What Is Baking Soda?
Nussbaum says that baking soda is a chemical compound that is also called sodium bicarbonate. It has alkalinizing properties and is technically a salt. When it comes to using baking soda for acne and in skin care routine for acne, the alkalinizing part is very important. According to Gonzalez, this is also why baking soda helps neutralize acidic substances both inside and outside the body. Did you know that baking soda can also help with stomach problems?
There’s no doubt that using baking soda for acne in at-home beauty treatments, is a very cheap ingredient to use for this purposes. It could be used as a physical exfoliant; in a pinch, it could stand in for dry shampoo; and it makes a great foot soak.
It’s easy to make into toothpaste, and many natural deodorants are based on it (both DIY recipes and the ready-made options). You see what I mean? But using baking soda for acne on your face and to get rid of spots is where things start to get a little risky and you should be careful.
How Does It Work?
Using baking soda for acne may help fight it because it reduces inflammation, kills bacteria, and scrubs the skin. But almost no research has been done on baking soda for acne. Most of the research on its antibacterial properties has been done in the field of dentistry.
Another reason for using baking soda for acne is to exfoliate skin, because of its texture it can help get rid of dead skin cells that often clog pores.
People often mix up baking soda and baking powder when it comes to skin care. You should never put baking powder on your skin. It doesn’t help with acne.
What Baking Soda Can Do for Acne
There are some. If there weren’t, there wouldn’t be so many articles praising it as a natural way to get rid of zits. Here are a few of the most important benefits:
Nussbaum says that baking soda’s slightly gritty texture makes it work as an exfoliant. And exfoliating may be one way to keep pores from getting clogged and blackheads, whiteheads, and red pimples from forming.
Gonzalez says that using baking soda for acne has anti-inflammatory effects. She says that’s why you can find it in a lot of over-the-counter skin care products that help with things like bug bites and rashes. She adds that this is another reason why it might help calm red, irritated breakouts.
It can help people with oily skin find a pH balance. Let’s start with a quick review of what we learned in high school chemistry class: On the pH scale, 0 is acidic, 7 is basic, and 14 is neutral. Anything with a pH below 7 is acidic, and anything with a pH above 7 is alkaline. Most of the time, the pH of our skin is between 4 and 6.1. “This is a healthy level that keeps the water moist and keeps bacteria and pollution from getting in,” says Gonzalez.
But, says Nussbaum, “if your skin is more acidic than average, it can cause your body to make too much sebum, which can clog pores and cause acne.” Nussbaum says that in this case, baking soda’s alkaline nature (remember, we talked about that before) can help bring the skin’s pH back to a healthier level by restoring balance.
How to Use It
If you still want to try using baking soda for acne, keep in mind that the oilier your skin is, the less likely it is that you will have problems. In other words, if your skin is already dry and sensitive, this is not the right ingredient for you.
Second, it’s best to use small amounts infrequently. Nussbaum says to mix about two teaspoons of baking soda with enough water to make a paste-like mixture and use it only on blemishes as a spot treatment.
To be clear, don’t use it as a full-face mask and spread it all over your face. Nussbaum says to leave it on for five to ten minutes and then rinse gently with warm water. Do this no more than once a week. Since it could also dry out your skin, you should be extra careful to use moisturizer and SPF.
At the end of the day, that box of Arm & Hammer will be used for many things other than fighting acne, so it doesn’t have to be one of them.
Risks and Side Effects
Using baking soda for acne on your face might be risky for you. The rough texture could irritate the skin, and the neutral pH could change the normal pH of the skin.
In general, the pH of skin should be somewhere between 4.5 and 5.5. The pH scale goes from 0 to 7, and acidic is at the bottom. Alkaline things have a pH between 7 and 14. Baking soda has a pH of 9, which means it is alkaline and will lower the pH of anything acidic it comes into contact with.
The acid mantle, which is the skin’s natural acidity, helps to protect it from bacteria and damage from the outside world. If the pH of the skin is evened out, its natural defenses are weakened. Using baking soda for acne can take away the oils that your skin makes on its own, leaving it open to harmful microbes and more sensitive.
Some of the problems that can happen when using baking soda for acne are:
- Extreme dryness
- Irritation acne that is getting worse.
- Peeling wrinkles that appear too soon
If you get undesired side effects from using baking soda for acne, stop using it right away.
Even though using baking soda for acne has some merit, most of the evidence for it comes from personal stories. Baking soda is often a controversial ingredient in homemade skin care products because of its alkaline pH and gritty texture that could do more harm than good.
But when using baking soda for acne carefully, for example in face masks, spot treatments, and overnight treatments, it’s important to use small amounts and be gentle on your skin. For example, if baking soda tends to dry out your skin, you might want to add a skin-friendly oil like hemp seed oil to your baking soda face mask.
If you use baking soda to treat acne, it could make your skin very dry and irritated. If you change your skin’s pH, it could become more prone to acne and other damage.