- Toothpaste is a popular beauty hack for getting rid of blackheads.
- While toothpaste does contain some blackhead-fighting ingredients, it may also contain unwanted ingredients that can irritate skin.
- Using toothpaste to remove blackheads is considered an off-label treatment and is not recommended by dermatologists.
While it’s true that many active ingredients in toothpaste are also commonly found in over-the-counter blackhead treatments, some of the other active ingredients may irritate skin.
How Does Toothpaste Get Rid of Blackheads?
Toothpaste has three principal methods of action which may help clear up blackheads.
- Antibacterial effects
- Anti-inflammatory effects
Is Toothpaste Bad for Your Skin?
Maybe. Certain ingredients in toothpaste are known skin irritants and may cause adverse side effects. On the other hand, some toothpaste ingredients may speed up the clearing of blackheads.
Other than those discussed below, other common toothpaste ingredients known to cause skin irritation include sodium fluoride, artificial flavoring, mint extracts and sodium lauryl sulfate (a commonly added foaming agent).
Some common toothpaste ingredients that may cause irritation:
Triclosan is a powerful antibacterial and antifungal agent with mild anti-inflammatory properties. Its use in skincare products is considered controversial.
- Hydrogen peroxide
Like Triclosan, hydrogen peroxide is an antibacterial. It kills cells via a process called oxidative stress. Unfortunately, oxidative stress may also damage your own healthy cells, causing irritation and slowing the healing process of blackheads.
- Sodium bicarbonate
Like other salts, bicarbonate of soda acts as a mild physical exfoliant. Unfortunately, sodium bicarbonate may also cause irritation and excessive dryness.
How to Use Toothpaste to Remove Blackheads
If you’re still determined to give toothpaste a try, despite the risks, here’s a step-by-step approach:
- Wash with warm water and a cleanser to remove excess oil and dirt.
- Test a small amount of toothpaste on a small patch of skin beforehand to ensure you don’t experience an adverse reaction.
- Apply the toothpaste in small circular motions and work it into your skin pores and blackheads. Let it absorb overnight.
Repeat this process nightly, until your blackheads have cleared. If you experience excessively dry skin, irritation or any other side effects, wash the area immediately and continue with a dermatologist approved treatment.
Are There Better Treatments for Blackheads Out There?
Yes, there are. While using toothpaste as a blackhead home remedy may work in some cases, there are safer, more effective treatments available without a prescription.
Better treatments for blackheads include alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA’s), beta-hydroxy acids (BHA’s) as well as gentle cleansers and exfoliants.
For more complete information about clearing blackheads, see our in-depth article about treating blackheads.
- Weatherly, L. M., & Gosse, J. A. (2017). Triclosan exposure, transformation, and human health effects. Journal of toxicology and environmental health. Part B, Critical reviews, 20(8), 447–469. doi:10.1080/10937404.2017.1399306