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. 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 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.
Make a Mask
You can also use baking soda as a facial mask. This can be drying, so use with caution. If you have combination skin, with some areas of your face dry and others oily, only apply the mask to the oily areas. 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.
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. You can also add in a teaspoon or two of organic coconut oil if you want the mixture to be more moisturizing. 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 the desired amount of grittiness.
After wetting your face with water, gently massage the paste onto the skin in circular motions. Make sure you avoid scrubbing too hard as this could irritate your skin. Focus on gentle pressure. Rinse the solution off your face with warm water and moisturize soon afterward.
Use Baking Soda Sparingly
Because baking soda is alkaline and skin is naturally acidic, it can throw off the natural pH of your skin resulting in dry and irritated skin. For some people, it can actually make acne worse. If this is the case, you can also look for products that are made with baking soda to get the acne-reducing benefits without the irritation. One great option is Bioré Baking Soda Acne Cleansing Foam ($10).
If you do make your own baking soda treatment, use it on your face sparingly, only once or twice a week at the most, and watch for any negative side effects or reactions. Always use a fresh box of baking soda, as the box you use for baking may be tainted with other products and can irritate your skin. You should also follow up with a moisturizer after using baking soda to avoid drying out your skin.