Have you tried every possible treatment to get rid of those unsightly zits, but still not satisfied with the outcome? The exorbitant cosmetic products not only take a toll on your pocket but also block the skin pores in the long run, thus worsening the acne (1). What if you get to know about a product that will cure acne, that too, without spending big bucks? Yes, you heard it right! Baking soda or sodium bicarbonate is the best home remedy to heal acne and scars. Let’s discuss in detail how baking soda should be used and what precautions must be taken while using it for alleviating acne.
Is Baking Soda Really Effective for the Treatment of Acne?
Though baking soda is easy-to-use and a cost-effective substitute for high-priced cosmetics and medical treatments, it is not meant for everyone who is experiencing the problem of acne. Prolonged or continuous use of this white powder may cause cracks, dryness or irritation on the skin (2).
Baking soda is mild abrasive in nature. Though it has a great texture, the chemicals it contains are hazardous to the skin. It affects the molecular composition, texture, oil production, and probiotic balance of the dermis, thereby preventing the skin from doing the “good” things on its own ().
The effectiveness of baking soda depends on the severity of acne and your skin condition. So, before using it, you should first take the patch test. If you observe redness, inflammation or if the zit worsens, immediately stop using it and rush to a dermatologist for seeking advice.
How Baking Soda Helps Deal with Acne?
1. Soaks Excessive Oil
Excessive oily skin is one of the major reasons of acne breakouts (4). Here, baking soda comes to the rescue. Topical application of baking soda prevents the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands, thereby suppressing pimples, acne, and comedones (blackheads and whiteheads).
2. Exfoliates the Skin
The process of removing the dead skin cells from the skin’s surface is called exfoliation (5). The granular particles of baking soda, when gently rubbed on the skin, help remove the dead cells and give a fresh and glowing look to your skin.
3. Antibacterial Effect
Baking soda has anti-bacterial properties that help keep a check on bacterial infection (6). Bacteria generally grow in an acidic environment. Baking soda acts as an alkaline agent and prevents the multiplication of bacteria.
4. Antiseptic and Anti-inflammatory Properties
Baking soda is antiseptic and anti-inflammatory in nature, and reduces redness, pain, and swelling associated with acne. Exposure to sun triggers acne to flare up (7). Baking soda soothes the sunburned skin, thus relieving burning sensation and itching (8) ().
5. Maintains the pH of the Skin
An imbalance in the pH level of the skin can cause acne. Baking soda, being amphoteric (can act as both a base and an acid) in nature (), neutralizes the pH of the skin (), thus reducing the risk of breakouts.
Using Baking Soda for Acne Treatment
There are many ways to use baking soda for the removal of acne. You can prepare a baking soda mask or can use it with shampoo.
1. Baking Soda as Face Mask
This mask is easy to prepare and helps open the clogged pores.
- Clean Water – 1 tablespoon
- Baking Soda – 2 tablespoons
Mix water and baking soda to prepare a smooth paste. Now, clean your face using lukewarm water and pat dry. Massage the paste in circular motion for 2-3 minutes on the acne prone areas. Let it dry and then wash off with lukewarm water. Apply this mask twice a week.
Note: To reap the maximum benefits of baking soda, you can mix it with other ingredients and prepare different face masks.
2. Baking Soda as an Exfoliator
You can use baking soda to remove the dead cells, impurities, and dirt from the skin pores. Mix equal amount of water and baking soda. Add ground oats (around 1/6th of the baking soda-water mixture). Mix well and apply it on the affected areas in a circular motion with your fingertips. It will boost up the blood circulation, thus curing various skin ailments, including acne.
3. Baking Soda Bath
Baking soda bath is an effective solution for back acne, acne on chest, and other areas of the body. Take 1/2 cup (or 100 grams) of baking soda and add it to the bath tub containing warm water. Bathe with this water and pat dry. Then apply moisturizer. Take this bath daily until the acne is cured completely.
4. Add Baking Soda to Your Shampoo
Add 2-3 grams of baking soda to the bottle of your shampoo. Mix well before every use. Washing your hair with this shampoo alleviates the side-effects caused by the use of mousse and volumizer, which, in turn, prevents the acne breakouts at the hairline.
5. Baking Soda with Regular Cleanser
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in your regular facial cleanser. First, rinse off your face with warm water. It will open up the pores of the skin. Then apply the baking soda mixed cleanser on the affected areas. Massage gently for a few minutes. Finally, wash off with cool water and apply moisturizer.
6. Baking Soda as a Scrub
Baking soda scrub clears the buildup by penetrating deep into the skin, which helps treat blackheads, pimples, and acne. Mix 2 tablespoons each of granulated brown sugar and baking soda in 1/4 cup lemon juice. Apply this mixture on a clean face and scrub gently for a few minutes with your fingers. Let it stay for 8-10 minutes and then rinse off with lukewarm water. Use it regularly until you observe the results.
7. Baking Soda Soap
Daily use of baking soda soap clears the zits and makes your skin soft. For preparing the soap, take an empty soap base or container. Fill half of it with baking soda. Then add water. You can add an essential oil to it (if you want). Stir well and let it dry naturally. It will turn into a soap form after a few hours.
Precautions To Be Taken While Using Baking Soda for Healing Acne
- A patch test should be carried out before using baking soda. If it causes a stinging or itching sensation, rinse it off quickly.
- Baking soda results in dryness of the skin. So, use a moisturizer after its application.
- Avoid rubbing it strenuously on the skin.
- If you are already taking any skin treatment, seek advice from your dermatologist prior to using baking soda.