Tips & Techniques, Wellness / Self-Care

Can you actually dry out a Pimple?

Meet toothpaste, the double-edged sword.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Oct 10, 2022

By the grace of God, the majority of the year, I have blemish-free skin. I credit it to good genes, intense amounts of water intake (a gallon a day), and a very minimalist skincare routine that consists of a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen.


However, my recent on-the-go travel schedule has been confusing to my skin, as it tries to understand multiple climates that it isn’t used to. Annoyingly, I have been dealing with two pesky blackheads on my cheekbone near my temple for weeks. My facialist the other day said it could be from holding my cell phone on that side of my face or mask-wearing. Regardless, it is annoying.


My mom the other day suggested I go back to our African household rituals and slap on some toothpaste to the pimple. Following my South African mom’s instructions, I applied toothpaste with my finger directly on the blemish and slept with the cream on my face. I did this every night for 3 nights and watched the zit get lifted from my face for good.


In the morning, I would simply wash off the residue and see it improve more and more each day. It was like a miracle cream that I didn’t have to stress out about buying, since it’s a household item I always have. Although it worked for me, my research proved that it’s not the dermatologist-advised way to treat acne.


Unfortunately, after researching, I discovered that drying out your pimples with anti-acne ingredients (salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide) will rid the pore of excess oil — producing new breakouts. Some of these might actually work for you, but according to my research, toothpaste has harsh ingredients that can become too drying and irritate the skin. Meaning, do what works for you, but be mindful of what you put on your face. Salicylic acid is probably the best ingredient you can look for, as it helps to unclog blocked pores and treats pimples in cleansers and spot treatments.


So if a large, unwanted zit shows up on your face, instead of frantically searching for quick fixes, remedies, or drugstore products, why not add some toothpaste to it and watch it work its magic? Whatever you do, do not pop it, as that could lead to swelling, hyperpigmentation, scarring, inflammation, and up your chances for more breakouts — a huge no-no. It’s just really not a good idea. If you aren’t sure how your skin will respond to these ingredients, it’s best to do a patch test on your skin first, and always consult a dermatologist if you have any questions.


Did you know some of your favorite skincare products are African ingredients?


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