The Scientist: Dr. Neal Schultz, NYC dermatologist, founder of DermTV.com and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. SchultzThe Answer: As far as DIY beauty recipes go, toothpaste on zits is a pretty good option. But it may not remedy your acne for good or work consistently on everyone’s skin.Some ingredients in toothpaste have drying and antibacterial capabilities — both characteristics of a good acne spot treatment. These include hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, alcohol, menthol, phenol, and essential oils. (Triclosan, a controversial ingredient with antibacterial properties, is sometimes found in toothpaste and can be effective in healing pimples. But you should be avoiding this ingredient anyway, as it’s been shown to have potential impacts on hormones and has actually been banned in Minnesota.)If you resort to this popular hack too often, or use the wrong type of paste, you might end up causing some new skin problems instead of fixing the original one. Alas, if you’re in a bind for a quick spot treatment and only have toothpaste on hand, follow these guidelines:
- Use a paste, not a gel.
- Make sure it’s not colored. (Colors and bleaching agents make it more apt to irritate or even burn your skin.)
- Avoid whitening toothpastes.