How to know if toothpaste is irritating your skin and what to do


“Toothpaste ingredients such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sodium bicarbonateand sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) can dry out and irritate skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Hadley Rey, MD. “These formulations are intended to clean the hard surfaces of our teeth, not to leave on relatively delicate facial skin.” That’s why derms cringe at the idea of ​​using toothpaste as a spot treatment: despite the long-standing rumor that toothpaste can “dry out” a pimple, it can actually lead to contact dermatitis and make it worse. things (think: itchy, blotchy, scaly skin).

So, King says, if you notice red, dry or irritated areas shortly after brushing your teeth, it could be a sign that your skin isn’t a fan of toothpaste. In addition: “Fluoride toothpastes have been identified as possible trigger of perioral dermatitis”, she says, which results in little bumps around the mouth area; these are easy to mistake for breakouts, but if she notices a breakout shortly after introducing a new toothpaste, her fluoride product could be the culprit.


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