When looking to treat blackheads and its effects, people tend to use home remedies. But does using toothpaste actually help blackheads? Read on to learn more about this traditionally popular treatment.
What Are Blackheads?
Both whiteheads and blackheads are known as comedones. Blackheads are hair follicles that have filled with irritants such as excess sebum and dead skin cells. As these plugs develop, they undergo the process of melanin oxidation. It is this oxidation that gives the clogged follicle its black appearance. Although blackheads are most commonly found on the nose, they can appear nearly anywhere on the body.
What Causes Blackheads?
As with any other type of acne, blackheads can form as a result of a variety of factors or a combination of many issues. While blackheads can form at an any age, they are most prevalent during puberty because of the associated hormonal changes that lead to more sebum production. In addition to puberty, hormonal changes associated with menstruation and pregnancy can also trigger blackhead outbreaks. Other causes of blackheads include intense body sweating, shaving, health conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, the use of certain medications such as steroids, and the overproduction of new skin cells.
Can You Use Toothpaste for Pimples and Blackheads?
Although some people swear by toothpaste as a cost-effective home remedy in the fight against blackheads, its use is not recommended by trained dermatologists for these reasons:
- The active ingredients in toothpaste are not engineered for use on the face. Ingredients such as baking soda, alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide dry out the skin and cause further irritation and skin soreness
- The basic pH level of toothpaste can disrupt the balance of healthy skin because the skin has a more acidic pH level
- The sodium lauryl sulfate found in many kinds of toothpaste can burn and irritate the skin when applied topically
Alternatives to Toothpaste
Fortunately for blackhead sufferers, there are a number of options to get rid of blackheads permanently. Gone are the days you have to rely on outdated remedies such as toothpaste.
1. Wash Your Face Often
Using a drugstore cleanser specifically designed for the face will go a long way in the fight against blackheads. Most experts agree that you should wash your face thoroughly twice per day. Washing more than twice per day can actually have the opposite effect, drying out skin and leading to more irritation and breakouts.
2. Use a Chemical Exfoliant
The exfoliation process works by applying a thin layer of chemicals to the face in an effort to lift away dead skin cells to reveal a healthier and smoother skin tone. The best exfoliating products for people who suffer from blackheads contain the crucial beta hydroxy acid (BHA) most commonly known as salicylic acid. Because BHAs are lipid-soluble, they are able to dissolve in oil and penetrate into the pore to remove the dead skin cells that lead to blackheads. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) are better for normal to dry skin, while BHAs are better for oily skin.
3. Topical Retinoids
Topical retinoids are often hailed as a miracle drug in the fight to control blackheads. Derived from vitamin A, these prescription drugs are especially effective in the treatment of comedonal acne such as blackheads. Topical retinoids come in both gel and cream form.
4. Azelaic Acid
Azelaic acid can be found in lower strengths as an over the counter treatment or in stronger doses as a prescription. As an OTC product, azelaic acid can fight mild blackhead breakouts and refine pores. Prescription strength azelaic acid helps to clear clogged pores, exfoliate the skin, and reduces acne-causing bacteria. Lastly, azelaic acid is sometimes prescribed with other treatment options to deliver maximum results.
Can you use toothpaste for pimples?
Toothpaste is not a proven treatment in the battle against acne. Rubbing toothpaste on blemishes and blackheads can dry out the skin and cause acne redness and irritation. Most importantly, toothpaste has not been shown to yield any long-lasting or noticeable results when looking to reduce acne flare-ups.
How did using toothpaste for blackheads become so popular?
Toothpaste had traditionally been used as a treatment for acne because of its formulation containing triclosan. Notably, triclosan contained acne fighting properties. However, studies showed that triclosan lead to hormone disturbances. This lead toothpaste manufactures to eliminate triclosan from their products. In short, toothpaste no longer contains triclosan, thus toothpaste no longer being effective for acne or blackheads.
What about using baking soda and toothpaste for blackheads?
Both baking soda and toothpaste contain properties that will irritate the skin when used topically. Mixing them together will compound the problem even more. It is a better idea to stick with proven clinical treatments and to be diligent about proper cleansing and exfoliating.