Toothpaste for Blackheads: Does It Actually Work?

Accidental DIY Skin Care

The discovery of blackheads can be horrifying. Blackheads are invasive. Look closely and you’ll see an open surface pore clogged with excess oils and dead skin. They find a home where healthy hair follicles grow. Blackheads cement themselves deep into the pores. The best, trained aestheticians use a blackhead removal needle. This experience can be eye-watering and painful. All the smooth jazz and aromatherapy diffusion in the world can’t stop the discomfort. 

Visits to the aesthetician don’t fit into all budgets. Consumers turn to the internet for skin care hacks. The latest trending product for blackhead removal: toothpaste. While brushing the teeth, toothpaste comes in contact with blackheads festering around the mouth. There is noticeable improvement. The blackheads vanish. If it works near the mouth, it must work on the face! This phenomenon is known as “accidental DIY skincare.” Over time the efficacy of the toothpaste seems to eradicate blackheads. It may seem financially beneficial to utilize toothpaste from forehead to chin. Quite the contrary.

Toothpaste belongs in the mouth, not on the most sensitive skin on the human body. Endless amateur YouTube bloggers push toothpaste DIY blackhead removal skin hacks. One video insists on applying a pea-sized amount, without touching the surrounding skin. Wait 15 minutes, wipe clean. If no irritation is evident, reapply and leave toothpaste on the blackhead for 2 hours. “If” no irritation is evident and a hefty time investment, plus no guarantee of successful blackhead removal. Not very promising.

NOT for the face

Think about putting toothpaste on the face. It isn’t safe, or FDA cleared, or tested by scientists, or recommended by dermatologists. It isn’t a treatment for acne. In an attempt to remove stubborn blackheads, the aforementioned blogger isn’t a professional. They accidentally stumbled on to something. A perfect opportunity to jump at the chance to share incredible 2-for-1 results! Teeth cleaning and Skin Care in a single routine! Nobody advocating for likes using a DIY product to remove blackheads will mention the possibility of inflamed red peeling skin and other reactions or allergies. Or trips to the ER.

Effective acne products on the market today don’t contain fragrance, oils, alcohol or sodium. If a trusted over-the-counter acne face wash or treatment cream refuses to include these harsh ingredients to the face, why would toothpaste be a better solution? 

Let this be a gentle warning! Toothpaste as a blackhead treatment can turn your face into a red, peeling, arid desert.

Toothpaste and Blackheads

Let’s talk about toothpaste. The ingredients listed below are found in most major brands. None of these ingredients should be applied to facial skin. The first two ingredients are drying and cause skin imbalance. The other ingredients listed cause irritation and minor skin damage.

  • Baking soda – also known as sodium bicarbonate. It is an alkaline substance. It alters high acid pH levels. Best known as an ingredient for baked goods, it has a distinct leavening agent. For heartburn, baking soda is great for indigestion as it immediately goes to work on controlling stomach acid. Added to toothpaste it does a great job of holding off tooth decay. A box in the fridge assists with odor control. For an insect bite make a baking soda pumice. Applied for 2-3 minutes, it controls itching. It is not recommended as a permanent treatment. As skin care product for the face baking soda alters the skins natural pH balance.
  • Hydrogen peroxide -to control infections, the mild antiseptic properties sizzle when they come in contact with minor cuts and scrapes. Hydrogen and oxygen atoms break apart and connect with catalase enzymes. These enzymes keep cells from oxidizing. As a mouth rinse for canker sores and gingivitis, hydrogen peroxide is effective. However, since it can destroy healthy skin cells, dabbing it on a blackhead surrounded by healthy skin can make things worse.

What to Avoid Putting on Your Face!

  • Alcohol – avoid it at all costs. Alcohol dries out the skin, period.
  • Menthol – an organic collected from corn oil, spearmint and peppermint plants, this substance, even with its cooling, fresh, invigorating properties (think Noxema) menthol can cause skin irritation and in some cases has severely burned and damaged skin cells. Menthol is a waxy material. As the toothpaste dries on the skin the menthol hardens. The goal is to remove excessive buildup and oils from the skin, not add more.
  • Essential oils – adding oil to pores clogged with excess oils is counter-intuitive. It is crucial to understand the side effects of essential oils. Essential oils are organic and plant based or synthetically produced. Either way, an allergic reaction can not only do harm to the skin. It can affect the respiratory system, causing sore throat, itching, and sore eyes. If serious, may require medical attention.
  • Triclosan – effective in controlling gingivitis, Triclosan as an additive in toothpaste has shown impressive results for oral health. Triclosan in toothpaste prevents “bacterial contamination.” The FDA approves a certain level for safety. As an additive it’s found in clothing, toys and furniture. The Food and Drug Administration is currently regulating and monitoring the safety of Triclosan in oral care products. Side effects of Triclosan include abnormal thyroid, uncontrolled cell growth and reproductive toxicity. 

Keep Toothpaste where it Belongs

Toothpaste is not a skin care product. No brand on the market touts their product as a black head remover. In combination and at the right approved levels, this quintet of ingredients maintains a healthy mouth and helps prevent tooth decay. And it definitely works as a smile enhancer. Toothpaste is not a skin care treatment or blackhead remover. Some toothpastes may contain even more ingredients, and that could make things worse for the skin.

Not all DIY blogs make false claims. Choose skin care products manufactured and tested for the treatment of blackheads. For pimples, laugh lines, and crows feet too. Suffering from a toothpaste blackhead removal that didn’t work and caused a skin irritation or burns could be a spendy and embarrassing trip to the dermatologist or emergency room. Do the right thing and keep toothpaste where it belongs: in the mouth.

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