August 21, 2020

Did you recently glance at your mirror only to discover a zit has formed on your forehead? Though most common in teenagers and pregnant moms due to hormonal imbalance, acne can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. But did you know that you can use baking soda for acne treatment – we will see how soon.

The good thing about acne is that it’s never life-threatening. However, the condition can bring about psychological and emotional issues. Studies show that besides being a cosmetic nuisance, the ugly scars have severe impacts on self-esteem and even on affected individuals’ moods. 

This piece shows you how good baking soda is, in treating acne scars. But before that, let’s define what acne is.

What is Acne?

Acne is a chronic inflammatory condition of the sebum glands. It results when skin pores get clogged with natural body oils. The blockage makes the skin a breeding ground for bacteria, which causes zit or pimples to appear. 

While it can form in different body parts, including the neck, back, and chest, the face is the most affected. Acne may cause skin irritation and sometimes results in mild pain due to inflammation.


Uses of Baking Soda

Baking soda, otherwise called sodium bicarbonate is an alkaline substance which is used to manage pH levels. This substance neutralizes acidic properties out and inside the body. For example, baking soda can be used to lower acidity in the stomach, which reduces indigestion and stomach upset and results in a calming effect. 

Baking soda also contains both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that enable it to reduce acne and the pain caused by skin inflammation. It is a powerful ingredient in most nonprescription creams for bug bites, skin irritation, and mild skin rashes.

Some people have used baking soda toothpaste to help reduce mouth bacteria, whiten their teeth, reduce and freshen the breath.


Is Baking Soda for Acne Effective?

Yes. Some people believe it worked for them when used in minimal quantities and frequency. However, there is no conclusive medical research that shows baking soda can completely heal acne.

One important thing to note is that baking soda can make skin irritation and inflammation more severe as it interferes with the skin pH levels, the normal pH scale is between 0 and 14. 7.0 is the neutral level, at the same time, anything below 7 is acidic, and above 7 is alkaline.

The skin is naturally acidic, with a pH level ranging from 4.5 to 5.5. When your skin has a healthy pH level, it appears moisturized with healthy oils that protect the skin from pollution and bacteria.

Since baking soda’s pH level is 9, applying it to your skin can remove all the natural oils and expose it to bacteria. This makes the skin to become more sensitive to even the natural elements like the sun. Consistently using the baking soda on the skin can affect the speed at which the skin rehydrates.


Baking Soda for Acne Treatments

Anecdotal reports say that baking soda has proven to be useful in soothing skin inflammation. However, it’s not recommended for regular use, and one should use minimal amounts because it has a few side effects.

Dangers of Using Baking Soda for Acne Treatments

Healthcare professionals do not recommend using baking soda for acne treatment, and they instead recommend the use of approved medical treatments such as Silicone medical products. If you want to try the DIY methods to treat skin breakouts, then first understand the side effects. 

Some of the common side effects of using home-based baking soda for acne treatments include:

  • Early-onset of wrinkles
  • Tightening and drying out of the skin
  • Worsened acne breakouts for some skin types
  • Causes skin irritation and strips the skins off the protective oils

Baking Soda Acne Treatments Methods

When using the baking soda for acne treatments, use small amounts. Also, for each method, make sure that you open a new packet.

Don’t use the one you use for deodorizing your fridge or baking. In most cases, these already open boxes have mixed with other substances and chemicals that could harm your skin.

Applying a hydrating moisturizer immediately after using the baking soda helps prevent tightness and drying out of the skin. 

Here are the four methods to try:


1. Face Mask

The first method is to use baking soda in a facial mask or scrub. This involves cleaning your face first and gently rubbing it with the face mask or exfoliant onto your skin. 

To make the face mask, you need to mix a little amount of sodium bicarbonate, approximately 1 to 2 teaspoonful honey and little warm water. Whip them together until they form a thick paste consistency. Then use your fingertips to apply on your skin and massage the mixture on your face gently.

Let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Then, rinse it off and apply a moisturizer. 

2. Exfoliant

If you instead prefer using an exfoliant, prepare a similar like the one in a face mask. However, unlike when using it in a face mask where you have to wait for 15 minutes, you should rinse it off immediately after application. Make sure that you apply a moisturizer and never use this method for more than twice per week.

3. Spot Treatment

Another technique is to use a spot treatment to target the specific acne bumps. For this method, the procedure is similar to the other two. You need to add 1 to 2 teaspoonful (baking soda) to a little amount of lukewarm water and then apply the resulting paste directly on the acne bumps. 

Leave it for at least 20 minutes. Some people suggest leaving it overnight, but this may increase the side effects. Then, rinse it off thoroughly and apply the moisturizer.

4. Boost Your Facial Cleanser

This method involves mixing no more than 1 to 2 teaspoonful (baking soda) with your facial cleanser until it forms a fine gritty paste. Then apply the mixture on your skin and massaging gently.

Rinse off immediately and apply moisturizer to prevent skin dryness and tightness.


Other Treatments for Acne

No single treatment is a sure bet for everyone. Most doctors encourage a combination of a few different methods. 

Other remedies include:


1. Home-based Remedies

You can try other safer DIY treatments that have little side effects—for example, the use of coconut oil or an apple cider vinegar. Also, adopt a diet that excludes refined starch or sugars, don’t keep touching your face, and minimize dairy products from your diet.


This is a procedure that involves the removal of the top skin layer (epidermis) with a wire brush that is rapidly rotating.  This is a procedure reserved mostly for severe scarring.


3. Safe Bleaching Agent

Some acne scars’ appearance can improve by applying nonprescription creams and using sunscreen to help limit the contrast.


4. Soft Tissue Fillers

Another proven remedy is the injection of collagen or fat under the skin or into the indented scars that can stretch or fill out the skin. This helps make the scar less visible. Repeat this several times for better results.

5. Surgery

This involves a minor procedure called punch excision. It is where the individual acne scars are cut out, and then the wound is repaired with skin graft or stitches. 


Another surgery procedure called sub-cision may also be effective. This involves the insertion of needles under the skin to help make the fibres below the skin loosen and help improve the skin appearance


6. Laser Resurfacing

You can use laser treatment for acne breakouts. Laser treatment focuses light on the epidermis to break up scar tissue. Laser treatment helps reduce acne scar itch and pain, prevent the formation of a raised scar after surgery and makes the scar less noticeable.


7. Needling or Rolling

This is another safe and effective method for acne scarring. It involves rolling a needle-studded device over the skin, usually to stimulate the underlying tissues. You need to repeat the treatments several to get satisfactory results.


8. Botox Injections

This involves relaxing the region around the acne scars with an injection of a toxin called botulinum(Botox). This helps improve the appearance of the skin. You need to repeat this procedure periodically to get the desired results.


9. Chemical Peeling

This technique involves applying high-potency acid to the skin to remove the outer layer and minimize deeper acne scarring.


10. Other Energy-based Procedures

Radiofrequency devices and pulsed light sources help make the scar visible without damaging the epidermis. You may need to repeat the process severally. 


Key Takeaway


Baking soda can be an effective natural remedy for acne treatment. However, if used frequently and in large quantities, it can cause more harm than good. Also, the alkaline properties in baking soda affect the skin pH balances, which lead to tightening and dying out of the skin – you may try out other acne treatments techniques first. 

Understanding the pros and cons of each procedure before you use it is vital. Discuss each method and its effects on your skin with your physician to determine what’s best for you. You need to understand that with most treatments techniques, results take time to appear, and patience is critical.