Baking Soda Scrub!

Question: I’ve read a lot about using baking soda to clean and exfoliate your face. Do you have any evidence this works either instead of a cleanser or for an acne treatment? Is there any down side? This is obviously much cheaper than all the fancy treatments out there if it works.

Answer: I’ve been an advocate of the many great uses for baking soda, it’s use in natural skin care and especially with respect to its exfoliant and cleaning properties for years! The quick answer is that baking does in fact work as a great exfoliant and may be useful in treating acne.

Chemical vs. Physical Exfoliants: The purpose of exfoliation is to slough off the cells from the top layer of skin and reveal the younger, healthier cells underneath. Some exfoliants contain mild acids such as Alpha Hydroxy Acid, which help renew the skin layer by burning off some of the skin. The effectiveness of these chemical exfoliants depends on the acid concentration, with too low being not effective enough, and too high being damaging to the skin.

Physical exfoliants (like brushes or scrubs) remove the skin cells from the top layer by physically scraping them off. With physical exfoliants, the level of irritation and potential damage to skin becomes an issue when too harsh a product is used.

Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) falls under the category of physical exfoliants, and what makes it especially effective is that it is a fine, yet hard powder, making it highly effective at removing the dead skin cells without causing excessive irritation. Chemically speaking, baking soda is acid neutral, and acts a mild buffer which means that it has the ability to neutralize other substances it comes in contact with that are acidic (like vinegar) or basic (like soap). Many people also believe that baking soda has cleaning properties; however, scientific evidence has shown that this is due to baking soda’s physically abrasive nature, and it is not an effective anti-microbial agent.

Exfoliating with Baking Soda: To reap the benefits of exfoliating with baking soda, add a teaspoon of the powder to your facial cleanser, mix well, and massage into skin like you would with a commercial exfoliant. Do this 2-3 times a week or as per your regular exfoliation routine. If you notice that your skin is red or irritated afterwards, try putting in less baking soda and use the treatment at night so that your skin has a chance to get back to normal while you sleep. Remember to always moisturize afterwards!

To sum it up, all signs point to baking soda being an excellent and inexpensive physical exfoliant. It is ph neutral and a fine powder, which means that it will be gentle on your skin. Please comment if you’ve tried out any baking soda treatments to let us know what they were and if they worked for you.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: skin rejuvenation: Organic Exfoliant #2 – Elavonne Organic Clarifying AHA & Aloe – 1 oz – Normal to Oily / Acneic
  2. Trackback: Clean Exfoliation « Plastic Is Rubbish or the problems with man-made polymers
  3. skincare products
    Nov 19, 2012 @ 23:17:09

    i find your tips quite someone who is quite choosy when shopping for suitable skin care products i often find myself selecting the correct one but i guess i cant go wrong with natural skin care products


  4. Pur Essence Skin Care Formula
    Aug 07, 2013 @ 23:39:09

    I have read so many articles regarding the blogger lovers however this
    post is actually a fastidious article, keep it up.


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