Baking soda for acne is one of the cheapest and most versatile ingredients you can use.
Here is everything you need to know about how to use baking soda for your skin to get the best results – masks recipes, quick tips and more…
It can be used for treating acne, reducing blackheads, brightening skin tone, zapping a pimple, smoothing skin… you name it!
Baking soda may just become your new skin care “secret”!
Baking Soda for Acne and Skin Works Because:
- It has mild anti inflammatory properties that help reduce redness and swelling…. a common use for baking soda is adding some to a bath to soothe rashes, irritation or sunburn on the body…
- It makes sense that is it’s also beneficial for acne – which is by definition an inflammatory condition
- The physical texture gives it exfoliating power – I still prefer the less scratchy, more even exfoliation of chemicals exfoliators like BHAs (salicylic acid for example), but baking soda does have the ability to “refresh” skin
- ***It can be irritating and drying. Take care and lessen the frequency of treatment until your skin gets used to it. And always moisturize!***
Possible Side Effects
The gloriousness of baking soda for your face may come with some side effects for some people.
Take a look at these so you know what to expect and how to go about preventing them:
Can be irritating.
Can sting a bit.
If used too much can disrupt the top layer of skin (acid mantle) and can cause sensitivity with redness and/or irritation.
Baking soda can cause breakouts for some people! This is either a “purging” or, more likely, it is from overuse which is causing inflammation – which in turn causes breakouts.
Most of these side effects from using baking soda on your skin are not too extreme – if you haven’t overdone the scrubbing, recovery is simple: just stop using it for a few days.
Be gentle with your skin (a good hydrating moisturizer, no exfoliation, keep away from extremes of heat, cold, wind etc), and it will be fine.
If you’re worried or you just want to make sure – do a patch test on a small area before using it.
Wait – I Thought The High Acidity of Baking Soda “Imbalances” skin??
Baking Soda has a high-ish pH 9 (alkaline). The skin mantle (natural surface layer sebum (oil) and sweat) is slightly acidic at around pH 5 (source).
Isn’t this bad??
Yes and no…
First of all it’s important to remember that it needs to be used sparingly – once or twice a week (which is the same recommendation for most other skin treatments).
Second: there are numerous products that are a different pH to skin. While only using products as the same pH as skin sounds good, it is somewhat of a myth…
Mot soaps are slightly alkaline, which is what makes them good cleansers. Here is a quote from one study which compared long term usage of alkaline soaps with that of a slightly acidic cleanser:
“These results suggest that long-term continuous use of a soap-based cleanser does not affect the pH-maintain- ing mechanism of human skin.” (1)
In other words – there was no significant difference between the two and the skin has a remarkable way of maintaining balance.
Just be sensible, don’t overuse any of these methods. And if your skin gets too dry or starts to get irritated – stop completely.
THIS can be the reason for why baking soda can sting. If your skin is sensitive, you may wish to avoid it.
***IMPORTANT – baking soda is soluble in water. So it is best to use it with water instead of oil etc. This takes away the harshness and makes the crystals “rounder”.
Ready? How To Use Baking Soda for Skin Care
Baking Soda for Acne, Blackheads, and Oily Skin
The BEST way to use baking soda for acne and congested skin is to mix it with your cleanser.
1. Increase The Power Of Your Cleanser –
For Oily, Congested Skin, Blackheads
Baking soda as a cleanser is best for very oily and congested skin.
It can be irritating to use everyday but if your skin is oily it should be able to handle it, if not, every 2nd or 3rd day is fine.
Start gentle as taking your time is better than ending up with redness and irritation!
1) In the beginning the best way is to mix some baking soda into your normal cleanser, preferably a gentle product. This gives your skin a chance to get used to it and the results will be better
2) Add 1/2 a teaspoon to your cleanser and mix in your hands
3) Apply to face and massage gently for at least 30 seconds. Concentrate on oily, congested areas or any scars
4) Rinse off with plenty of cool water
5) Apply moisturizer straight away – this can be drying and may leave your skin feeling tight
2. Facial Mask –
To Soothe Breakouts, Inflammation and Redness
Acne equals inflammation.
Whether you experience it on a “per pimple” basis, or your whole face becomes red and irritated, a baking soda mask is a good way to soothe it.
Use this mask 2 – 4 times a week for best results.
1) Cleanse and dry face with a gentle cleanser
2) Mix approx. 2 teaspoons of baking soda with enough water to form a wet paste – in your palm (most simple) or a cup
3) Leave on skin for at least 15mins – if it stings too much (a little is normal and a sign it’s working) take it off
4) Remove with plenty of cool water and pat dry
5) Apply moisturizer straight away – skin will feel tight and dry…. but look bright and very clean!
Use it as a Clearing Mask:
The aspirin mask – aspirin, baking soda, lemon juice
grind up a few aspirin (anti inflammatory) baking soda (cleaning and exfoliate) and honey (moisturizing and natural healing qualities)
3. Spot Treatment –
For Scars, Pimples, Cysts (Good For Sensitive Skin)
Baking soda’s ability to reduce inflammation significantly makes it excellent as a spot treatment.
This option is really good for sensitive skin as you can avoid the rest of your face:
- Reduces redness and swelling of a pimple or cyst
- Can help draw it to a head
- For extra spot reduction power you can mix it with lemon juice and you have one of the best overnight pimple remedies!
1) Simply mix a paste of baking soda and water and apply to the pimple, cyst, congested area (this masks a good blackhead spot treatment), or scar
2) Leave on for at least 20mins and preferably overnight –
(try mixing it with enough water to form a toner-like consistency and apply with cotton wool – this is best for scars)
3) It will harden/cake, you can remove the crusty bit but don’t rinse off – it’s still working!
4) You can even cover with a bit of concealer if you have to go out
Baking soda for acne can be a really effective treatment, try it and see if it’s right for your skin. I’m sure you have some in your kitchen cabinet so go for it!
For Blackheads – Before Extraction
Get rid of clogged pores and loosen blackheads to help with extraction with a baking soda mask/exfoliation.
Simply mix two teaspoons of baking soda with enough water to form a paste and apply to skin.
Here’s a good, quick video that shows you what to expect:
A great way to clarify and degrease oily skin is to use baking soda a Clarisonic Cleansing Brush:
Make sure you use it with a very high water to baking soda ratio. You want it to be more like water with some baking soda dissolved in it, rather that grainy.
This actually negates the need for a cleanser product unless you enjoy using one.
And it also helps keep the brush clean!
Exfoliation and Treatment for All Skin Types
Baking soda can work very well for all skin types as an exfoliating and brightening treatment.
To help prevent too much dryness, use it with Manuka honey – which actively brightens skin as well.
Apply a paste, leave on skin for 10minutes then gently massage. Remove with warm water and repeat twice weekly.
If you’re a fan of manual scrubs like the classic St Ives Apricot Scrub (which is good stuff!) you will really like this.
To Lighten and Brighten Skin (including anti aging and acne scar treatment)
The following mask is an amazing way to lighten any scars or pigmentation. The addition of olive oil adds hydration (olive oil is especially good for dry skin) and has extra anti aging benefits.
- Mix 2 tablespoon olive oil with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and baking soda (it is easier to mix the lemon juice and baking soda first to help it dissolve)
- Massage into skinand leave it on for 15minutes – do this at least 3 times a week for the best brightening results
More Baking Soda Mask Recipes
The power of baking soda is readily available with just your simple mix with water. However there are many other great recipes that use other ingredients for extra benefits:
For Inflamed and Itchy Skin:
- Use it with coconut oil – which has antibacterial properties of its own
- Apply it to itchy, irritated areas for a few minutes as often as needed, this is also great for your body (e.g. if you get shaving rash on your legs) (source)
Get baby soft feet!
- Add a handful of baking soda to a tub of warm water and soak your feet for 15minutes.
- This helps soften calluses and hard, dry skin, which can then be buffed with pumice (I love Mr Pumices for this!)
- Make sure you apply a good, thick moisturizer after
- Bonus – this also helps to “sterilize” your feet and may help prevent sweating (source)
For elbows, knees and hands:
- Make a paste with water and apply to extra dry areas.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes, then hop in the shower and gently massage and cleanse it off
- Don’t forget the moisturizer
BONUS BEAUTY USES:
- Hair – use a very small amount of baking soda to greasy hair to absorb oil (best for blondes). A DIY dry shampoo…
- Add a half teaspoon to your shampoo. This clarifies hair and helps to “poof” up its volume (be careful with colored hair)
- Add half a cup to your bath, along with one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide and 1 cup of epsom salts. Be prepared for baby soft, smooth skin and relieved muscles!
- Whiten teeth – once or twice a week, mix some baking soda and hydrogen peroxide and brush your teeth for 2 minutes. Be careful to avoid your gums, and do so gently (it can be harsh on enamel so check with your dentist). This is a great DIY teeth whitener. It seriously works!