Baking soda is a powdery substance often used for cooking and baking. However, several beauticians and tutorials have been suggesting using this ingredient for skincare as it contains alkaline composition and antimicrobial properties. The claims further say that these properties can help neutralize inflammation and kill bacteria on your skin.
HZ spoke to Dr Ajay Rana, World-Renowned Dermatologist & Aesthetic physician and Founder & Director of ILAMED who helped in debunking quite a few myths around the same. He said, "Although there are popular claims about baking soda being an ideal beauty care ingredient, it is, however, imperative to understand that it will not be able to remove the acne marks from your face and can even disbalance the skin's pH balance."
Benefits Of Baking Soda
Several beauty experts are of the opinion that baking soda can be an ideal solution for those suffering from acne due to the excessive build-up of sebum in the troubled area as well as inflammation caused by bacterial infection since it reduces oiliness along with skin-peeling effects.
It also makes for one of the key ingredients in over-the-counter (OTC) creams meant for skin rashes, irritation, and bug/insect bites due to its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties.
Keeping the same idea, a host of baking soda face masks have been suggested for those suffering from any of these skin conditions.
However, what we really need to understand is that despite the exfoliation that this ingredient claims to provide, the strong alkaline base can in turn do more harm than good.
Side Effects Of Baking Soda
There is no concrete evidence that suggests that baking soda is helpful in skin problems, especially those concerning acne. Since baking soda is an alkaline ingredient, there might be times when it could badly react to certain skin conditions. In some cases, these side effects could be severe, leading to a build-up of several other skin issues.
It must be understood that healthy skin is somewhat acidic in nature. This further helps in creating a protective barrier for our skin and saves us from several bacterial infections. However, if one rubs baking soda directly on the skin, it might remove that barrier by changing the ideal pH balance.
An important thing that we must be aware of is that according to the pH scale, anything below 7 is said to be acidic and above 7 is called alkaline. Even though our skin is acidic, baking soda, with a high pH of 9, makes for an alkaline substance that causes more damage.
The ideal pH balance is said to be between 4.5 to 5.5, with skin's natural oils, healthy bacteria and moisturisers helping in creating a sound balance. However, in the case of dry skin, the pH can go above 5.5, making it more acidic.
Adding to this, any cleaners, face masks containing an ingredient that alters your pH level is only going to cause you more harm. What needs to be considered here is that baking soda is an alkaline substance that, when mixed with anything acidic, can alter the pH balance.
Hence, dry skin will witness more dryness and dehydration since the alkaline will strip your skin of the necessary oils. This can also make the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles evident.
Worsens Acne Breakout
With a high pH level, applying it directly can leave the skin unprotected from bacterial infection. Hence a skin type that is already suffering from acne may witness an increase in breakouts.
Leads To Inflammation
Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda's direct application can irritate your skin to a great extent.
It can cause redness, skin irritation, rashes, and burning sensation since it has a drying effect when used directly or frequently on the skin.
How To Know If Baking Soda Suits Your Skin?
In case you still want to use it in your weekly skincare regime, it is highly recommended to do a patch test before going ahead with any remedial treatments.
Despite the popular belief that baking soda may help reduce acne, dermatologists don't suggest making this a part of your skincare treatment.