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Does toothpaste work with pimples? Plus how to hide and treat pimples

Created by the Healthline experts for Greatist. Read More

Perhaps the most annoying thing about acne is that it always succeeds in showing up at the worst possible time (pun intended). Going out to an event? Say hello to your new date, Sir Forehead cit.

Most people will do pretty much anything to make an unwanted pimple go away quickly. This includes questionable tips from the Internet, such as the popular trick of using toothpaste as a temporary (but supposedly effective) acne spot treatment.

It might be worth a try, right? After all, toothpaste sits in your bathroom, so it won't cost you anything. The question is: will toothpaste actually get rid of acne or will it just be a waste of time … and maybe make it worse?

The reasons for using toothpaste on pimples are simple: toothpaste usually contains ingredients such as baking soda and alcohol that can dry out a cit and get rid of it ̵

1; or at least make it less obvious.

"Toothpaste can dry out a pimple due to the drying ingredients it contains," says Dr. Marie Hayag, a New York-based dermatologist. "But these ingredients, which include alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, baking powder, sodium lauryl sulfate, herbal extracts and oils, and propylene glycol, can also irritate your skin through redness and peeling."

Well, yes, toothpaste is likely to get rid of acne, but it could do more harm than good. You could be left with excessively dry, irritated skin that is just as frustrating as this pimple.

Fortunately, toothpaste is definitely not your only option for effective spot treatment. "There are safer and more appropriate treatments that can treat acne and not just dry it out," says Hayag.

Do not reach for the toothpaste in despair. Familiarize yourself with these acne treatments recommended by the dermatologist so that you have them exactly when you need them.

Acne Spot Treatments

Over-the-counter spot treatments for pimples are a targeted method to get rid of pimples quickly and quickly or reduce painlessly. Look for spot treatments that contain ingredients like sulfur cream, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and dry lotion, as well as moisturizing ingredients like essential oils and aloe vera to balance them out.

Hayag is a fan of Peter Thomas Roth Acne Spot and Area Treatment, an extra strong formula that controls oil with ingredients such as glycolic acid complex, aloe vera, vitamin C, vitamin E, pro-vitamin B-5 and plant extracts.

She also recommends Boscia Charcoal Spot Corrector, which contains activated carbon as the main ingredient, and La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo acne spot treatment, which is formulated with benzoyl peroxide and micro-peeling lipo-hydroxy acid.

Finally, Hayag says the Dermalogica Concealing Spot Treatment is a great option – it's tinted to cover your Zit, while sulfur and zinc oxide remove excess oil and clear clogged pores.


Pimple patches are another targeted method to make pimples disappear. These have the advantage that they are less chaotic than spot treatments.

Connecticut-based dermatologist Dr. Deanne Robinson says: "I love the ZitStickas. They are effective and you can wear them to sleep, and your pillow case won't get messed up. “

Sulfur Mask

Sulfur is an effective over-the-counter acne treatment that works quickly. Sulfur, a natural antimicrobial, can dry out a cit and help the skin absorb excess oil while clogging the pores. It works similarly to acne fighters like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, but is gentle on the skin.

Look for sulfur-containing products to get rid of your acne. Robinson recommends Peter Thomas Roth Therapeutic Sulfur Mask Acne Treatment Mask. She says you can use it as a mask for your entire face or just as a spot treatment for individual pimples.

Tea Tree Oil

Research suggests that tea tree oil can be effective in reducing acne. A small study from 2017 found that 14 people who applied tea tree oil to their faces twice a day for 12 weeks found a "significant" improvement in mild to moderate acne without serious side effects.

Dermatologists agree that tea tree oil can help fight acne. "It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects," explains Hayag. She recommends putting a few drops of the oil on a damp cotton swab and dabbing it on pimples as a natural stain treatment.

Green Tea

Research has shown that the topical use of green tea can help to remove acne.

"It has many great properties: anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant," says Hayag. "It is rich in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a polyphenol that also reduces the production of sebum (oil) in the skin."

Applying green tea to your skin does not mean preparing a cup and then applying it with your fingers. Hayag explains: “Make sure you remove the leaves from one or two bags of green tea and add some water. Mix the leaves with aloe vera gel. Apply the mixture to the pimples and leave it on for about 15 minutes. “


Hamamelis is an anti-inflammatory that is ideal for sensitive skin and can help reduce redness caused by acne or skin irritation. Research has shown that it has an astringent effect and helps to reduce the size of pores, relieve inflammation and soothe the skin.

"It has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties," says Hayag. You can apply a small swab of witch hazel to the affected area as a natural stain treatment.

Aloe Vera Gel

Studies consistently show that Aloe Vera is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant and excellent for sensitive skin. It does not dry excessively – in fact, it is moisturizing – so your skin is not irritated.

If you use aloe vera gel for acne, make sure that it is as pure as possible. "If you don't have an aloe vera gel plant, choose an aloe vera gel with at least 10 percent aloe vera," says Hayag.

OK, let's face it: everyone has had a pimple at least once in their life (probably more than that). We know we shouldn't, but if it just sits there and looks like it is literally ready to burst by itself, it's hard to resist. So … is it really that bad ?

"I always tell people not to pick or pop their pimples because they fear they will overdo them and cause more damage," says Hayag.

Popping pimples can increase your risk of scarring and infection in the area. It can also delay your body's natural healing methods, meaning the Zit may stay longer.

Dermatologists don't recommend popping pimples, but they also know people will do it anyway. And when it comes to popping, it's about minimizing the risks properly.

"It's about knowing when it's ready to pop and when to stop, and this is where people get in trouble," says Robinson.

How to tell if your Zit is ready to pop

"If your pimple has a clear spot, a white, pointed center, you can certainly give it relief," says Robinson.

You want to search for certain types of pimples. “It is important to know what to crack and how aggressive you are with the process. Blackheads and superficial whiteheads can be easily squeezed with light pressure, ”says Hayag.

She adds: "Do not choose or try to burst red, delicate pimples because they do not" burst "and only worsen and catch fire. ”

How to properly bang it

" Wash your hands and then clean the area with alcohol, "says Hayag. "Use two Q-tips or a clean handkerchief wrapped around two fingers to apply pressure downwards and inwards until the material surface is reached."

The key is not to overdo it. "If you can't get it out after a try or two, leave it alone," says Hayag. "Repeated running can lead to more irritation and increase the likelihood of scab and scarring."

Would you like step-by-step instructions to safely remove these pimples? We have them.

What to do when you are done popping?

If your efforts have been successful, make sure you repair the area. "If it opens and releases pus, clean the area again and leave it alone," says Robinson.

You can also use another acne treatment when you're done. Hayag recommends applying a spot treatment to the area after the pimple has burst open.

Certain acne treatments may work quickly, but they don't always do the job quickly enough. Sometimes the answer to pimple disappearance is a combination of treatment and coverage.

Choose the right products.

The use of makeup and skin care products formulated with ingredients that irritate the skin is not the best choice. Hayag says, "It is important to choose products that are not comedogenic. Stay away from heavy creams and moisturizers."

When it comes to concealers, look for options that treat and cover acne at the same time They look for concealers formulated with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid, "says Hayag.

Robinson says that products that contain excess oils should also be avoided if they are natural (such as avocado oil). She adds:" You also have to look beyond the products and look at tools – brushes and sponges. Are they clean? "Clean them after each use.

Start with a clean face.

Make-up should not only be applied to bare skin. "Always start with a clean, dry face that is sufficiently moisturized and protected with a sun protection factor," says Hayag.

Robinson notes that you should also treat redness and swelling: “A drop of Visine can relieve redness, and plain old ice can help minimize swelling. “

Then use a primer.

"Start with a primer to create a smoother canvas for makeup products," says Hayag. “Primers also act as a barrier and prevent makeup from disappearing into your pores. You can apply it all over your face to even out the skin tone, or just on the area with the breakout. "

You can also try to protect the blemish before you apply makeup directly on it. Robinson recommends applying a drop of tea tree oil to a pimple before adding concealer.

Cover up with concealer

Concealer is the best choice to hide a pimple. However, what you need to apply depends on the type of pimple you have.

For a pimple with a lot of redness, choose a green-toned concealer. "It will help neutralize redness," explains Robinson. You can apply green concealer first to reduce redness, and then apply your normal skin-colored concealer on it.

For pustules (small pimples with pus) Hayag recommends using a thick, "spatula-like" concealer. "A stickier formula adheres better to the bump," she says. "Be precise and dab a small amount directly on the bump. Dust with a fine layer of loose powder that matches your skin tone. “

Inflamed cysts require a slightly different method. "The key here is to first apply a tinted moisturizer to even out the skin tone," says Hayag. "This minimizes much of the background redness that occurs in cystic acne."

From there, dab concealer on any area you notice. "Crayon concealers are ideal for cystic acne because they glide easily over structured skin and the pointed tip enables very precise application," says Hayag. "They're super user-friendly too!"

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