You might use baking soda to absorb odors in your refrigerator, and you’ve probably heard that some people brush their teeth with it. But you probably weren’t aware that baking soda is a potential beauty cure-all. In addition to causing cakes to rise, baking soda is soothing to skin and can help calm irritation and improve its texture.
According to manufacturer Arm & Hammer, baking soda is a chemical compound also known as sodium bicarbonate. Found naturally in carbon-based forms of life, baking soda helps regulate pH. Baking soda can neutralize acidic or alkaline pH levels; after application, it continues to act as a buffer, regulating pH.
Baking Soda for Scars
Using baking soda to reduce the look of an acne scar has a precedent in the field of burn treatment. According to Burton Goldberg, Larry Trivieri and John W. Anderson in “Alternative Medicine: The Definitive Guide,” baking soda functions as “a mild antiseptic,” working to calm irritated skin. It's recommended for use on second-degree burns, in a mixture with olive oil, vitamin E and zinc. The authors say this mixture helps “promote healing and prevent scarring.”
Baking Soda for Wrinkles
While scientists have yet to weigh in on baking soda’s effectiveness as a wrinkle fighter, it’s mentioned in plenty of home remedy advice columns and websites. According to manufacturer Arm & Hammer, baking soda functions as an exfoliant to remove dead skin cells that may be covering up smoother, younger-looking skin beneath. It suggests mixing three parts baking soda to one part water and using the paste as a facial scrub. Regularly exfoliating wrinkles can help to slough away dead, dull, dry skin; although it won’t remove wrinkles entirely, it can encourage cell turnover and reveal an all-over fresher look.
The more you use baking soda, the drier your skin may get. According to Michael R. Wiles, Jonathan Williams and Kashif Ahmad in “Essentials of Dermatology for Chiropractors,” long-term use of baking soda as a topical agent can dry out your skin. The authors suggest rinsing away topical baking soda with warm water and immediately applying a moisturizer.
Other Cosmetic Uses
Baking soda can do more than exfoliate and promote scar healing. According to Reader’s Digest “Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things,” you can use baking soda as a natural deodorant and hair cleanser. To use it as deodorant, the authors suggest you dab baking soda under your arm with a powder puff. To strip the buildup that hair styling products leave behind, the book recommends adding a once-weekly dose of 1 tbsp. baking soda to your hair as you shampoo. The authors note that this may lighten your hair, as well as remove any sticky residue from your hair gels, mousses, sprays and serums.
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Jenni Wiltz's fiction has been published in "The Portland Review," "Sacramento News & Review" and "The Copperfield Review." She has a bachelor's degree in English and history from the University of California, Davis and is working on a master's degree in English at Sacramento State. She has worked as a grant coordinator, senior editor and advertising copywriter and has been a professional writer since 2003.