Debunking Acne Treatment Myths

We have all heard acne treatment myths at some point in our lives. Among the most common is the belief that toothpaste is an effective remedy for treating pimples.  The opposite is true.  While there are some ingredients in toothpaste that might seem effective in shrinking bumps, there are others that can do far more harm than good, and cause damage to the skin.

The myth that toothpaste could be used as a treatment for acne may have gained popularity when most products contained triclosan, an antifungal and antibacterial agent. Many manufacturers today no longer include this ingredient in toothpaste because studies suggest that it could negatively affect our health.

Triclosan has been removed from most toothpaste but there are still other ingredients included that prove beneficial for our teeth but harmful to our skin. These are:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Menthol
  • Flouride
  • Sodium benzoate

Using these substances on the skin can make acne worse or result in allergic reactions that include swelling, redness, or itching.

Another popular myth involves using ice to treat pimples.  While applying ice may work in temporarily alleviating symptoms such as redness, swelling, and pain in inflammatory types of acne; it has little or no effect on other types of pimples that are non-inflammatory such as blackheads or whiteheads.

It is also important to keep in mind that using ice does not treat the contents (oil, bacteria, debris, and dead skin) inside a pimple.  Additionally, applying ice for long periods to the skin can lead to rosacea, dilated blood vessels, tissue damage, or frostbite.

Damage to our skin and other complications can be avoided by using dermatologist-approved products that are intended for skin care.  They contain ingredients that have been tested and recommended by professional organizations such as the American Academy of Dermatology.

If you choose to use more natural remedies, speak with your dermatologist about their risks and benefits before applying them to your skin.

To schedule an appointment with a dermatologist at Jamaica Hospital Medical Center, please call 718-206-7001.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.