Feeling completely desperate? At your wit’s end with acne? You’re searching Google like crazy for help. Seeking for something you haven’t heard about before. Looking for the magic acne solution you haven’t yet tried. Baking soda for acne (!) It’s the #1 search result.
Give it to me.
Please, please, please.
I just want my acne to go away. Now.
Could this actually work?
It has insane internet reviews.
People are raving about this stuff.
Some say baking soda is getting rid of their acne overnight.
Others say use this baking soda scrub for acne and in weeks your dream before and after will be becoming reality.
Geez – they’re really selling it to us eh.
My friend, I’m so glad you’re with me right now. Because there’s some super important acne science you need to understand before using baking soda for acne.
I’m revealing everything in these 5 must-know baking soda for acne facts. This is how baking soda for acne works (or doesn’t – you’ll soon be finding out).
1. Baking Soda Has a Super High pH Level
Skin factoid coming attcha. Your skin loves to be at a slightly acidic pH level. This is like room temperature for your skin.
Not too hot, not too cold, warm enough to be in a T-shirt, cool enough not to sweat.
It’s perfection. Everything works exactly how it should at this pH level.
No feeling uncomfortable in your own skin.
Your skin’s happy space.
When your skin’s teased away from this slightly acidic pH level – things go wrong. Your skin has to work its butt off to be happy.
One minute your skin’s shivering.
Give me the blankets.
Next minute your skin’s sweating like a popsicle visiting your oven.
Get the AC on (!)
Your skin’s in a spin. It’s bursting energy left, right and centre to keep up. Like a HIIT session that just won’t stop.
Can you imagine how you’d be feeling?
Joe Wicks gone wrong 😉
Using baking soda for acne is like putting your skin popsicle in an oven.
Because baking soda has a super high pH level.
Skin fact; your skin pH is healthiest when it’s below 5 (and usually above pH 4.2).
Psst; pH is like a ruler, it goes all the way from 0 to 14. Anywhere before 7 is acidic, anywhere after 7 is alkaline.
Human translation; Know how we all have different fancy words for baking up insane-to-the-tastebuds cake? Like ounces or cups or grams or tablespoons? Well molar is the fancy measuring unit us chemists use. When we make a 0.1 molar solution of baking soda in water we’re dissolving 8.4g of baking soda in 1 huge litre of water.
Or 0.84 grams of baking soda in 100ml of water.
Psst – a teaspoon of baking soda is about 4 grams.
Double psst – if you’re adding in more baking soda your baking soda water is going to be getting mega alkaline.
Meaning your skin’s being teased from pH 5 to pH 8.3. Continually.
Dragged out of a super cosy bed kicking and screaming to be flung out to snow-capped mountains in a onesie with no snow boots.
The more times you’re using baking soda for acne – the longer it’s taking for your skin pH to readjust itself.
Skin stuff simply goes wrong at this pH level. Stuff which is going to be making your acne worse. Yes really (!) Keep reading to find out how.
2. Baking Soda Can Make Your Skin Hyper Attractive to Acne Bacteria
Like it’s being trained by Chris Harrison from The Bachelor.
And it’s all to do with that pH level my friend.
First, take a read of this;
“Increased facial skin pH in patients with acne at basal conditions mirrors a chronic state of stratum corneum instability, which could be predisposing individuals to acne occurrence and/or recurrences.”J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Jul; 10(7): 33–39.
Human translation – as you have acne it’s likely your skin pH is already too high/higher than normal – and it’s super likely that this change is making your skin acne-prone aka causing acne.
And guess what – acne bacteria LOVE a pH level which is higher than healthy.
This is party town for acne bacteria.
Their comfy sofa.
Their onesie with slipper boots and a fleecy hood.
Using baking soda for acne is going to be making your skin hyper attractive for acne bacteria. And as your skin’s acne bacteria levels skyrocket, your skin’s good bacteria levels plummet.
Psst; did you know what you eat can also help change your skin’s pH levels? It’s one of the reasons why acne diets can be so crazy effective. Make sure you grab a free copy of my 1-page acne diet cheatsheet to get yours started.
3. Using Baking Soda For Acne Is Making Your Skin Prone to Infection
And guess what acne is my friend? It’s an infection of your pores (!)
Your skin’s a super shield. With 100% battery level it keeps nasty bacteria out. Kills them off. Prevents them from burrowing into your skin.
But – when your skin pH goes high your skin shield is stressed. Like mega stressed. We’re talking 50% battery life and lower.
Because here’s the deal – part of your skin’s shield against infection is something us scientists call your acid barrier.
Imagine it like the invisible dye your mum tells you people put into swimming pools. The one which is going to go a crazy bright red/purple/orange colour if you pee in the pool.
[p.s. myth bust for another day ;)]
Well, your skin has its very own keep the pool safe indicator.
It’s acid mantel. And when bad bacteria visit they bump straight into your skin’s acid mantle. They can’t survive at this acidic pH. It’s an invisible dye which bad acne-causing bacteria don’t know is there. A force field bouncing bad bacteria straight back out again. They come, they pee, your skin pool goes bright purple, they’re grabbed by the trunks and pulled out pronto.
Now imagine what happens if you’re using baking soda for acne?
Your skin shield aka your skin’s acid mantle has holes in it.
Acne bacteria enter your skin town.
On day 1 they luck out and get removed by your skin bouncers. On day 2 their lucks in – they hit a hole and BOOM. They’re home. They’re burrowing in. They’re making your skin their comfy place.
Trouble is my friend sometimes it will feel like baking soda for acne works. It’s why you’re finding rave reviews about baking soda for face acne online. And why new products like Biore baking soda acne scrub are hitting up our skincare shelves. But here’s the kicker;
4. Baking Soda Treatments Will Dry Your Skin Out Like Crazy
Ever feel like acne treatments work for a few months and then stop working? And this time your acne’s coming back worse? Like way worse?
This is a super reason.
Baking soda can temporarily help you get rid of acne because it’s drying your skin out like the Sahara.
Baking soda changes your skin pH which means your skin can’t make oils as well. It needs an ideal skin pH to do it.
And because skin oil feeds your acne – temporarily your acne calms down.
But while baking soda’s at this, it’s also piercing holes in your skin barrier which is letting more acne bacteria in and it’s letting them get deeper, quicker. Plus now your skin’s super prone to dehydration making it dry, dehydrated and oily and acne-prone.
It’s shouting, no, no, no, help me as acne mountains poke up on your chin, your cheeks, your forehead and everywhere else in between.
And now they’re even worse than before because…
5. Baking Soda Can Make Your Skin Sensitive, Red & Angry
Oh yes it can. And it can do this at super speed for all the reasons you’ve just learnt about.
- Baking soda raises your skin pH
- Makes it hard for good skin bacteria to hang on in there
- And super easy for acne bacteria to thrive
- Baking soda pierces holes in your skin barrier
- Which lets bad bacteria and environmental irritants in
- Baking soda slows your skin from making healthy natural oils like ceramides
- Which leads to chronic dehydration and sensitivity
A sensitive skin type at its heart is a poorly skin barrier. One which leaks. An umbrella with tears in it.
Usually sensitive skin happens because a person’s skin naturally lacks the tools it needs to make a shield. But you can also cause it to happen by what you use on your skin. And baking soda is a key culprit.
When skin’s sensitive it starts hyper reacting. Anything you put on it can make skin extra red, hot, angry and irritated.
And as your skin’s acne-prone this is going to mean bigger, redder, hotter and more painful breakouts.
Now tell me my friend – what baking soda for acne fact shocked you the most? Or was it that that invisible swimming pool dye doesn’t in fact exist? 😉
If you’ve been chatting with a friend about using baking soda for pimples be sure to use that green button below and email them this blog. #SkinSaviour
Cheryl Woodman is a scientist & award winning skincare formulator who’s more friend next door than bow tie wearing professor. As creator of Honesty For Your Skin her aim is to help you care for your skin in the best ways possible. She’s founder of the natural & fragrance free skincare brand Honesty while also hosting 1 to 1 skincare coaching to help you get your best skin yet. Find out more here.