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Baking Soda Benefits For The Skin: Fact Or Fiction?

Medically reviewed by Sue Kua, MD · Dermatology


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Oct 06, 2022

Baking Soda Benefits For The Skin: Fact Or Fiction?

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is an inexpensive substance many people use not just in baking and cleaning, but also in oral and skin care. Browse online and you will find blogs featuring baking soda facial scrub, toothpaste, and deodorant. But, are these baking soda benefits true? Is it safe to use it for the skin? The answers and more in this article. 

Fact or Fiction: Are These Baking Soda Benefits Real?

Baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate. That means when you check the label, there should only be one ingredient. 

This type of salt is mostly renowned for its ability to expand cookie, cake, or bread batters inside a hot oven. However, some people also use baking soda for oral and skin care concerns. The question is, are there scientific grounds for these benefits?

FACT: Baking soda helps with oral care

Before we move into the different baking soda benefits for the skin, let’s first talk about the salt’s potential in oral care. 

First, note that many dentifrices (paste or powder for cleaning teeth) contain sodium bicarbonate as an abrasive, the component that removes stains and debris from the teeth. Baking soda doesn’t have anti-cavity properties, but it is low-cost and highly compatible with fluoride²

A study also noted that an oral rinse with sodium bicarbonate helps reduce the acidity in the mouth. This decreases the number of some bacteria. The researchers concluded that this rinse is a cheap and effective alternative to chlorhexidine mouth rinse³

FICTION: It helps treat psoriasis

Some people believe that one of the baking soda benefits is it helps treat psoriasis. 

When researchers studied the potential, however, they concluded that it’s not true. They observed that the topical use of sodium bicarbonate DID NOT improve skin hydration, reduce skin water loss, and improve psoriasis lesions4.

FACT: It helps ease itchiness from eczema

We don’t have many studies regarding baking soda benefits for eczema, but anecdotal reports say a baking soda bath or paste helps ease itchiness. 

In fact, The National Eczema Association says that mixing ¼ cup of baking soda to bathwater or directly applying sodium bicarbonate and water paste might help relieve itchiness⁵. The mechanism of action for this is still unclear but researchers thin that the alteration of the pH might play a role in this.

IMPORTANT: Baking soda may also irritate the skin, hence a baking soda bath or paste is not typically recommended to the public, especially when they have skin conditions. 

FICTION: It’s okay to use baking soda for facial care

There’s no denying that baking soda is generally safe. Come to think of it, some people with heartburn even drink baking soda to neutralize the acid⁶

But is it safe to use sodium bicarbonate as a facial wash, scrub, or deodorant?

Experts say it isn’t, especially when you plan to use it for a long time. 

Like mentioned, some people are sensitive to baking soda, and using it topically may irritate the skin. Some people who use DIY baking soda deodorant develop rashes or redness on the armpit. 

Furthermore, the salt has a pH of around 8.3; that means it’s too basic. Note that skin has a pH of below 5⁷. The slight acidity protects the skin from infections. If you use baking soda facial wash daily, you risk stripping your skin of the protective acidity. 

Lastly, remember that baking soda is abrasive. Mixing it with water to form a scrub counts as an exfoliator. No matter how “gentle” baking soda seems to be, there should be an interval in between exfoliation. You cannot exfoliate every day. 

Key Takeaways

Some of the renowned baking soda uses are true. It can help with oral care and might even ease itchiness from eczema. However, one should use it cautiously. Perform a patch test first to see if you’re sensitive to the ingredient. And, of course, the best course of action is to talk to your doctor about the possibility of incorporating it into your routine.

Learn more about Skin Health here

Disclaimer

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Sue Kua, MD

Dermatology


Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Oct 06, 2022

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