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The Pros and Cons of Using a Pepto Bismol Beauty Mask

A Closer Look At the Thrifty Trend

By Andrea LawrencePublished about a year ago 8 min read
Pepto Bismol is cheap to use and a lot of people swear it improves their skin. Many have used it to combat acne, help tighten pores, get a nice glow, and to make their skin softer. | Source: Anete Lusina, Pexels

Pepto Bismol for Skin Care

The trend of lathering your face up in pink medicine designed for your stomach has been around for years. Multiple TikTok users have tried out the trick for themselves. Victoria’s Secret model Devon Windsor swears by it.

Pepto Bismol can be used as a cheap skincare hack, but don’t expect it to remedy all your skin problems. Those who advocate for the pink facial mask say it reduces acne, gives their skin a noticeable glow, quells redness from inflammation, and makes their skin softer. In this article, I’m going to walk you through how to apply it on your face, as well as, tell you what are the pros and cons of using this medicine on your skin.

It’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before smearing it all over your face and leaving it there like a goon. I’m surprised that some people will leave it on their face for 20 minutes, which will inevitably dry their skin. I also encourage you to read what dermatologists have to say about this, and just so you know, I am not a dermatologist.

I have applied Pepto Bismol to my face in the past, and I found that it was soothing and my skin looked healthier and more consistent. When I have done this, I usually add it in the shower and then promptly wipe it off so my face doesn’t stay pink.

Important: If you’re pregnant or nursing, doctors advise you not to take Pepto Bismol.

Before you start using Pepto Bismol on your face, I have outlined steps you should take and steps to avoid. Don’t use the whole bottle on your face! Also, don’t spend too much time with it on your face because it can make for some annoying issues. | Source: Karina Curci, Pexels | Canva fonts

How I Learned About the Pepto Bismol Trick

The first time I heard about the Pepto Bismol skin trick was from my college roommate. She discovered it through Pinterest about ten years ago. She tried it that night and was happy with the results. Other skincare products that do the same job can be really expensive, so when you’re living on a tight budget or in college, any thrifty trick is worth trying.

After my roommate had success with a pink medicine mask, I decided to give it a shot. I was surprised that I actually liked it.

I don’t regularly use Pepto Bismol on my face. Every once in a while I remember the skincare hack and do it. I don’t recommend doing it daily as it is pretty messy and could dry your face.

How to Apply Pepto Bismol to Your Face

I recommend putting Pepto Bismol on your face while you take a shower or bath. Just don’t make the water too hot as this will contribute to dry skin.

  • You can put the pink liquid on your face or your shoulders and arms while you’re in the shower or bathtub. I do recommend putting this stuff on after you’ve taken off your clothes and maybe wrapped yourself in a towel.
  • You don’t want to get Pepto Bismol on your clothes as there is a chance it could ruin the fabric or stain it.

Pepto Bismol has red dye, and it can be a pain to get out of things.

If you’ve never tried this before, I would recommend putting a small amount of the pink mixture on your skin. You don’t want to put Pepto Bismol all over your face and then have an allergic reaction to it. Dab a little bit of it with a makeup sponge and put it on a small section of your arm. You could also apply it with a beauty brush or simply with your fingers.

If you like the results, then a couple of days later put a small amount on your face. I recommend taking before and after pictures so you can compare the results. Take note of what it did to your skin and decide whether you like it or not.

Here are some other important suggestions:

  • Slowly try more Pepto Bismol on your skin. Don’t dump the whole contents of the bottle onto your body.
  • Never put Pepto Bismol on sensitive body parts.
  • Don’t drink Pepto Bismol for fun. It could make you constipated.
  • Don’t wash your hair in it, unless you want a pink glow and tangles.
  • Don’t leave it on too long or use it frequently. Too much of anything is almost always a bad thing.

When applying it, lightly dab your face — don’t put it on with too much force. Gently rub it into your skin. Let it sit for a couple of minutes, 3–5 minutes in my opinion. Some people like this on their face because Pepto Bismol has a cooling/calming effect. It feels nice, but for others, the smell is too strong.

  • You could use a makeup brush to apply Pepto Bismol evenly onto your face. This may help prevent making a big mess.
  • If you use a brush for Pepto Bismol, you should clean it regularly and not use it for other applications.
  • Warning: if you do use the brush for other purposes the red dye might still be present.

Before washing off the Pepto Bismol, wash your hair like you normally would or do a couple of hygiene things in the shower. This should give you enough time to let the pink stuff do its job.

Make sure you scrub it off really well. One problem area will likely be your neck: make sure you clean it off real good.

Why do you really need to make sure you get Pepto Bismol off your skin? Because of the red dye I previously mentioned. It can temporarily change the color of your skin, leaving it pink. This is also why I wouldn’t frequently use this product on your skin.

After using Pepto Bismol, don’t use other skin care products on top of it. Take note of how your skin looks for the next 24 hours.

Pros of Using Pepto Bismol as Skin Care

There are some benefits to using this product on your face, especially if you can’t afford higher-quality creams and cleansers. Just make sure you’re smart about how much you apply to your skin and how often.

1. Cheap Acne Product

Compared to other skincare products, Pepto Bismol is cheap. Though it has come up in price since I first started using it, you can still find the pink liquid medicine for under $5. Compare that to the following recommended acne medicines:

  • La Roche-Posay Effaclar Medicated Gel Cleanser: $15
  • Neutrogena Rapid Clear Treatment Pads: $10
  • First Aid Beauty Skin Rescue Acne Clearing Pads: $30
  • Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment: $10

Not only is Pepto Bismol cheaper, but it’s also multi-functional. It doesn’t just treat acne. It makes your skin softer and gives it a glow. Also, its true purpose is to treat a long list of digestive issues. You can’t use those above acne medicines that way.

If you’re living on a budget, Pepto Bismol is a smarter choice financially. If you don’t like what it does to your skin, you don’t have to throw it away. You can use it for its actual intended purposes.

2. Effects Are Instantaneous

You don’t have to wait seven days to start seeing results with Pepto Bismol. You should in the same day notice changes to your skin. Here is what I’ve found:

  • I have used it on both dry and oily skin, and it’s gentle with both. At least for me.
  • It pushes back on pesky acne.
  • It makes your skin softer.

3. It Has Ingredients That Are Found in Acne Fighting Creams

Pepto Bismol has skin-clearing and pore-tightening ingredients: salicylic acid and aspirin. Aspirin can help reduce inflammation, which might be why using Pepto Bismol on your skin feels relaxing. It also has beta-hydroxyl acid, which is a known ingredient that helps unclog and tighten pores.

Tighter skin = a healthy supply of collagen and elastin to stay firm, so it appears Pepto Bismol helps prevent pores from stretching out. Another important note, when you tighten your pores, you’re preventing the development of wrinkles.

Bismuth salts have a mattifying effect when applied topically to oily skin. The antacid used in Pepto Bismol is relative to salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid, a common exfoliating ingredient. It is used in many over-the-counter skin care products. It helps unclog pores and promotes cellular turnover.

A bottle of Pepto Bismol. | Source: Wiki Commons

Cons of Using Pepto Bismol for Skin Care

Before you get excited and apply Pepto Bismol to your face, there are certain things you should know.

1. Allergic Reactions

If you are allergic to aspirin or any of the other ingredients found in Pepto Bismol, then this isn’t the right skin care trick for you. Adding it to your skin could cause it to break out in rashes or hives.

If you don’t think you have an allergy to the ingredients, you should sample a small amount on your skin before going wild with it. I also highly recommend using only a tiny amount the first couple of times if you have sensitive skin.

2. The Red Dye

Pepto Bismol can temporarily change the color of your skin. If you use it frequently or don’t clean it off well, you could have some pink coloration. It could take some time to get off your skin if you let it dry. Pepto Bismol won’t permanently change the color of your skin. Some people have had a pink flush for as many as three days.

Wash your eyebrows really well. Pepto Bismol is sneaky. I find it likes to hide in my eyebrows and neck.

3. It’s Really Messy

Pepto Bismol can get everywhere in your bathroom. You’ll likely have to clean up your bathtub and shower. This is the number one reason I don’t like to use it. It can take some extra elbow grease to get Pepto Bismol off of some surfaces.

Just how messy is it? Let me put it this way: it drips off your face, it can splash out of the bottle, and it really likes to stick to things. I wouldn’t try the Pepto Bismol skin trick on a day when you might have company over at your place because it might leave weird stains in your bathroom.

4. Dries out the Skin

You don’t want to use this product frequently or for too long because yes, as I’ve mentioned multiple times, it can dry out your skin. You have to be careful with any product you use for acne because many of these products are strong and take out the moisture in your face.

  • As someone who has used acne products before and felt like they were too strong, I would say Pepto Bismol is fairly gentle.
  • I have never felt a burning sensation with Pepto Bismol like I have with certain acne products.

How do you know if it’s drying your skin? You’ll feel a strong need to scratch your face, your skin feels irritated, and it may even feel hard. Your skin might start peeling if you get it too dry. I’ve never had any of these problems, but there are dermatologists online (if you do a quick Google search) who warn of these problems.

My recommendation: drink plenty of water throughout the day. Staying hydrated has a number of benefits for your body. Drinking water is excellent for your skin; it helps prevent dryness.


Disclaimer: This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Originally published:

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About the Creator

Andrea Lawrence

Freelance writer. Undergrad in Digital Film and Mass Media. Master's in English Creative Writing. Spent six years working as a journalist. Owns one dog and two cats.

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