Myth or fact: Does toothpaste really help to cure a pimple?

It’s an age-old beauty remedy: the old toothpaste on a pimple trick. Hell, even Amanda Seyfried has sworn by it and loves feeling that “burn”.

But does slathering your minty-fresh toothpaste onto a big whitehead really help? Or does it actually do us more harm than good?

“Anything that dehydrates the pimple will give some slight improvement. But there’s no long term benefit from such a treatment,” says Dr Michael Freeman from The Skin Care Centre.
Can toothpaste really be used on pimples? (Image via iStock.)
So when we could just use relatively inexpensive spot-targeting creams and lotions - why has the toothpaste remedy prevailed?
According to Dermalogica skincare expert Emma Hobson, it's down to old school toothpaste formulas.

"The reason toothpaste was used many years ago before we had effective spot treatment products, was because they contained baking soda which has a mild drying effect and spearmint, which can help reduce swelling." says Hobson (Post continues after gallery.)

Not only is it not a good solution for long term treatment of pimples, but some common ingredients in toothpaste can irritate the skin further and lead to redness, over-drying and also damage to the skin.

"Toothpaste isn’t really an effective spot treatment. Toothpaste today commonly contains peppermint which can be an irritant on open or abraded skin and is not considered a beneficial spot remedy," Hobson says.

Stuck somewhere without your usual pimple cream? You have our permission to reach for your tube of toothpaste. Otherwise? Give it a miss.

Have you ever used toothpaste to try to get rid of a pimple?