Will Baking Soda Actually Help My Acne?

If you ever had a pimpleĀ as a teenager (or have one right now), you're bound to at least have considered popping some toothpaste on it to help it heal. If you tried that and it didn't work, you probably went searching on for the next best thing, and it may have led you to your pantry. In terms of home remedies for acne, baking soda is next on the list for many. In fact, baking soda is used in many beauty routines. Some just make a paste or mix with water, while others tend to add it to their cleanser. But what does baking soda do to your skin? Does baking soda actually help acne?

Baking soda can help acne (but it can also dry out your skin)

"Baking soda exfoliates and reduces oil," Dr. Jaishree Sharad, a dermatologist based in Mumbai told Hello Giggles. "It may help in reducing comedones (clogged hair follicles in the skin, such as blackheads or whiteheads). But it can dry the skin and alter the [skin's] pH, making the skin more sensitive." Dr. Dina Strachan, a dermatologist based in New York City, echoes Dr. Sharad's sentiment, adding, "Perhaps the exfoliation helps but as it is basic [as opposed to acidic], and the skin is naturally slightly acidic, other options are better." In other words, due to its exfoliating properties, baking soda may assist in clearing acne but it's better to opt for something gentler that's been specifically designed for skin.

Proceed with caution when using baking soda for acne

If you still want to give it a go, it's important to know that some skin types react better to baking soda to others. "If one has very oily skin and is not using any [other creams that cause skin to dry], one may mix baking soda with honey to exfoliate and reduce blackheads," said Sharad. Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, on the other hand, believes it's likely to aggravate those with sensitive skin (via Women's Health). If you experience any redness or irritation, discontinue use immediately.