Does Baking Soda Help in Acne?

Acne is one of the most common and widely spread chronic skin disorders affecting millions of people around the globe.

In the United States alone, it affects 17 million people every year. It affects people irrespective of their race, gender or age though it is more common in women than in men. However, it acquires a more severe form in men as per a survey.

A lot of methods and medications have been introduced with time which ranges from anti biotic to various herbal and home remedies. The aim of this article is to discuss the role of one such home remedy in the treatment of acne which is baking soda.

What is Baking soda?

Chemically known as sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate, it appears in the form of white crystalline powder.

It is an alkaline compound and gives a salty taste. This is widely used around the globe in food preparations especially in baking items and is often variously known as bread soda, cooking soda, bicarbonate of soda among other such names.

Baking soda has been known to be an effective home remedy for the treatment of acne though there is a lack o medical evidence to prove its effectiveness. However, it is known to act in accordance with its anti inflammatory and exfoliation property.

How baking soda helps in acne?

Baking soda can help to neutralize the pH level of the skin by acting as either an acid or an alkaline base. This is because of its characteristics of being an amphoteric.

It has been suggested that acne can also result from an imbalance of the pH level of the skin and thus this provides a great solution to such breakouts.

It is also known to possess anti inflammatory properties which help in reducing the acne induces inflammation and the swelling and redness caused as a result. Its drying effect further helps in drying out the excessive oil or sebum that is an important cause of acne breakouts.

When added to a paste of powdered sugar or other such ingredient of a similar texture, it can work to exfoliate the skin, clearing it of dirt and removing the accumulated dead skin cells which will therefore unclog the pores and give space to the trapped sebum to move out.

There are various ways in which baking soda can be used on the skin. Some of them are enlisted below:

  • It can be used as a spot treatment by making a paste of baking soda and water in equal quantities. You must wash your face with a medicated soap before using this on the face after which this paste can be applied to the affected area and left on for 15 minutes. It can be washed off with water after this. In case this causes extreme dryness, a moisturizer can be used.
  • Baking soda can be used as a face mask by mixing it wait water in equal quantities along with a tablespoon of lemon juice. A thin layer can be then applied on the skin and let to sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse off with warm water. Before doing this, the face must be cleansed with a medicated soap. In case of extreme dryness use a moisturizer. This mask can be used two times in a week.
  • The same paste mentioned in the above point can also work to exfoliate. The lemon juice adds to the property of exfoliation and also aids cleaning of the skin because of its citric acid content
  • It can be used as a bath soak by adding half a cup of baking soda to your bath and soaking in it for 15 to 20 minutes. After this, you can take a shower to wash it off your body.

There are other uses of baking soda apart from acne. Some other key benefits of using baking soda include:

  • When used for your teeth it can cause whitening of the teeth
  • It can be mixed with your essential oil and the lotion thus made can be applied to your underarms. This will work like a deodorant
  • It can be used to wash your hair and will help in driving off dandruff and lice from it
  • It is an effective solution to heartburn, acidic stomach and gastric issues

While baking soda usage is generally safe. There are some issues which are associated with the use of baking soda. Though extremely rare, the side effect of baking soda includes:

  • It may cause nausea, dizziness, and bloat
  • It might cause swelling in the hands, ankle or feet
  • It may result in weight gain when taken in orally
  • Though extremely rare, it may cause milk-alkali syndrome
  • It may result in muscle ache and spasms
  • It can cause severe mood swings along with vomiting and weakness
  • An allergic reaction may result in rash, itching, and swelling

Precautions and possible drug interactions

The following precautions must be maintained while using baking soda either topically or orally:

  • It should not be used in children below the age of 6
  • A patch test should be done before deciding on applying it topically
  • Ingesting it might make heart diseases and cholesterol problems worse. A doctor must be consulted before the intake
  • It can cause extreme dryness to heal which a moisturizing lotion can be used
  • If you are buying it from the market make sure that the product is not adulterated

Drug interaction

Baking soda may react with medicines that have a coating to protect the stomach, water pills and iron supplements as the effectiveness of these medications might be decreased when taken along with baking soda.

What people say about using baking soda for acne?

We did an analysis of online consumer reviews to see how effective baking soda has been in the treatment of acne breakouts. Here is a summary of what they liked and disliked about the treatment:

What they liked about it:

Reduces zits and pain: Many consumers were of the view that along with decreasing the frequency of acne breakouts was also effective in the reduction of the pimple induced pains. It worked nicely towards first reducing the size of the zits and then reducing the number of zits in general.

Time effective: Baking soda has been quiet time effective in dealing with the acne problem. In some cases, consumers have reported 80% improvement in just a week.

Reducing swelling: Baking soda has been effective in reducing the inflammation-induced swelling. A lot of consumers experienced a major reduction in their swelling and redness after the application of baking soda.


Baking soda is one of the most easily available ingredients in any store. It is also readily available in every other household kitchen. You just have to grab it from your kitchen shelf and use it on your face to quickly see if it’s working.

Its ability to handle the pH level of the skin is certainly unique and it is probably one of the most inexpensive treatments you can get your hands over. If your acne problems have long been troubling you, baking soda is definitely worth a try.

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