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Treating Acne With Toothpaste or a Change in Diet- Does It Work?

Posted Apr 22 2009 2:57pm
Lately I’ve been getting an avalanche of questions regarding the Toothpaste Cure and whether or not diet can affect acne.

We’ve covered basic skin care for acne in previous posts here. Now let’s break these down one at a time shall we?

Toothpaste Cure:

Statement: “ Putting toothpaste on a zit overnight will completely get rid of it!

Most toothpastes contain menthol, alcohol and laurel sulphates. All three of these are known drying and irritating ingredients to the skin. The success people see when they say this method works is that the pimple has dried out. For some that is a good thing. For others, having a big flaky patch of red skin, albeit pimple free, is not success. If you read forums of people using this technique it’s kind of horrific how many people experience burning, scabbing, scarring and inflammation from this “tip”.

What I don’t understand is why people use this when there are so many products designed specifically to reduce a pimple and not burn the skin. If toothpaste were designed for this, the companies would market them as so. They would make millions more. But toothpaste companies themselves know that this is an awful idea and nowhere to do you see “Spot Treatment” as a recommended usage. This is also why you rinse toothpaste out of your mouth and don’t just let it sit there.

Conclusion: Maybe. This may work for some people. But the potential side effects do not seem worth it to me.  Products with ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide fight the bacteria, dissolve the oil and reduce swelling. You can pick either of these up at your drugstore in very basic formulas at very economical prices. Keep your toothpaste for oral hygiene. You wouldn’t use your hand soap as a shampoo just because it lathers and cleans. Trust that science has found a better, non skin-burning solution.

Diet and Acne

Statement: “ Certain foods cause people to breakout more

Go the holistic route and yes, food effects everything else in our body, why wouldn’t it effect the condition of the largest organ?

Go the medical, dermatological and  esthetic route and you will usually get a resounding no. According to their training, breakouts have to do with the surface condition of the skin and ultimately are not affected by food but by external factors.

There has never been a study that shows any correlation between diet and acne. Some say this is because the medical field and pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t benefit from people just eating better. I try not to think such sinister thoughts.

Acne is VERY complicated and varies from person to person as to why they break out. If it were as simple as no longer eating chocolate or dairy products, I can guarantee you people who suffer from extreme acne would be thrilled with their new lactose-free lifestyle.

Likewise, it’s frustrating looking  for a product that actually works and can be a life long search for people with acne.

I really believe it’s a combination of both. Healthy eating and living results in overall better and more balanced body functioning. Everything would ideally work at its peak and the skin could protect and heal itself. While veggies and lots of water can help improve the condition, it may not solve it for some people.

Acne is not an allergic reaction, it’s an imbalance of oil production. Oil production is largely effected by the hormone Andgrogen.  So the diet idea makes some sense. Certain foods can increase blood sugar and insulin levels. Through biology and SCIENCE! this also increases androgen production.

Hormone influxes are also associated with stress, puberty, pregnancy and menopause.

You can find numerous theories on which foods cause more breakouts. None of this has ever been proven.

If you notice that your skin breaks out more after certain binges, it may be wise to avoid or lessen your intake of them. But humans are also prone to seeing causation where it doesn’t exist. Sometimes our skin just changes, and there is no explanation. Read this article by The Beauty Brains fro some great insight. Actually, read them all the time. They’re amazing.

Try to take a thoughtful approach to figuring it out.  Was it just a particularly lazy week, and on top of eating poorly, cleansing routines fell by the wayside as well? How do you decide then which is the culprit?

Conclusion: Maybe. Acne is very rarely just ONE thing. More research is needed before anything can definitely be decided.

Approach skin health as part of your overall health. Eat well, exercise, drink lots of water. Ideally that would be enough. If it’s not, find a skincare routine that makes sense for you. The keys factors are, once again, as follows:

1) Consistency and Patience

2) Oil Control: Salicylic Acid dissolves and controls oil throughout the day

3) Regular exfoliation: Remove the build up of dead skin cells. Don’t irritate the skin, use something gentle yet effective. No crushed nuts or shells!

4) Kill bacteria: Bacteria cause the inflammation and pus. Tea Tree Oil or Benzoyl Peroxide are both effective at ridding the skin of P.Acnes.

5) Moisturize: Keeping your skin hydrated means it doesn’t feel like it needs to produce as much oil. Use Oil-free ones to keep skin soft and balanced.

Hopefully this provided you with a bit of guidance, even though it was two “Maybe”s. I would love to hear what you have to say! Share your stories, tips and tricks.

Visit for a variety of skin care options to help fight acne.

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