There is little to no scientific data proving any connection between human saliva and the reduction or cure of acne, though many people claim that saliva works better than many medications. In most cases the benefits, if any, are open to interpretation and widely disputed. Saliva can be acidic, which can cause the skin to dry out and might actually make breakouts worse; it’s also generally high in bacteria, which can lead to infection. Most experts recommend that anyone who wants to try saliva as a cure wait until first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking. This is when the saliva is the “purest,” and is also a time when it isn’t as likely to have dangerous bacteria or food particles in it.
A number of researchers have begun studies on dog saliva as a treatment for acne, and some of the results have been promising. People with moderate to severe acne sometimes see a dramatic reduction in their breakouts when applying dog saliva, either in its raw form or mixed in with pharmaceutical lotions. This, too, is somewhat controversial, however.
Effects of Human Saliva
Human saliva is made primarily of water, but also contains a number of digestive enzymes. When people put food in their mouths the saliva usually starts breaking it down right away, and in most cases the saliva is considered an important part of the digestive process. There is only scant and largely anecdotal evidence suggesting that the use of one's own saliva can treat or cure pimples, however. Many people believe that it does, and this may stem from the idea that, just as the fluid breaks down food, so it could also break down the oils and blockages that cause pimples — but this hasn’t really ever been proved in any formal way.
In some cases, it might even make acne worse. Saliva contains high levels of bacteria that can infect pores and cause further breakouts. It's also drying to the skin, so consistent use could lead to flaking or chapping. This could make skin even more susceptible to bacteria, which could possibly lead to even more breakouts. To avoid these downsides, most people who want to try saliva do so first thing in the morning before any food or drink has been consumed. The fluid is also generally at its thickest and most potent after resting, too.
Dog Saliva Studies
Some studies have suggested that canine saliva might be beneficial in the treatment of acne. This could be because dog saliva has antibacterial properties. Canines lick their wounds to speed healing and prevent infection, and folklore from a number of cultures and societies suggests that allowing a dog to lick one's cuts or scrapes could lead to faster healing.
In most cases a dog's saliva is more acidic that a human's, which may be part of the explanation. Its high acidity does not support the growth of many harmful bacteria. Therefore, the use of dog saliva for acne could prevent bacteria-related acne flare-ups. This acidic nature may also help dry up excessive oils on the face. Although more research is needed to determine exactly how and why dog saliva works, it has provided an alternative cleansing option for some acne sufferers.
The most direct way for a person to apply saliva is to spit, either into a hand or a small container, then rub the spit directly onto the blemish. This is a bit more difficult with dogs. People can either let the animal lick their acne or they can attempt to extract the saliva in another way. Collecting drool from chew toys is one option, but others prefer to enlist a veterinarian’s assistance.
Saliva can also be mixed in with prepared acne cleansers or lotions. At least one company has implemented the use of dog saliva for acne cleansers, with a face care line that includes real dog saliva in its ingredients. Similar products may become available from other manufacturers in the future. Other ingredients, like skin soothers or other acne fighters, may also be combined to amplify the results.
Importance of Professional Care
Even when saliva, whether human or canine, seems to be working, people who have severe acne should usually consult with a dermatologist or other skin care professional. No two cases of acne are exactly the same, and each person's pimples may be caused by something slightly different. Determining the underlying factors, such as hormones or bacterial infection, can greatly increase the chances of permanently treating acne and preventing its recurrence in the future.