It’s hard to believe a product like toothpaste can cause that rash around your mouth called perioral dermatitis. But it can. On a more positive note, a gentler toothpaste formula can clear this annoying rash within a month. Sound too good to be true? It’s not.
Even though my perioral dermatitis was healed by a diet change, many women find relief by simply switching their toothpaste brand.
When I learned how ingredients in toothpaste can trigger perioral dermatitis, I started making my own toothpaste. But if you feel more comfortable with an over-the-counter (OTC) brand of toothpaste, I’ve got you covered.
When we’re done, you’ll understand how toothpaste causes this condition, how to avoid worsening it, and which brands of toothpaste are best for perioral dermatitis.
Plus, we’ll look at commonly recommended brands on reddit and other online forums to see if they’re as safe and 100% free of rash triggering ingredients as everyone thinks.
So what makes a safe toothpaste for perioral dermatitis?
The best toothpaste for perioral dermatitis is any toothpaste that contains no fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfates (sls or sles), and is free from irritating flavors like cinnamon and peppermint. The rash around your mouth can heal after these ingredients are discontinued and replaced with safer ones.
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Best Natural Toothpaste for Perioral Dermatitis
Redmond Earth Paste Lemon Twist has simple natural ingredients safe for perioral dermatitis. It might not be a pretty color but it’ll keep your teeth sparkly white. With all-natural ingredients, it’s the purest commercial toothpaste you can buy.
Redmond Earth Paste Lemon Twist Ingredients: Purified Water, Bentonite Clay, Non-Gmo Xylitol, Lemon Essential Oil, Lemon Verbena Essential Oil, Tangerine Essential Oil, Sea Salt.
Keep reading to find out which ingredients in toothpaste cause perioral dermatitis and how to keep your skin clear. And if citrus flavoring isn’t your thing, no worries. I’ve listed 2 more toothpaste brands that have different flavor choices that are still free of irritants that can cause an allergic skin rash.
Before we start, I’m not a doctor. This content isn’t intended to substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition.
What is Perioral Dermatitis?
Perioral dermatitis is a common acne-like condition, which affects the chin, upper lip, area around the nose, and sometimes between the eyebrows or around the eyes. It consists of small red bumps that sometimes fill with clear yellow liquid. The skin on and around the bumps is usually red and scaly.
If you think the rash around your mouth is perioral dermatitis but hasn’t been diagnosed, it’s worth a visit to a dermatologist. Many skin conditions resemble this red, acne-like breakout like rosacea, contact dermatitis, eczema, and seborrheic dermatitis.
In fact, before visiting a dermatologist’s office, I thought I’d developed an allergic reaction to salicylic acid. As with any disease, an accurate diagnosis is the first step to an effective treatment.
Now let’s look at how a toothpaste allergy can causeg this ugly rash.
What Causes Perioral Dermatitis?
Although Dermatologists don’t know the exact cause of perioral dermatitis, there are some risk factors that seem to trigger it.
- Use of steroid creams and inhaled steroids
- Fluoridated corticosteroids (penetrate the skin better than non fluoridated steroids)
- Food intolerances
- Toothpaste with harsh ingredients
- Skincare and cosmetics that contain sodium lauryl sulfate (sls or sles)
- Hormonal fluctuations
- Essential oils
If you already have perioral dermatitis from a toothpaste allergy and then try to treat it with some of the above triggers like cortisol cream, essential oils, or moisturizer made with SLS it can go from bad to worse.
On the other hand, eliminating all irritating products, including toothpaste that contain fluoride and SLS can cause the rash to subside and eventually disappear.
Let’s get right to these harsh ingredients in toothpaste that can cause perioral dermatitis. So you can treat the rash around your mouth to help clear it up fast.
Why These 4 ingredients in Toothpaste Trigger Perioral Dermatitis
You may wonder how toothpaste can cause a skin condition when it’s used inside the mouth and immediately rinsed out after brushing.
It’s because the oral mucosa can absorb more than 90 percent of what it comes in contact with. Which can lead to hypersensitive reactions in your skin.
Plus, an accumulative effect of topical chemicals can cause perioral dermatitis. This might also explain why it’s more common in women. We unknowingly sensitize our skin with cosmetics and skincare full of fragrances, chemicals, and preservatives.
While these 4 ingredients in toothpaste are more likely to trigger perioral dermatitis, there can be up to 30 different allergens in most commercial brands of toothpaste.
When checking to see if your toothpaste contains fluoride check the active ingredient list for sodium fluoride, sodium monofluorophosphate or stannous fluoride. They can all cause a fluoride rash on your face.
A fluoride skin rash is caused by toothpaste used inside your mouth or by getting it directly on the skin. Some home remedies even suggest using toothpaste with fluoride on the skin to spot treat pimples. Please don’t!
According to Fluoride Alert, “Ever since fluoride toothpaste was introduced in the mid-1950s, studies in the scientific literature have documented adverse skin reactions from the use of topical fluoride products such as toothpaste.”
And these fluoride allergy rash pictures show how completely perioral dermatitis can heal once this chemical is discontinued. A skin rash from fluoride toothpaste is even more likely when you use high fluoride toothpaste prescribed by your dentist.
Here are study results that prove fluoride on your face or near it can cause perioral dermatitis:
“We decided to conduct a study of the possible role of fluoride toothpaste in the development of PD (periorificial dermatitis) when one of our patients noted dramatic improvement after switching from fluoride to a non-fluoride toothpaste… She remained free of lesions for approximately three months, at which point we asked her to resume the use of fluoride toothpaste. Within a few days, she experienced an exacerbation of PD (perioral dermatitis) that resolved completely when she stopped using the fluoride toothpaste. [T]he data seems to support our hypothesis that fluoride-containing dentifrices play a role in the development of PD (perioral dermatitis).
SOURCE: Mellette JR, et al. (1983). Perioral dermatitis. Journal of the Association of Military Dermatologists 9: 3-8.
While you’re more likely to come in contact with fluoride from toothpaste, it’s in other products too. For example, it’s in mouthwash, tooth floss, professional fluoride treatments you get at the dentist, tap water, and even in juice made with fluoridated water.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS):
Brushing without SLS in your toothpaste is a strange experience. This cleaning detergent helps thicken toothpaste and causes it to foam up. Unfortunately, it can also cause perioral dermatitis.
Many women heal their perioral dermatitis just by eliminating sls or sles from their beauty routine. Unless, you have one of the brands listed in this post, I’ll bet the toothpaste you use everyday has sodium lauryl sulfate in it. It’s one of the most common ingredients in toothpaste and is even in most “natural” brands.
For more in-depth information on how sodium lauryl sulfate triggers perioral dermatitis read: Stop Irritating Your Skin With Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
Cinnamon and Mint:
A Finish study found flavors and preservatives in toothpaste are also highly allergenic.
The most common flavor to irritate the skin is cinnamon. Next, are flavors from the mint family like peppermint, spearmint, and menthol.
Although flavors are less likely to cause a rash, it’s important to brush without them in case you’re allergic to them. Because even the purest all-natural brand of toothpaste can trigger a perioral dermatitis face rash if it contains a flavor you’re allergic to.
This also includes chewing gum, ice cream, and herbal tea with cinnamon or mint flavors.
Tartar or plaque-controlling toothpaste is out too. Tetrasodium pyrophosphate is an ingredient in anti-tartar toothpaste that can cause perioral contact dermatitis.
This harsh chemical compound prevents plaque from mineralizing and turning into tartar. Which is good for your teeth, but bad for your skin. Unfortunately, it’s used in some peel-off skincare masks too.
So how can you get rid of plaque and tartar naturally? Be sure to rinse after meals and floss once a day. This is just as effective at keeping plaque from building up on your teeth.
Before we talk about toothpaste brands, here are a few other ingredients commonly found in commercial toothpaste that can cause skin irritations.
Other Allergens Reported in Toothpaste
- Propolis – antiseptic
- Licorice flavors – star anise, fennel, and anise
- Cocamidopropyl betaine – surfactant
- Hexylresorcinol – plaque control
- Azulene – anti-inflammatory
- Dipentene – solvent
- Coloring agents
- Whitening ingredients
- Preservatives – sodium benzoate, methyl paraben, and ethyl paraben
It’s challenging to find a safe toothpaste for perioral dermatitis that doesn’t contain any of the above mentioned ingredients.
That’s why so many commercial brands of toothpaste can cause perioral dermatitis. So, if you regularly use Crest or Colgate, check the ingredients list, you might find some of these ingredients that cause that allergic rash around your mouth.
But don’t worry, after searching high and low here’s a list of the safest kinds of toothpaste to use if you have perioral dermatitis.
More Toothpaste Brands with 100% Safe Ingredients
Besides keeping perioral dermatitis from flaring up, these brands and Redmond’s Earthpaste mentioned above are also effective at keeping your teeth white and bright.
Dr. Sheffield’s Certified Natural Toothpaste (Mixed Berry, Strawberry Banana, and Chocolate). It’s for kids because a lot of kid-friendly products are extremely gentle. This is one of the best toothpaste to use for perioral dermatitis because of its natural ingredients and non-irritating flavors. My favorite is the mixed berry.
Another good toothpaste for perioral dermatitis is Jason Simply Coconut Whitening. It’s recommended because it’s free of sulfates, fluoride, and potentially irritating flavors. I wasn’t surprised to find an all-natural toothpaste from Jason since their product lines are so pure.
Lastly, it’s easy and cost-effective to make your own toothpaste that’s safe for perioral dermatitis with simple ingredients from the kitchen.
For an easy DIY toothpaste recipe check out: Make Your Own All-Natural Coconut Oil Toothpaste Recipe
How to Determine Which Toothpaste Ingredient Triggered Your Rash
Once you determine toothpaste is what makes your perioral dermatitis flare up, it’s time to figure out which specific ingredient(s) in toothpaste cause your allergic reaction.
Start by adding mint flavors back into your toothpaste because it’s the most common flavor in oral care. Plus, cinnamon is more likely to cause a toothpaste allergic reaction.
If it weren’t for the mint flavors these 3 would have made it to the 100% safe ingredients list.
Fluoride-free and SLS-free Mint Flavored Toothpastes
Want whiter teeth without harsh whitening chemicals? Hello uses charcoal as its whitening agent which is safe for perioral dermatitis. So this mildly minty toothpaste that’s fluoride free and sls-free is a good one to try.
On the other hand, if you have sensitive teeth the next two choices may be better. Weleda Plant Gel Toothpaste is a red tooth gel. The red coloring comes from myrrh, an antimicrobial. But if your rash is from fluoride or sls toothpaste, this non fluoride, sls-free toothpaste is perfect and has a light minty flavor.
Jason Sea Fresh Spearmint Toothpaste is another good toothpaste allergy alternative with mild spearmint flavoring without fluoride and sls.
SLS-free Toothpaste with Fluoride
Next, try adding fluoride if it’s an important part of your dental health routine.
Sensodyne Pronamel contains fluoride and is sodium lauryl sulfate-free.
Lastly, since sodium lauryl sulfate is such a toxic ingredient and doesn’t add many benefits to oral hygiene, I would avoid it altogether.
Recommended Toothpaste for Perioral Dermatitis You Should NOT Use
I’ve recently seen these brands recommended on the internet for perioral dermatitis. They all have at least one troublesome ingredient.
You probably don’t want to waste time trying brands that eliminate SOME perioral dermatitis provoking ingredients.
It’s much better to eliminate them all, let your rash heal, and then try a brand with only one irritant at a time so you can see what causes your rash to come back.
Marvis Classic Toothpaste:
While it may be a fluoride free toothpaste, it has sodium lauryl sulfate as a main ingredient and mostly comes in mint flavors. This sls toothpaste may be safe for those that don’t have an allergic reaction to sulfates, but why take a chance?
Tom’s of Maine Natural Fluoride-Free SLS-Free Botanically Bright Toothpaste
On the surface, it sounds like it would be a good toothpaste for perioral dermatitis. And it might work for some, but benzyl alcohol on the ingredient list is associated with contact allergy and could trigger perioral dermatitis.
Other Face Rashes Aggravated by Toothpaste Ingredients
As if perioral dermatitis wasn’t bad enough, these common rashes can also be triggered by ingredients in common toothpaste brands.
- Contact dermatitis
- Acute urticaria (hives)
- Dermatitis Herpetiformis (HD)
How Long Does It Take to Clear Up Perioral Dermatitis Caused by Toothpaste Ingredients?
Eliminating rash-producing ingredients helps clear up perioral dermatitis fast. Some women see improvement in as little as 2 days. If the rash around your mouth is an allergic reaction to toothpaste, most women see clear skin within 4-6 weeks.
What to Do If Changing Your Toothpaste Doesn’t Heal Your Rash?
Once you determine you don’t have a toothpaste rash, it’s time to find out what caused your allergic reaction.
That’s why keeping a perioral dermatitis diary is a must when eliminating possible allergy triggers like the ones you find in toothpaste.
Other products and foods can contain fluoride, sodium lauryl sulfate, and flavors like cinnamon and mint. You’ll want to check the ingredient list on your favorite foods and beauty products too.
If after using only gentle all-natural beauty products you still have the rash, I would try this elimination diet. Perioral dermatitis can be caused by food intolerance and gut issues.
I think you’ll find many of the ingredients in toothpaste are there to create a pleasant experience for your senses. And yet, these same chemicals can create a horrible experience for your skin. Now finding an alternative toothpaste that doesn’t irritate your skin is easy.
Believe me, you’re not missing much by switching up your toothpaste. Like most things, within a few weeks, you won’t miss the powerful mint flavors and mouth full of bubbles when you brush your teeth. In fact, I think you’ll see how commercial toothpaste is overkill. But most importantly, you’ll be treating yourself to a healthier beauty routine.
I truly hope avoiding these chemicals clears up this terrible rash for you. Yes, it can help you fully appreciate that what others see on the outside is not who you. And while that’s a powerful lesson to learn, it’s a huge relief to get this rash under control.
More Perioral Dermatitis Posts
- Stop Irritating Your Skin With Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- This Diet Cures Your Perioral Dermatitis Face Rash
- How to Save Your Skin: Sunscreen for Perioral Dermatitis
- Make Your Own All-Natural Coconut Oil Toothpaste Recipe