One of the most common problems that young people between the age of 12 – 25 face are skin breakouts. They mostly happen on the face, neck, shoulders, and back. Some people may get them on the buttocks and thighs too. These breakouts can be very painful and uncomfortable to say the least. But when these occur on the face it can be embarrassing and take a toll on the self-confidence of the sufferers. These breakouts can be as blackheads, whiteheads, pimple or the worst of the lot as acne.
How Acne Occurs
In contrast to popular perception, acne breakouts aren’t attributable to bad dietary habits or hygiene. It is a condition that has a genetic propensity and is rooted in the changes in hormone secretions. These changes occur during times of stress to the body, which include periods of growth spurts such as at puberty and during pregnancy. So cleaning the face or adhering to a strict diet just isn’t likely to improve your condition in the slightest degree. If your parents or anyone in the family suffered from acne, it is highly likely that you will be a victim to the condition too.
This is how acne occurs:
- Oil glands in the skin secrete an oily substance called Sebum, which coats the hair shafts and the skin to prevent damage and dryness due to exposure to the air.
- Sebum is released through pores in the skin.
- A pimple develops when hormones force the skin’s oil glands, called sebaceous glands, to secrete too much oil.
- The pores in the epidermis, just aren’t capable of handling the extra oil, which then clogs the pore.
- The clogged oil then attracts old skin debris to create an obstruction which could be a whitehead or a blackhead. To be precise, a whitehead or blackhead is really a widened hair follicle that is clogged with dead skin cells and sebum allowing bacteria to cultivate.
- It is common for the blackheads or whitehead to get inflamed. If left untreated this forms a pimple.
- Sometimes the inflammation can occur deep inside the epidermis causing hardened nodes to form which in turn become infected and cause for acne.
While a pimple may be a one-off eruption, acne can spread around causing redness, papules, and pustules. Acne can cause lifelong scarring of the skin and should be treated as soon as possible.
How Toothpaste Works on Acne
The home remedy enthusiasts and natural remedy promoters all swear by toothpaste and its great healing powers for acne. But when it comes to the medical community and skin specialists, they are not too enthusiastic about the claims. Let us examine the facts:
- The main ingredient is, of course, baking soda that is included in many zit-busting home remedies and is a proven cure for pimples and skin outbreaks.
- It also contains other ingredients like hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, witch hazel, which are all good drying agents and help in reducing inflammation.
- It contains Triclosan, a powerful antibacterial agent that is also used in many other skin care products.
Many claim that toothpaste is antibacterial and thus, helps to reduce infection. That assumption is correct to some degree. But some other ingredients in the toothpaste can act as irritants to sensitive skin and promote and aggravate the symptoms of inflammation and redness. Applying such ingredients on skin that is already irritated and may have open sores, is inviting trouble.
Which Toothpaste to Use
Before you start using toothpaste on your zits, here is what you need to know:
- Use ordinary white toothpaste as it contains the ingredients such as baking soda, Triclosan, and hydrogen peroxide.
- Check the fluoride content in the toothpaste. Fluoride may be good for removing dental plaque and prevent gum disease, it can cause an allergy when applied topically and cause a rash. Pick up a toothpaste with the lowest fluoride content.
- Use organic toothpastes, these are less harmful to the skin and most contain very little or no fluoride. They contain all the other ingredient you need to dry out the acne.
- Do not use teeth whitening toothpastes, as they contain bleach. They can irritate the skin and aggravate the problem.
- Gel toothpastes do not contain any skin drying ingredients so, there is no use applying these.
- Use only dermatologist-approved toothpastes.
How to Use Toothpaste to Cure Acne
The use of toothpaste for drying out acne or pimples has long been touted as being as good, if not better than a lot of over the counter acne creams available for reducing inflammation, skin eruptions and redness caused by acne or pimples. Eventuall,y it may lead to a faster cure. It is proffered with the benefit that it is easy and cheap, and you’ve got to admit everyone uses toothpaste and every home has a tube in the bathroom.
The process for application of toothpaste is as follows:
- Clean your face with warm water to remove any excess oil and dirt and pat dry.
- Ice the area around the zit for at least 10 minutes (if you can bear it for so long).
- Squeeze a little bit of the toothpaste on to your finger tip.
- Apply directly on to the zit and the area around it.
- Leave it to dry for at least 2 hours. It is best applied at bedtime as it gives the paste to work its wonder over several hours. The paste draws out the impurities as it dries and reduces the size of the zit.
- Use warm water to gently wash off the dried toothpaste off your skin.
- Pat dry and use a moisturizer to reduce the dryness of the skin.
- Repeat on alternate days till the acne reduces in size. Then let it heal on its own.
Note: Never use toothpaste all over the skin or as a facemask. It will excessively dry out your skin and cause, irritation, peeling and redness.
To Use or Not to Use Toothpaste
The decision is up to you. The experts agree that it is beneficial, but warn against excessive use of it. So we would suggest that you give it a try and if your skin can handle it and the results are good, go ahead and use it, but sparingly.
Use it only as an emergency treatment as most ordinary toothpastes do not contain anti-bacterial agents required to treat acne. Hence, do not make it your regular treatment for acne.