better skin results because there is no longer an influx of sun damage for your other products to contend with. 

Superior Broad-spectrum Protection

For those using CellDerma Retin-ACE, sunscreen is a mandatory step. Using a retinol or retinoid means the skin is more vulnerable to UV damage. Every single CellDerma sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection. Our broad-spectrum sunscreen protects your skin from over 96% of UVB rays and gives total protection from UVA rays. UVA rays are responsible for ageing. They cause damage to your elasticity over a long period. UVB rays cause burning. Remember, UVA (Ageing) UVB (Burning). CellDerma offers three incredible sunscreen products:

Perfect sunscreen for acne

All of our sunscreens are non-comedogenic, easy to blend and will not leave a grey hue on your skin. We recommend Tinted Mineral SPF 30 for those with acne. The added universal tint will subtly even out your skin tone and conceal imperfections discreetly. Your skin will look radiant with the welcome bonus of superior sun protection. 

Four multi-racial women laying on their backs looking into the camera and smiling with clear skin

Conclusion

Toothpaste is for teeth – It won’t get rid of ACNE!

In conlusion, applying toothpaste to your skin is dangerous and not beneficial. Most of the ingredients in toothpaste and many other high street acne products are too harsh and the pH levels too strong for your skin. 

Expert ACNE Help

Unfortunately, there is no miracle product or one cure for acne. There are so many acne treatments available on the market but it can be hard to combat this complex skin condition alone. We highly recommend working with a professional to get your acne under control. A skincare professional will be able to create a personalised regime for your unique skin concerns and conditions.

Our recommendation

Lastly, if you are struggling with serious acne, and need expert advice from a professional aesthetic therapist, we highly recommend Dr Dev Patel’s Perfect Skin Solutions clinic in Southsea, UK. This incredible skin clinic was awarded Best Clinic South England 2021 (Aesthetics Awards). With a 4.9/5* average rating on Google, you can feel safe in the knowledge that they are highly experienced in looking after you and your skin concerns.

Disclaimer: We always recommend a consultation with a medical or appropriately trained skincare professional. Acne is a medical condition and requires a full assessment. Other skin conditions can mimic the symptoms of acne and would be misdiagnosed by an under-qualified practitioner.

Image Credits:
Freepik, Unsplash 2022