Does This Beauty Hack Really Work?

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Ask A Scientist: Does toothpaste get rid of zits?

The Scientist: Dr. Neal Schultz, NYC dermatologist, founder of DermTV.com, and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz

The Answer: As far as DIY beauty recipes go, toothpaste on zits is a pretty good option. But, it may not remedy acne for good or work consistently on everyone's skin.

Some ingredients in toothpaste have drying and antibacterial capabilities, which are 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, as it's been shown to have potential impact 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:

1. Use a paste, not a gel.
2. Make sure it's not colored. (Colors and bleaching agents make it more apt to irritate or even burn your skin.)
3. Avoid whitening toothpastes.  

More From YouBeauty:

What Your Acne Is Trying to Tell You About Your Health
Can Manuka Honey Treat Acne?
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