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Does Putting Toothpaste on Pimples Actually Work?

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I woke up calmly one morning, stretched, and lay for a moment in the pool of warm sunlight collecting on my bed. I knew instinctively that it was going to be a good day. Or at least I thought I knew!

I padded into the bathroom, rummaged in my drawer for my toothpaste and toothbrush, and looked up contentedly at my reflection in the mirror. That's when I knew it was actually going to be a horrible day. An angry red pimple had appeared on the side of my chin, and not only was it visibly unappealing, but it hurt too!

Carefully applied makeup got me through the day, but when I got home, I was desperate for quick remedies to make the unsightly blemish go away. After calling my mom and asking some friends for advice, I decided on using toothpaste. It may sound strange, but toothpaste dried up the skin and pimple, and by the next morning, the angry red spot was visibly reduced.

Why Does Toothpaste Get Rid of Pimples?

Toothpaste contains many different chemicals depending on the brand and purpose. A lot of brands contain baking soda and whitening chemicals that will dry out your skin quickly. This is good for the occasional pimple, but toothpaste can seriously dry out your entire face if you use it regularly or all over.

Toothpaste is also designed to give you fresh breath, which it does by killing the bacteria in your mouth. If it can kill the bacteria in your mouth, it can also kill the bacteria that cause some types of pimples.

If you think your pimple may be caused by stress or an ingrown hair, toothpaste might not be as effective, but it's definitely worth a shot!

What Kind of Toothpaste Should I Use?

Gel toothpaste is not as effective against pimples as are more abrasive, opaque toothpastes. Go for a simple, opaque, one-color type of toothpaste. I prefer Crest or Colgate because I'm a bit of a brand snob, but any non-gel toothpaste works the same.

White toothpastes contain fewer chemicals and colors and in some cases may even be cheaper. These will work fine and their appearance is much the same as typical acne cremes, so it won't seem so weird for you to be rubbing toothpaste on your face!


Just like you wouldn't be the person to walk around in public with curlers in your hair, you don't want to be the person to walk around with toothpaste on your face. But you don't want walk around with a pimple either!

If you're a girl, you can easily cover it with a light dab of carefully blended concealer, which you can then cover with a light brush of powder that also matches the surrounding skin tone. If you're a guy and have no fear of judgement or just happen to be skilled with makeup products, covering your pimple for the duration of the day (assuming you woke up with it) is also an option.

  • When you get home, thoroughly—but gently!—wash the affected area with hot soap and water. Make sure to wash your hands, fingertips, and nails extremely well also if you don't have access to sterile gloves.
  • Lightly move your fingertip up and down against the toothpaste so you don't get too much. Gently rub the first layer into the pimple until most of it is blended in to the skin.
  • Dab your finger again and layer a second layer of toothpaste over top of the pimple. This layer should be visible, but not caked on.
  • Go to bed or wait several hours before peeling or gently washing the toothpaste off. You may feel some slight burning at first, but this is normal. If it continues, you just have very sensitive skin, and you should wash it off.

If you see improvements in redness but aren't satisfied, wait a few hours before applying again. If it didn't work at all (and it might not), you can try again, but you may just have a stubborn pimple or the toothpaste treatment may not be right for you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Dorothy on June 20, 2018:

I’m trying it right now!!!! We’ll see how this goes

Mahniyahh on March 11, 2018:

It works for me...

Kakekek on May 03, 2017:

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Jazmyne... if your bf doesn't accept ur face then leave him

jazmyne on December 14, 2016:

idk i have it on my face rn but i don'tknow id it will work i hope it does because my boyfriend lucas hates me haing acne

Moog on July 28, 2016:


AGurl on July 20, 2016:

I have not used this yet, thanks for the recommendation!

I have acne all over my face, not just on my forehead, it's annoying!

bany on December 06, 2014:

I used but it makes more pimple on my face

Zoe on November 22, 2014:

I've tried the toothpaste trick when I had big painful pimples on my cute face. After 2 days I saw a difference

Miley on May 20, 2014:

I had a big red pimple last night and I dabbed toothpaste(sensodyne). I just woke and the pimples less red and isn't painful at all. Thank u.

hilarie burton on December 07, 2013:

yeah...!!! it works

idigwebsites from United States on October 24, 2013:

Yeah, just as I find out that dabbing toothpaste on burns isn't effective either; it even aggravates the pain.

Grace Marguerite Williams from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York on August 18, 2013:

Great article. This is a very economic and effective way to rid oneself of the noisome pimple.

Gamesjoker on June 13, 2013:

I thought that putting a toothpaste on a pimple is a Myth , I think i'm gonna give it a try .

fasatynHD xoxo

Trish89 on December 04, 2012:

Nice hub, next unfortunate pimple and I will be giving this a try, thanks!

Rachel Vega from Massachusetts on May 22, 2012:

I have used this trick and it really does work. Ice is also great for zits -- brings does swelling like crazy!

Byron Wolf on May 19, 2012:

I've always used toothpaste for zits but never knew why it worked. Useful and informative hub.

PS Girls aren't the only ones who can get away with a little concealer on bad skin days! :D

Glen Nunes from Cape Cod, Massachusetts on May 17, 2012:

My son has had success with this method, and recommends it to his friends. Good hub!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on May 15, 2012:

Never tried this, but will try when one pops up. As a short term relief. Thanks for sharing.

GracieLake from Arizona on May 15, 2012:

I tried this and didn't have success, but if you don't have access to other remedies, this is worth a try.

Teresa Coppens from Ontario, Canada on May 15, 2012:

I had never heard of this remedy. I have three teenage boys who are at the pimply stage. I will be sure to mention your remedy to them.

emilybee on May 15, 2012:

I've tried this before when I was desperate and it didn't seem to work that well for me. Perhaps I used the wrong kind of toothpaste, maybe it was gel form. There's so many cool at home remedies for acne. Great hub!

Sarah Johnson from Charleston, South Carolina on May 15, 2012:

Funny - I heard a story about a woman who went out quickly to a coffee shop and had forgotten to wash off the toothepaste she had dabbed over her face. I wondered why she had that on her face - now I know! Great advice for a quick fix.

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