Does Toothpaste Remove Blackheads? The answer to this frequently asked question is not easy. For better understanding, you should carefully read this article.
Blackheads present themselves as small bumps on the skin.
They are typically caused by clogged hair follicles and excess oil. These annoying little bumps are called blackheads because on the surface they appear to be dark in color.
They are also considered to be a mild form of acne that more than often appears on the face but can show up on the back, chest, neck, underarm, and any other area of the body where there are clogged pores.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, nearly 50 million Americans experience blackheads on the skin and is considered a common skin concern.
What Exactly Are Blackheads?
In the world of skin and esthetics, the formal name for a blackhead is open comedone. A comedone is a form of acne lesion.
There are two types of comedones: closed comedones also known as whiteheads and open comedones commonly called blackheads.
Shari B. Marchbein, a clinical professor of dermatology at New York University, explains “Blackheads are characterized by the dialed opening of the hair follicle.”
This dialed opening is caused by an overproduction of sebum. If left unaddressed, bacteria can form and cause inflammation and acne.
Does Toothpaste Remove Blackheads?
When looking for a quick and easy way to get rid of blackheads, toothpaste is a commonly suggested remedy.
Sometimes old wives’ tales have a bit of truth.
In the case of blackhead removal tips, tricks, and tales, toothpaste is one trick that never fades (pardon the pun), but does toothpaste work on blackheads?
The short answer is yes. The combination of chemicals such as baking soda, peroxide, alcohol, and menthol in toothpaste dries the pimple. Once dried out the inflammation and redness are minimized, and the life cycle of the blackhead is reduced.
Using toothpaste for blackhead removal does not come without risks. Toothpaste can be irritating to the skin and if left untreated, it is likely that the blackhead will resolve itself over time.
Toothpaste may also be the least effective form of acne and blemish treatment but may work for an occasional temporary fix.
Dermatologist Manjula Jegasothy, M.D., claims that she’s seen patients develop strong contact dermatitis after patients have tried the toothpaste hack. If dermatitis arises from the use of toothpaste, the skin concern is elevated as dermatitis treatment can result in the need for expensive topical medications to improve the skin.
Does Toothpaste Work on Spots?
It depends on the root cause of the spots. When looking for spot treatments, other home remedies include creating a formula comprised of toothpaste and baking soda.
This is far from a magic skin potion.
Much in the same way that toothpaste dries blackheads, it may result in the skin becoming too dry. In darker skin tones, this can lead to pigmentation issues.
The mint in toothpaste was once thought to be an anticlogging agent by cleaning out the oil, dirt, and debris on the top layer of the skin. If a mint toothpaste is used, it is recommended that an ice cube is applied to the skin to help close the pores and prevent the reoccurrence of the blackhead or breakout.
So, If Toothpaste and Blackheads Do Not mix, What Can Be Done?
There are other skincare products such as benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid that are proven to provide quick relief for blackheads and other blemishes without the side effects of toothpaste.
Witch Hazel is also an effective and inexpensive product to address blackheads and can be found at the local grocery store or market.
For mild blackheads, try a salicylic acid scrub. The acid will help to exfoliate and address the excess oil on the surface of the skin.
It is also a good idea to incorporate regular exfoliation into a skincare program. Manual and physical exfoliation help to keep the pores clear and breakouts to a minimum if not eliminating them altogether. To avoid over-sensitizing the skin, an exfoliation scrub should not be used daily. Three times a week is typically enough to reduce comedones.
For a more manual form of exfoliation, consider using a Clarisonic brush. Electronic skincare brushes can be more effective in cleaning the skin than fingertips alone. Just be sure to not overdo it and risk unnecessarily causing irritation.
Manual exfoliation is a great option for cleansing and to address a few blackheads and pimples but should not be used if there is active acne present. Using a brush just two to three times a week could lead to an impressive improvement in the appearance of the skin.
Stubborn blackheads can also be eliminated with retinoid cream. Retinoids address blocked pores and blackheads by reducing the debris and speeding up the cell turnover and regeneration of the skin.
A regular skincare program that includes deep cleansing, exfoliation, moisture, and sunscreen will help keep blemishes and breakouts to a minimum.
Main photo by Karolina Grabowska