Fluoride and the Causes of Pimples

an all-natural detox guide for breaking up with breakouts
acne fluoride breakout toxic skincare
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / evgenyatamanenko

Chronic acne is a frustrating, uncomfortable, often embarrassing condition that many people struggle with. The underlying causes can be difficult to identify, but the real problem may be less elusive than you think. As far-fetched as it may sound, fluoride could be the barrier between you and clear skin.

Fluoride’s effective marketing has made it one of the most successful health initiatives of the twentieth century. From toothpastes and dental care products to many municipal water systems, fluoride has been touted as an essential mineral necessary for the healthy development of teeth and prevention of cavities. But recent research is showing fluoride to be problematic and potentially damaging to our bodies.

Fluoride was initially introduced into city water systems because of its ability to help remineralize weakened tooth enamel, reverse early tooth decay, and prevent the growth of bacteria in the mouth. However, too much fluoride is linked to dental and skeletal fluorosis, which causes pain and damage to bones and joints, and potentially to thyroid problems, kidney disease, lower IQ rates in children, and even bone cancer.


Fluoride’s bioaccumulative nature means that it hangs around in the body in increasing amounts that may interfere with various bodily systems and block their ability to eliminate waste and toxins, resulting in—you guessed it—breakouts!

Disruption eruption

Fluoride is a known endocrine disruptor and has been shown to depress thyroid function as well as contribute to iodine deficiency by displacing iodine receptors, a major component of healthy thyroid function. A compromised thyroid can lead to imbalanced hormones, which contribute to acne.

Fluoride is also an enzyme disruptor, pitting its highly negative charge against positively charged ions like magnesium—a major mineral responsible for over 300 essential metabolic reactions in the body and one of the best minerals to promote calm and clear skin. Healthy levels of magnesium balances hormones, calms the nervous system, promotes the healthy metabolism of estrogen, and aids in the manufacturing of steroid hormones like progesterone, all of which contribute to reduced skin inflammation and breakouts.

Pathway impediment

Fluoride may also contribute to acne breakouts by causing congestion in the lymphatic system which plays a key role in immunity, detoxification, and digestion. Just beneath the surface of the skin in the superficial capillaries, our lymphatic system is a bit like our inner ocean, flowing alongside our other detox pathways (liver and kidneys) to remove waste. When we ingest fluoride, it is absorbed into our lymph system through the small intestine by lymphatic vessels called lacteals. Too much fluoride (or other toxin) in our bodies can overload the lymphatic system, leaving it unable to effectively detox the body. When this happens, the lymph system stagnates, further aggravating acne breakouts. Acne around the jawline and neck area can be an indication of congestion in the lymphatic system.

acne fluoride breakout toxic skincare
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / galitskaya


The best way to see if fluoride is contributing to your acne is to decrease your exposure and try some techniques to give your lymph some oomph!

Fluoride liquidation!  

Fluoride isn’t just in toothpaste and dental products. It’s added to many municipal water sources and can be found in certain foods like grapes, teas, and wines.

Toothpaste brush-up 

Taking fluoride out of the bathroom routine has never been easier. With many fluoride-free dental products on the market, it’s a snap to find one that works for you.

Filter this! 

There’s a good chance that the water where you live is fluoridated. Invest in a water filter that uses activated alumina, distillation, bone char, or reverse osmosis. Note that common charcoal filters like Brita won’t remove fluoride.

Cookware clean-up

Fluoride can also be found in nonstick Teflon cookware, which, when heated to a high temperature, can leach toxins into the foods you eat. Choose stainless steel instead!

Food for thought 

Fluoride also shows up in the food we eat. Here are a few of the top offenders to avoid for clear skin:

  • Tea, as the leaves can take up fluoride directly from the soil. To minimize your fluoride exposure, stick with high-quality white teas made from younger leaves as these contain antioxidants which counteract the toxins in tea.
  • Wine, specifically from regions that still use cryolite, a fluoride-based pesticide.
  • Mechanically de-boned meat, due to residue from bones and other high-fluoride bits that end up in the finished product.
  • Non-organic chicken products, mostly due to pesticide use in chicken feed.
  • Beverages that are made from fluoridated water. Bottled water will typically list the amount of fluoride, but a lot of pops and juices do not. If the product was produced in a city that fluoridates their municipal water, one can assume it contains fluoride.

Love Your Lymph

Supporting the lymphatic system is key to managing fluoride-related breakouts. The lymphatic system flows as a function of movement and breath so it’s important to incorporate modalities that support this detox pathway.

  • Move your body frequently and get some daily exercise.
  • Break a sweat in a sauna, have a hot bath with Epsom salts, or take a hot yoga class. 
  • Add facial gua sha massage to your skincare routine.
  • Detox with fresh ginger throughout your day.
  • Dare yourself to take a contrasting shower, turning the tap from hot to cold.
  • Use gravity to your advantage and bounce on a trampoline to get the lymph flowing.

The Clear Results

It can take a long time for the body to completely detox from fluoride and show evidence it is a trigger for your acne, but the results of decreasing your exposure and supporting your lymphatic system may become visible within three months of starting. Not only clearer skin and diminished redness and irritation (especially in the thin and delicate areas around the eyes and mouth), but improved digestion, immunity, and decreased PMS symptoms are all signs that your body’s systems are working more optimally.

As awareness of environmental toxins and the impact of their bioaccumulation on health becomes more widely known, we are likely to see holistic solutions become more mainstream. Chronic acne is complex and often rooted in deep imbalances within the body, but banishing fluoride through healthy supportive practices could be the saviour for you and your skin!

You may also enjoy: Skin Care Ingredients and Facial ProductsHealthy Skin Comes from the Gut, and Super Solutions for Pimple Problems.