It seems like I’m learning about new uses for baking soda all the time. Though I typically find it in the cooking aisle at the supermarket, that’s rarely what I actually use it for. This amazing white powder can be used for cooking, cleaning and even as an antacid. You can also use it to strengthen your hair or whiten your teeth. But today we’re going to look at how baking soda can improve your skin. And to avoid any potential mistakes, we’ll also go over things like the difference between baking soda and baking powder for skin improvement.
What is Baking Soda?
Baking soda is nothing more than sodium bicarbonate, also known by the formula NaHCO3. You may know it as the white powdery stuff sold in a box, typically an orange one. The main distributor of baking soda worldwide is the Arm & Hammer company.
As mentioned above, baking soda can be used for a wide variety of purposes. This amazing substance is cheap, accessible and versatile. I’ve recently been learning about and experimenting with new ways to use baking soda to clear my skin, ease sunburn and reduce body odor.
4 Ways Baking Soda Can Help Improve Your Skin
1. Baking Soda Removes Dead Skin Cells
One of the reasons baking soda is so effective on skin is that it helps get rid of dead skin cells. Exfoliating your skin is a good way to prevent pimples or acne outbreaks. Applying baking soda to your face can also increase your skin’s overall pH level.
Using baking soda to exfoliate your skin is simple. Just mix a teaspoon or so of baking soda with water, and rub it on your face. Rub it off shortly afterward. (1)
Most people measure a half a cup of water to mix the baking soda with, or you could just eyeball it. Personally, I tend to just put some baking soda on my hand and wet it under the faucet before applying it to my face.
2. Baking Soda Helps Fight Acne
While exfoliation can help prevent acne outbreaks, baking soda is also effective at getting rid of existing acne. It does this by removing oil from the skin and also by acting as an anti-inflammatory.
If you already use some kind of cream or cleanser for your acne, simply try mixing a little baking soda (around ½ teaspoon) in with what you already use. Massage your face with it for under a minute before thoroughly washing it off. Always apply moisturizer after putting baking soda on your face because it leaves the skin very dry. (2)
Another popular method is to mix baking soda with pure lemon juice. An ideal mixture consists of two tablespoons of baking soda combined with two tablespoons of water and one teaspoon of pure lemon juice.
Rather than wash it off right away, try leaving the mixture on your face for a little longer. Up to 15 minutes is generally recommended. Other than lemon juice, another mixture you could try is with raw honey. (3)
As we’ll go into below, you should make sure your skin is compatible with baking soda before leaving it on for that long. Test out a small amount first to see how your skin reacts.
Even if you don’t experience any negative reactions, only try this method every few days for best results.
3. Baking Soda Helps With Sunburn
Baking soda can also help with skin affected by sunburn. As a pale-skinned person who also happens to love warm weather, I’m unfortunately all too familiar with sunburn.
Though I’ve long made a habit or applying aloe vera gel to my burnt skin, I recently started using baking soda as well.
To ease sunburn with baking soda, it’s generally recommended to mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 cup of water. Try using cotton balls to apply the concoction to your face. Do so every few hours, or as you see fit. (5)
Another method is to add some baking soda, around half a cup, to a warm bath.
Before getting to number 4, here’s some important information you should be aware of before applying baking soda to your face.
Potential Side Effects
Baking soda may not be suitable for those with especially sensitive skin. Though I love baking soda, I suffer from sensitive skin and sometimes feel a burning sensation on my face after rinsing it off. Afterward, I might apply some aloe vera gel or maybe some talcum powder to sooth my skin.
I feel that this combination of baking soda, followed by a moisturizer or soothing agent, works for me personally. Even though the baking soda may burn a little, I still notice brighter and clearer skin over time. However, everyone is different, and you should experiment with little amounts before determining if baking soda works for you.
According to Wikihow, using too much baking soda on your skin could potentially cause a pH imbalance. They also recommend applying baking soda to the face sparingly – just up to 2 times a week. (3)
With this in mind, other sources advise against using baking soda for sunburn relief due to its potential to irritate the skin. Again, everyone is different, so try a little bit out first before trying out the remedies described above.
Even with some minor side effects, baking soda is all natural, so simple experimentation should be harmless. If you try it out for the first time and decide it’s not for you, simply don’t use it again.
Another thing you need to take into consideration, though, is the difference between baking soda and baking powder.
Difference Between Baking Soda and Baking Powder for Skin
Baking powder and baking soda are both white powders with similar names, often resulting in confusion between the two. While baking soda consists of nothing but a single ingredient (sodium bicarbonate), baking powder contains sodium bicarbonate in addition to two other acids.
Sodium bicarbonate and acid mixed together produces carbon dioxide (CO2.) The reason baking powder contains additional acids is to enhance the leavening process when used for cooking. These additional acids are the main difference between baking soda and baking powder.
So, can you use baking powder instead of baking soda for skin treatment? NO. Don’t do it. Applying baking powder to your skin will definitely cause redness and irritation.
The good news is that finding baking soda is easy. It’s available for sale in most supermarkets or convenience stores all around the world. (5)
4. Baking Soda Helps Eliminate Body Odor
I’m a person who tends to sweat a lot, so needless to say I apply a fair amount of deodorant, especially in summer. For years I’d been using a run of the mill Old Spice deodorant. It was full of chemicals but it at least did its part to cover up any body odor.
The other month I finally decided to switch to all-natural, chemical and aluminum free deodorant. As I soon found out, my underarms would have to go through a transition period. I later learned that this is fairly common for people who switch to all-natural deodorant, but it took me by surprise at the time. Unfortunately for me (and the people around me), my body odor got a lot worse for some time after ditching the Old Spice.
My sweat glands were so used to being clogged by aluminum, thus preventing too much sweat from leaking out. That’s why I started to experience a lot more sweating and body odor than usual. I did some research on natural body odor remedies and discovered yet another amazing use of baking soda!
All I simply did was take a small amount of baking soda in my hands, get it wet under the sink and rub it onto my armpits.
Sure, this not an exact scientific method, but it definitely does the trick! If you want a more exact formula, “Top 10 Home Remedies” recommends 1/8 teaspoon of baking soda mixed with 1 tablespoon of water, along with some essential oils if you so desire. (6)
In my experience, my body odor disappears for at least several hours after application.
Now that my body has adjusted to not using chemical-laden antiperspirant anymore, my body odor has greatly diminished. I’m still human, though, and during these hot and humid months, having access to some baking soda definitely comes in handy! I’ve gotten into the habit of applying it before meetings or evenings out, just in case.
So there you have it – the four ways which baking soda can benefit your skin. Remember, these are just a few of the many, many uses for baking soda overall. I’m looking forward to experimenting with baking soda to improve my teeth and hair. Or maybe I’ll finally get around to brushing up on my cooking skills and using it in the kitchen! Whichever way you look at it, sodium bicarbonate is a truly amazing, safe and cheap substance that everyone should keep in their homes.