By: Samantha Rizzo


Let me start by saying that I have sensitive skin.

⦁ My skin is sensitive to touch – a simple brush of the skin can result in instant and lasting redness.
⦁ My skin is sensitive to the sun – heat rashes are common.
⦁ My skin is sensitive to the products I use – lotions can cause rashes and irritation easily.
⦁ My skin is sensitive to hormones – any minor change or fluctuation causes a skin reaction or breakout.

This means that I must be mindful of what I put on and around my skin because even the simplest of things can have seriously negative (direct and indirect) effects on it.

One thing that I never imagined would be a real issue for me and my skin is the toothpaste that I use. However, toothpaste has ended up being the cause of several of my very worst breakouts and on more than one occasion has completely ruined my skin.


Toothpaste sounds like such a harmless thing when it comes to skin care and acne. If you’re not slathering it on like a face mask, it shouldn’t matter, right? But for many of us, the reality is it’s a lot more complex than that.

Here’s why toothpaste might be an issue for some people’s skin:

⦁ Toothpaste contains a lot of ingredients. Usually, more ingredients mean a higher likelihood that you’ll react to one of them.
⦁ Sometimes the ingredients they use to make the toothpaste taste good are significant irritants for sensitive skin, like mint and peppermint.
⦁ Fluoride is a common culprit for toothpaste-related skin irritation, but not all fluoridated cause this issue.

However, the reason certain kinds of toothpaste are an issue for some people isn’t always so obvious, and it’s very individual to each situation.


How did I come to the realization that it was the toothpaste that ruined my skin? Well, it isn’t something that I realized easily or immediately. The first time it happened, it took me several weeks to figure it out.

I get predictable breakouts like clockwork. When my period is coming, when I haven’t been eating well, if I’ve been sleeping with makeup on, etc. But sometimes my breakouts aren’t “normal”, and they linger despite time passing and all my best efforts.

That’s how I knew something was up.

Here’s what I was dealing with:
⦁ Bumps around the sides of my mouth, and on my chin – generally a typical “hormonal” breakout for me, although not usually so concentrated at the sides of my lips.
⦁ Several small bumps that didn’t usually come to a head, but sometimes would in the worst way (massive pustules).
⦁ Redness, scaliness and, general irritation.
⦁ A steady and consistent supply of new bumps daily.
⦁ Bumps that would seemingly improve with the regular and typically effective treatments, but would never really go away, or would just start getting worse again after a few days.

Eventually, at my wit’s end with this bizarre breakout, I began questioning everything in my life that changed around the time my breakouts started happening. And one day I had this a-ha moment while I was brushing my teeth. I realized I had run out of my usual toothpaste several weeks back. Pained to go out of my way to buy this same toothpaste (Tom’s of Maine Simply White), I started using a regular brand that I received as a freebie.

The realization continued to unfold. Toothpaste is being used right around the area I’m getting these breakouts. It is possible that some residue gets on my skin, and that some ingredients are irritating. It’s also (very) possible that I drool during my sleep, and this gets even more of the irritant on my skin. Is this really what ruined my skin?

Convinced, and out of other ideas, I thought what the heck, let’s entertain this theory. I went out right away to replace the old toothpaste. After two days the redness and inflammation improved. After a few more days, the bumps stopped popping up. A few more days and the bumps were all beginning to dry up and fade away.

Eventually, my skin improved to a point that I knew for certain that it was the toothpaste that ruined my skin. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean I learned my lesson the first time. After my third time making this same painful and silly mistake (oops), I don’t think it will slip my mind again.


Obviously, you’ll want to stop using the new toothpaste if you think it might be the cause of your unruly breakouts. Switch back to whatever you were using before, and don’t be afraid to try a new brand that’s less risky.

Look for toothpaste that:

⦁ Has minimal ingredients
⦁ Is fluoride-free, and
⦁ Doesn’t irritate your mouth

During this recovery time, keep up with your regular acne treatments but keep in mind that your skin is damaged, and healing takes time. Using extra acne treatments to try and speed up the process might just cause more irritation

Instead, use more soothing and repairing creams, and lay off anything harsh or abrasive until your skin is fully recovered.

When you’re trying to pinpoint the cause of a new breakout, don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Sometimes the causes of reactions like these aren’t immediate or obvious.

Have you ever had a breakout from toothpaste? If so, did you ever find a toothpaste that didn’t irritate your skin? Let us know in the comments!

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