Toothpaste on Pimples: Does it work?


The moment you notice a pimple, your brain is suddenly in an active mode looking for solutions. The only thought in your head is to get rid of it as soon as possible by using whatever is readily available. Often these are remedies/ingredients that are readily available around you. One such popular trick is using toothpaste on pimples. Yes, you’ve read it correctly; it’s the same toothpaste you use every day to brush your teeth.

How Did This Trend of Using Toothpaste on Pimples Start?

No one has an idea how it started, but everyone seems to love this instant quick fix. From your classmate to neighbourhood aunty, at least one person you know happens to swear by it. It’s almost like magic to them that the pimple disappears. However, you really need to question this from a more scientific point of view before applying it to pimples.

Possible Reasons For Considering Toothpaste on Pimples as a Solution 

  • A basic look at the main ingredients of toothpaste can shed some light on why people first thought of this as a solution to pimples.
  • Although the active ingredient in most toothpaste is fluoride, the passive preservative ingredients are more familiar with fixing pimples.
  • These include sodium hydrogen carbonate, commonly known as baking soda, menthol, alcohol, and triclosan.
  • You may have noticed triclosan as an ingredient in toothpaste and acne treatment products that help kill bacteria.
  • Whereas ingredients like baking soda, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are known to be drying and can help shrink the pimples.
  • Lastly, menthol, due to its tingly feeling, can briefly decrease swelling and pain.

When we look at it as a mere comparison between the ingredient lists of acne treatment medicine and toothpaste, there may be an “Aha!” moment when we notice that they both have certain overlapping ingredients. The prescribed solution for pimples is often to dry out the skin and kill the bacteria-causing infections. Probably, this is where someone somewhere could have connected the dots and begun this experiment.  

Applying Toothpaste on Pimples May Not be a Great Idea

  • The problem with knowledge is that we can sometimes be selective about it. For instance, in this case, Triclosan is an “antibacterial ingredient” that is common to both acne medication and toothpaste. 
  • What people take away from this is that it can kill bacteria, regardless of what type of bacteria it may be. They conveniently ignore the possibility that this may be a wrong move to make.
  • Although triclosan does indeed kill bacteria, it often has to be concocted explicitly to attack the particular kinds. You need to remember that some specific proportions or quantities make it effective.
  • Using any haphazard product that just happens to contain triclosan is most likely to leave you with irritated skin. Something that people frequently experience after using toothpaste as a remedy for pimples.
  • Apart from Triclosan, ingredients such as baking soda and alcohol help dry the skin out. Though, having dry skin doesn’t necessarily guarantee blemish-free skin.
  • So, what happens frequently is that people end up using toothpaste with the hope of making pimples disappear and instead end up with highly dried-out skin. It also increases skin sensitivity and chances of further damage.

Summing Up

When weighing the pros and cons of using toothpaste as a remedy for pimples, these points need to be kept in mind. It’s a simple logic that there is a target purpose behind the creation of every product. So a product designed to work on teeth would work adversely on any surface that isn’t teeth.

All products formulated for application on the skin are often mild. Therefore applying a harsher substance like toothpaste on your skin for a short-term fix will end up harming it more in the long term. The apt solution for pimples would be to consult a dermatologist to find the best remedy for your condition.


1. Can you sleep with toothpaste on your pimple?

Applying toothpaste in itself is harmful to your skin. Hence, sleeping with toothpaste on your pimple is out of the question. 

2. Can applying ice remove pimples?

There’s no proof that ice can remove pimples or reduce them. Moreover, applying ice straight away can be harmful to your skin. 

3. How can I clear pimples from my face?

To clear your pimples, you’ll have to get to the root cause. Talk to a dermatologist who can share the best treatment option for your condition. 



Picture of Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.