I love beauty myths, aka urban beauty legends, mostly because I have access to the source of all beauty truths, my father, renowned Swiss dermatologist Dr. Luigi L. Polla. I had once (upon the request of a BFF) asked him about the truth behind using Preparation H in the undereye area. This time, another friend asked me about using toothpaste to heal a pimple.
The theory behind the idea is that toothpaste contains a number of ingredients that dry out pimples, including baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, triclosan, menthol, and sometimes essential oils.
However, just like Preparation H is, to put it bluntly, not exactly meant for the undereye area, toothpaste is not exactly meant to be used on the face.
So – what is one to do?
My dad agrees that using toothpaste on the face on a regular basis is not a good idea as this would be irritating. Tricolsan and alcohol, for example, are two ingredients that tend to cause dryness, irritation, and can be allergens.
However, toothpaste does contain ingredients that will help minimize angry pimples, including anti-bacterial ingredients and metals such as zinc or copper. As such, in very limited instances, Dr. Polla says it is ok to use toothpaste to help dry out a pimple. Don’t do it daily, don’t use toothpaste on healthy skin (i.e. spot treat only), and do it only in an emergency (for example you wake up on a desert island with a huge throbbing pimple but without any appropriate facial products and have a date with the island man that evening).
I can’t help but ask about eye drops as well. After all, they are meant to tighten blood vessels to minimize the look of red eyes. Would that minimize the redness of a pimple? “Don’t push your luck” says my father.