Beauty, Health, Skincare

Baking Soda and Your Skin: The Truth

Baking Soda and Your Skin
The main reason you should never use
baking soda (sodium bicarbonate or soda of bicarbonate) on your skin
goes back to that little thing we never talk about, the acid mantle.
If you are unfamiliar with the acid mantle and how important it is to
the health, look and function of skin then go ahead and read the
article. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here. It’s got sources and
everything.

Ok, done? So now that you know that the
skin is acidic to help ward off bacteria, acne and skin infections
then you need to brush up on the pH of baking soda. It’s up there
with bleach! Rule of thumb, if you use it to clean household
appliances, don’t put it on your skin. That goes for lemon juice,
(white distilled) vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, bleach and ammonia as
well. Some of those sound a little far-fetched to put on your face?
That’s the point. Baking soda belongs in that list.
One reason baking soda keeps being
suggested as a “miracle at-home DIY beauty life-saver” is because
it can have short term benefits. Let’s see why that is.
  1. It’s an exfoliant.
It’s abrasive, which can be a good and
a bad thing. Any physical exfoliant, like sugar, coffee grounds, salt
and plastic mircrobeads, can show beautiful glowing skin immediately,
but what you don’t see are the microtears that they also can cause.
These microtears open your skin up for bacteria, scarring and skin
infections. Physical exfoliants when used incorrectly or too much are
generally very damaging to the skins gentle processes and should be
avoided on a daily regimen. Physical exfoliants can be used in a
skincare routine, but on a weekly basis, and before I divulge
(whoops) there’s another article coming on that. Bottom line, if
exfoliating is what you’re going for, there are far better and less
damaging options than baking soda, even on the physical exfoliation
route.
  1. It may be anti-fungal and
    antibacterial
Jury is out on how effective it is at
killing bacteria or microbes, but it is listed as biopesticide by the EPA (it’s great at killing fungus) and has shown some decrease of bacteria in oral applications. So it may reduce bacteria on the skin
that can cause skin infections in the short term, but the damage it
does to your acid mantle means that bad bacteria can come back and
flourish and your skin won’t be healthy enough to ward them off.
Baking soda is also a frickin’ great
splinter remover, and it does this by swelling the skin so much the
splinter has no where to go but out. This might also help with
comedones and microplugs by swelling the skin to push anything out,
but one has to wonder how it’s swelling the skin and what that means
in the long term. My research doesn’t have much info on that, so
that’s just my speculation, but red puffy swell-face is something I
try to avoid in my products.
Baking soda is extremely alkaline, at a
pH of 9, which is 350 times more alkaline than healthy skin, and 200
times more alkaline than normal tap water (7). Ever do that science
experiment where you mix baking soda (9.0 alkaline) with vinegar (2.0
acidic)? Baking soda reacts very violently to acid solutions, causing
a release of carbon dioxide and that pretty cool volcanic eruption.
It can neutralize acidic solutions, meaning it brings the pH of an
acid closer to alkaline levels. Our skin wants to stay acidic, thank
you very much.
Continued use of an alkaline substance,
and especially baking soda, can cause long term effects and skin
infections. This baby had a rash that was caused and elongated by the use of baking soda that didn’t get better until the baking soda was stopped.
Baking soda is easily accessible, has fewer ingredients, and is usually safe when used in it’s intended applications, and that’s why it’s easy to believe it’s a great alternative to store bought skincare. But the fact that it’s alkaline (ridiculously so) and abrasive means it belongs nowhere near our beauty cabinet.
xoxo Miss C
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