What You Need To Know About Baking Soda Exfoliant For Skin

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There’s nothing like enjoying a day in the sun. Sitting by the pool, closing your eyes, and working on that summer tan. For some people, a quick hour in the sun is enough to achieve a nice golden glow. But for others, getting a tan can feel impossible. If you’re anything like me, the sun and your skin have a love-hate relationship. Sometimes I get tan from the sun, but most times I’m left at my initial shade of pasty white. And when I do get color, the sun leaves me with some adorable souvenirs to remember my tan experience: dark sunspots! I’ve been getting sunspots for as long as I can remember. Luckily, baking soda can help lighten your skin and reduce dark spots! Stick around to learn about the uses of baking soda for skin and how they work. 

Baking Soda Benefits For Skin

Many people are surprised to learn that baking soda can treat a variety of skin conditions. Baking soda can reduce acne, soothe sunburn, and exfoliate your skin. Let’s take a closer look at the baking soda uses for skin. 

Baking Soda For Acne

Girl laughing

Treat and prevent acne with baking soda.

Acne is often triggered when your pores become clogged with bacteria and dead skin. Some common side effects of acne include peeling skin, redness, and itchiness. However, many people don’t know that acne disturbs the pH levels of your skin. Skin has an average pH of 5.5, which is slightly acidic. The acidic pH of your skin helps maintain your body’s acidic mantle: a protective film over your skin that fends off bacteria and infection. Consequently, having unbalanced pH levels can damage the acidic mantle, which makes you more prone to acne. 

Additionally, acne increases the pH of your skin over time. And when the pH of your skin increases and becomes more alkaline, your “protective layer” deteriorates. In other words, your acidic mantle is no longer acidic enough to protect your skin. Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, can help treat acne because of its alkaline and anti-inflammatory properties. These properties help repair the acidic mantle by neutralizing the pH levels of your skin. Baking soda also reduces acne by unclogging your pores and absorbing the excess oil and sebum in your skin. 

Baking Soda For Sunburn

Generally speaking, mild sunburn is not dangerous; but it can be an uncomfortable and painful experience. Some symptoms of sunburn include itchy skin, redness, and blistering. Your skin may also feel tender and hot to the touch. Baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties that can be used to cool your sunburn, making it feel less painful. It can also help with rebalancing your skin’s pH levels after a sunburn. 

Sunburn may not disturb the pH of your skin on its own. However, things that accompany sunburn, like dehydration and sweating, can mess with the pH of your skin and damage your acidic mantle. By balancing the pH of your skin, baking soda helps manage your pain by reducing inflammation and redness. You can apply baking soda to your sunburn by making it into an easy-to-use paste. In a medium-sized bowl, combine two cups of water with eight tablespoons of baking soda. Mix the ingredients until they form a paste. Apply the soothing mixture to your sunburn using a cue tip or cotton ball. Let it sit for a few minutes and rinse with cold water. Now let’s move on to another benefit of baking soda for skin: exfoliation!   

Baking Soda For Skin Exfoliation

Woman with hair in towel applying face wash exfoliator.

Exfoliate your skin with baking soda.

Baking soda has a unique texture that is both hard and fine-grained, making it the perfect exfoliator for your skin. The baking soda’s hard grains scrape away your dead skin cells and bacteria. While many exfoliants can scrape away toxins, baking soda does it without irritating your skin. Oftentimes, exfoliating your skin makes it feel hot and irritated from all of the rubbing. However, exfoliating with baking soda eliminates this issue because the grains are too small to damage your skin. 

Exfoliating your skin with baking soda also helps neutralize your acidic mantle. As we previously mentioned, the acidic mantle helps flush out toxins and opens your pores, meaning it can increase the effects of exfoliation. Another benefit of baking soda is its ability to eliminate dark spots. Let’s see how baking soda can help lighten your skin! 

Baking Soda For Skin Whitening Explained

Baking soda is a common household ingredient that contains various bleaching properties. While it’s typically used in the kitchen for baking or in the laundry room for removing stains, baking soda can also be used to lighten your skin! By bleaching and exfoliating your skin, baking soda clears your pores and lightens your dark spots. It’s important to remember that baking soda is a chemical and can irritate your skin when overused. For this reason, baking soda for skin remains a controversial topic in the beauty industry. Some support the use of baking soda on your skin while others maintain that it’s too harsh and should be avoided. 

When using baking soda to lighten skin, try mixing it with another natural ingredient like lemon juice or honey. This helps soothe your skin while maintaining the pH of your acidic mantle. Before deciding your opinions on baking soda, let’s see how baking soda may damage your skin.

Is Baking Soda Bad For Your Skin?  

spoon of baking soda

Baking soda is harsh on your skin and should not be used daily.

Baking soda is an alkaline substance. Its average pH ranges between 8.3 and 9, making it great for unclogging your pores and neutralizing the pH of your skin. However, some people worry that baking soda is too harsh for your skin because it can lead to dryness and irritation. It’s important to remember that baking soda was not initially created for our skin. It’s a chemical with strong bleaching and detoxing properties. For this reason, baking soda can sometimes “over detox” your skin by removing too much oil and bacteria. This dries your skin out, making it flaky, itchy, and irritated. 

Some people also worry that baking soda can damage your acidic mantle. As we previously mentioned, the acidic mantle is a protective film over your skin that is maintained by your skin’s slightly acidic pH. Although baking soda can restore the acidic mantle by unclogging your pores, it can also push your skin too far in the other direction. When the baking soda extracts too much oil and bacteria, it dries out your skin and makes it less acidic. And because the acidic mantle protects your skin by maintaining a slightly acidic pH, baking soda may dilute your skin’s protective layer if it becomes too alkaline. 

There is no clear answer pertaining to the use of baking soda for your skin. Some like it and some don’t – the key is finding what is best for your skin. To make this decision, you need to know if baking soda is compatible with your skin. Let’s go over some more information about baking soda as an exfoliant that will help you decide if you should give it a try. 

What You Need To Know About Baking Soda Exfoliant

Before exfoliating with baking soda, you should make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin. Try applying a paste of baking soda and water to a small part of your body. Let the paste sit for a few minutes and then rinse with cold water. If your skin gets irritated after trying the baking soda paste, you should try a different method of exfoliation. If your skin does not react negatively to the baking soda, you are probably okay to use it. Additionally, you shouldn’t exfoliate with baking soda if you have eczema, rosacea, or sensitive skin. 

It’s also important to note that you shouldn’t exfoliate with baking soda daily, regardless of your skin type. Exfoliating with baking soda daily dries your skin out and removes too many protective oils. For this reason, you should only exfoliate with baking soda two to three times per week. After exfoliating with baking soda, try moisturizing to prevent dry skin. You may consider investing in a pH balanced moisturizer to support your acidic mantle.   


Baking soda is an affordable and innovative approach to skincare. It can exfoliate your skin, treat acne, soothe sunburn, and whiten your dark spots. However, you may consider treating these conditions with other “go-to” products. Given that baking soda can’t be used daily, it’s most effective when used alongside other products. Take treating acne with baking soda, for example. The baking soda would be helpful, but it may be less effective than applying a daily product. Of course, there are exceptions to this idea as everyone’s skin is a little different. For some people, applying baking soda twice a week does the trick. Others, however, need a more consistent approach to reach their skin goals. If this pertains to you, consider using baking soda on a weekly basis in addition to your daily product. This is a safe way to give your skin the maximum amount of care.

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