The 5 Popular Spot Treatments That Don’t Actually Work

Don't believe the hype

If we had a dollar for every time someone said toothpaste gets rid of pimples, we’d be sunning ourselves in Tahiti right now. Below, five of the most common spot treatment myths, busted – and what to try instead.

1/ Toothpaste

It sounds good in theory: toothpaste is drying, so it must dry out your breakout, right? Sadly, wrong. Toothpaste isn’t designed for the skin, nor is it designed to be left anywhere for long (hence why we rinse). It contains multiple ingredients like hydrogen peroxide that can irritate our faces, leading to dryness and redness. Save it for your teeth.

2/ Vegemite

Delicious on toast, not so great for your skin. Victoria’s Secret model Shanina Shaik once told Allure she swears by the stuff as a makeshift spot treatment, but the experts aren’t on board – in fact, vegemite could make your acne even worse. 

3/ Anything expensive

It’s tempting to think the more expensive a product is, the more effective it must be, but that’s simply not the case. Speak to any dermatologist and they’ll often advocate a ‘simple is best’ approach when it comes to both the number of products you’re using and the ingredients they each contain.

thursday plantation tea tree blemish stick acne
(Credit: Thursday Plantation)

4/ Popping it

So you’re addicted to Dr Pimple Popper videos on YouTube? Don’t try that at home. As appealing as it is to simply pop it and run, in inexperienced hands it can lead to infection and scarring. Instead, slather on a bona fide spot treatment instead: try the Thursday Plantation Tea Tree Blemish Stick or Tea Tree Medicated Gel For Acne, both of which penetrate deep into the skin to dry out pimples and reduce their occurrence, thanks to the natural anti-bacterial properties of tea tree. 

5/ Coconut oil

It’s the cure-all of our generation, with claims that it promotes shiny hair, glowing skin and whiter teeth. But when it comes to clearing your skin, steer clear: coconut oil is comedogenic, meaning it can clog your skin’s pores and lead to breakouts. If you have oily skin, stick to lighter, non-comedogenic oils like jojoba (for hydrating) and tea tree (for clearing) instead.

Related stories