Acne occurs when the pores on a person's face become clogged with oils naturally produced by the body. This blockage can cause bacteria to grow and pimples to appear. Baking soda is a popular natural remedy for acne breakouts and scar prevention, but is it safe?
Acne commonly affects the face but can also affect the neck, chest, and back.
While acne is usually not a serious condition, pimples can be painful and bothersome and can have a severe impact on a person's self-esteem.
In this article, we look at how to use baking soda for acne and whether it has any adverse side effects.
Baking soda may help reduce acne breakouts and manage pain and inflammation of the skin due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties,
However, using baking soda on the skin is not widely recommended by healthcare professionals, as it can irritate the skin and remove important protective oils.
If people choose to use baking soda to treat acne, it is best not to use it every day and to only use minimal amounts.
People can use baking soda for acne several different ways, including the following:
- Face mask: To create a face mask, mix between 1 and 2 teaspoons of baking soda with a facial cleanser and add a small amount of warm water to form a paste. Massage into the affected area and leave on the skin for 10–15 minutes before washing it off with warm water.
- Exfoliant: To use baking soda as an exfoliant, make the same mixture as a facemask, but wash it off right away after application. It is also possible to add baking soda to a facial scrub to boost its pore-cleansing power and get rid of dead skin cells.
- Face wash: For a baking soda facial wash, add a maximum of two teaspoons of baking soda to a facial wash. Apply to the face and wash off with warm water.
Baking soda can dry out the skin, so apply a hydrating moisturizer immediately afterwards to help prevent dry skin and tightness.
Whenever using baking soda as a skincare product, open a fresh box. Baking soda from a packet that has already been opened might be contaminated by other substances, which may harm the skin.
Some people use baking soda to target specific pimples that appear on the face.
To do this, a person can make a paste by mixing 2 teaspoons of baking soda with a little water. This paste can be directly applied to pimples or other acne lesions and left on for 20 minutes before thoroughly washing off.
Applying a moisturizer immediately afterwards will reduce the risk of the skin drying out.
There is little research on whether baking soda works as an acne treatment, and many healthcare professionals advise against using it.
The skin has a natural pH level of between 4.5 and 5.5, meaning it is acidic. Remaining within this range means the skin can continue to produce healthy oils that keep it moisturized and protected against bacteria and pollution.
Baking soda has a pH level of 9, meaning it is alkaline and can do more harm to the skin than good. Baking powder can affect the skin's pH level, stripping it of healthful oils and causing some unpleasant side effects.
Side effects include:
- very dry skin
- early onset of wrinkles
- acne breakouts worsening
- irritation and inflammation of the skin
- sensitivity to natural elements such as the sun
Baking soda is just one of many home remedies people with acne can try. Many other natural treatments are safer and have fewer side effects.
Alternatives to baking soda for acne include:
- apple cider vinegar
- tea tree oil
- avoiding touching the face
- following a diet that includes no refined sugar or starch
- eliminating dairy from the diet
Baking soda is one possible home remedy to treat acne. However, because of its alkaline properties, it can affect the pH balance of the skin and cause dryness and sensitivity.
Skin doctors (dermatologists) do not recommend using baking soda as an acne treatment and instead advise sticking to prescribed medicines, over-the-counter products, and milder home remedies.
If a person chooses to use baking soda as an acne treatment, they should limit both the quantity and frequency of use, and moisturize their skin after each application.