© Fuse - Getty ImagesShould you ever use toothpaste to dry out a spot? We spoke to a skincare expert and the answer might surprise you. Plus, an edit of the best spot products.
Layering a little bit of toothpaste on your spots has long been thought of as a quick bathroom cabinet trick to dry out unwanted blemishes overnight.
But is it ever a good idea to squeeze the minty stuff onto your pimple? To find out, WH called on skincare expert Dr Johanna Ward, founder of ZENii Skincare. And the answer to whether you should apply toothpaste on spots might surprise you...
Is putting toothpaste on pimples a good idea?
'To a certain extent, yes,' Dr Ward surprisingly tells us. 'It has long been known that putting toothpaste on spots will help to dry them out and zap them up.'
Okay. So, how come? 'Toothpaste works by drying out pimples and reducing redness. It does this mainly through the anti-inflammatory action of triclosan and the drying effects of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and alcohol.'
So that secondary school technique is rooted in science.
How long should you leave toothpaste on your spots for?
Real talk: this should not be your go-to fix. Using a little paste on a nasty zit for 30 minutes isn't the end of the world - but should not become a habit.
'Toothpaste is there to clean your teeth and has abrasive ingredients that are just not meant for your skin. It is okay to use in an emergency and won't hurt to do once, but it is much better to use clinically evidenced and safe ingredients such as salicylic acid, retinol and benzoyl peroxide that have been used in clinical dermatology for years.'
'You won't damage your skin this way and you'll be preventing suture flare-ups too,' adds Dr Ward.
And can I leave toothpaste on my face overnight?
'While toothpaste might dry out your pimple overnight, it is not a safe long-term fix for your skin,' notes Dr Ward.
So, how do you get a pimple to go away, fast?
'The best way to get a pimple to go away fast is to treat the area with a combination of salicylic acid, which is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and reduces oil production, and retinol, which helps reduce redness and controls skin cell turnover,' notes Dr Ward.
'Benzoyl peroxide 5% is good at killing bacteria, so it's a great option instead of antibiotics. It kills over 95% of the pathogenic bacteria in acne (predominantly Propionibacterium acnes, known as P.acnes bacteria for short) with no issues of resistance. These three products are the go-to for rapid spot treatment and for future prevention.'
So, while you can use toothpaste in a pinch, it's much better to get yourself some spot treatments that have been expertly formulated to treat and prevent.
Keep scrolling for the WH edit of the best spot treatments to use instead of toothpaste.
Now you know all about toothpaste on spots and our favourite spot treatments, these are the best exfoliators to try.
Gallery: How to deep condition your curls at home (Harper's Bazaar (UK))