This common substance in every kitchen and pantry can do a lot more than making your cakes fluffy and your cookies light and airy. With all the skin benefits it offers, it can claim a place in your all-natural skin care routine as well. Did you guess baking soda? If so, you are right. Let’s explore why your skin loves this white powder so much.
Baking soda vs. baking powder
Don’t confuse baking soda with baking powder, which is also commonly used in baking. Both are white powders, but, while baking soda is just sodium bicarbonate salt, baking powder has a few other ingredients along with sodium bicarbonate. Make sure you read the label carefully before using it on your skin.
Deep cleanse the skin with baking soda
Sodium bicarbonate is a basic salt and, when dissolved in water, it gives an alkaline solution. It readily reacts with acidic substances, including the sweat and grime on your skin. That’s what makes it a good skin cleansing agent. In fact, it is one of the safest, cheapest, yet highly effective skincare products you could have.
Exfoliating face wash: Mix a tablespoon of baking powder and just enough honey to make a thick paste. Rub the mixture on your face, working in circles, and taking care to avoid the area around the eyes. Wash it away after 10 minutes and feel the difference!
Acne, blackhead, and whitehead control
If you have oily skin and are prone to breaking out every now and then, baking soda can be a game-changer. Mix 2 teaspoons of baking powder in a cup of cold water and rinse your face with it before going to bed every night. Make sure that you remove all makeup and wash the face thoroughly with a cleanser beforehand.
The astringent nature of baking soda will tighten the skin, closing all the skin pores. That’s why it’s important to cleanse the face before using this cold wash.
A refreshing bath
A handful of baking soda in the bathwater can work wonders for your skin as well as your mood. How? Many times you may not know the cause of your own bad moods. It could be something as simple as chafed skin from the rough edge of clothing rubbing against your body or itching due to a mild bacterial or fungal infection.
Ever wondered why bath bombs are so popular? Their main ingredient is baking soda. As the salt gently detoxifies your body, it also relieves itching and soothes irritated skin, thus lifting up your spirits. The fizz comes from the chemical reaction between the baking soda and the acid in the mix—usually citric acid crystals. The essential oils in the bath bombs might be adding their bit to the overall experience, but it’s the baking soda that deserves the credit for doing all the hard work.
Foot spa and scrub
Your feet can do with some pampering at the end of the day, especially if they’ve been busy carrying you around all day. How about a warm footbath before bed? 2 tablespoonfuls of baking soda in a basin of water will take away fatigue as well as any lingering dirt, grime, or germs.
This is the perfect time to apply a foot scrub to remove the rough skin, too. Although baking soda looks like a powder, it’s actually fine crystals, so rub some around the heel and other callused areas to reclaim baby-soft skin. Don’t forget to apply some aloe vera gel or another moisturizer immediately after the spa treatment.
Baking soda bath for psoriasis relief
Psoriasis is a troublesome condition as many can attest. Since it’s an autoimmune disorder, it’s mainly treated with immunosuppressant medication nowadays. However, the age-old method of bathing the affected areas with baking soda still holds good. In a study where participants suffering from psoriasis were treated with sodium bicarbonate baths, they reported a marked reduction in inflammation, pain, and general irritation.
Relieve eczema itch
Severe itching and uncontrollable scratching are harsh realities of eczema, but scratching worsens the condition and leads to skin breaks and secondary infections. Adding 1/2 cup baking soda to your bathwater may relieve the itching to some extent and break this vicious cycle.
If the eczema is localized, you can wash the affected areas with a solution of 1 teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a cup of lukewarm water. You could also lay pieces of soft cotton cloth dipped in the solution over the inflamed areas for around 15 minutes.
Baking soda solution has a drying effect on the skin, so apply a non-irritating moisturizer or coconut oil immediately after gently sponging off the moisture.
Protection from fungal infections
Fungal spores are everywhere and your skin cannot escape them. The beneficial bacteria on our skin usually do a good job of keeping fungal infections from taking hold. Warmth and moisture, especially on skin folds can provide the ideal environment for fungal growth. Dusting with baking soda can help the skin stay dry. You can also sprinkle some inside your shoes to keep your feet dry and also prevent bad odor.
If your skin is itchy and inflamed, it could be a symptom of bacterial or fungal infections. Make a paste of baking soda with a few drops of water and apply to the area and keep it on for 10 minutes. Sweat and the secretions produced by germs being acidic, baking soda can neutralize them and help shift the pH to the alkaline side. This will make the skin less hospitable to acid-loving microbes that cause infections. Repeat until the infection clears.
Nail fungus is quite stubborn, but a second application of baking soda paste should eventually get rid of it.
Although baking soda soothes the skin and relieves itching and inflammation, beware of its dehydrating effect. Don’t keep the face pack on for more than 10 minutes or stay in the bath for more than 20 minutes. Never forget to apply a moisturizer immediately after toweling yourself dry. Try coconut oil, it is a great partner to baking soda and has tremendous natural moisturizing power. If you have dry skin, add a few drops of coconut oil or olive oil directly to bathwater. If your skin is sensitive, test the baking soda solution on a small area to rule out any potential adverse reactions.
Enjoy all that this inexpensive, beneficial white powder can do for your skin! And, don’t forget that baking soda is an effective natural pest deterrant as well!!
-The Backyard Garden Team