As much as we love discovering and test-driving new skincare products that promise to zap zits and banish blemishes, sometimes the quickest fixes are right in front of us. A little at-home DIY can be just the thing to get your skin back on track, and one common household product has proven to be especially effective in fighting pimples. Baking soda boasts a number of benefits that go beyond its original purpose—homemade teeth whitening is one of our favorites—but it also can be a helpful addition to your skincare routine.
Using baking soda for acne is hardly a new notion. The kitchen staple is amphoteric—meaning it can operate as an acid or a base—so it neutralizes any pH imbalances on the skin. It lifts excess oil to dry problem areas and also acts as a mild anti-inflammatory. Better yet, baking soda can be utilized in more than one way to take on acne.
Whip Up a Spot Treatment
In a hurry? You can use baking soda to create a spot treatment for pesky pimples. Simply create a paste with equal parts baking soda and water—two tablespoons are recommended for most treatments. Blend together until it becomes a well-mixed paste and then apply the solution directly onto your pimple. Let it sit and dry for 15 minutes and then rinse. Be sure to moisturize after to keep skin from drying out.
Create an Exfoliant
Because of baking soda's granular composition, it acts as an excellent exfoliator when mixed with water or your favorite cleanser. If mixing with water, use the same one-to-one ratio as above to create a paste. Add a spritz of lemon juice to the mix to make the exfoliator even more potent. If mixing with a cleanser you already use, apply the amount of cleanser you would normally use into the palm of your hand, then gradually add baking soda and blend in until desired amount of grittiness. After wetting your face with water, gently massage the paste onto the skin in circular motions. Rinse the solution off your face with warm water and moisturize soon afterward.
Make a Mask
Create a paste using the one-to-one ratio and then apply the mixture to a clean and dry face. Let the mask sit for 15 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Again, moisturize soon after removing the mask to prevent drying.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem compound summary for CID 516892, sodium bicarbonate. Updated January 16, 2021.