Is Baking Soda The Best Exfoliant?

Exfoliating Your Skin On The Cheap

Baking soda
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Exfoliation is an essential part of a great skin care routine and shouldn't be skipped. Though there are numerous ways to exfoliate, all exfoliation methods fall into two general categories—chemical exfoliation or physical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation uses acids such as glycolic or salicylic or enzymes like papaya to dissolve dead skin cells. These exfoliation ingredients can even penetrate into pores in order to remove oil and dead skin cells from the inside out. This type of exfoliation is particularly good for people who have acne or suffer from occasional breakouts. If you suffer from persistent blackheads, chemical exfoliants are also best for your skin. Chemical exfoliation is also good for anti-aging.

Physical exfoliation means the dead skin cells that are sitting on the surface of your skin are removed by rubbing something against the skin such as sugar, ground up nuts, or by using a mechanical brush or washcloth. This type of exfoliation happens just on the top layer of the skin, and unlike chemical exfoliation, these ingredients do not penetrate into your pores to clean them out like chemical exfoliating ingredients do. When your skin is normal, doesn't suffer from acne, or isn't overly sensitive, you can use physical exfoliants, even a few times a week. There are people who even prefer physical exfoliants because they enjoy the feel of a scrub on their skin. 

Why Use Baking Soda As An Exfoliant?

Exfoliants are available in a wide range of prices and some can set you back a pretty penny.  When it comes to DIY facial exfoliating scrubs, certainly one of the most intriguing has to be using baking soda as an exfoliant. Pinterest is filled with ideas on how to combine baking soda with everything from coconut oil to lemon juice in order to get rid of blackheads, exfoliate, or even to treat acne. When it comes to being cost effective, baking soda fits the bill by being cheap and easy to find and purchase. 

How To Use Baking Soda As An Exfoliant

To use baking soda as a facial exfoliant, simply mix a small amount of baking soda into your cleanser or combine baking soda with water until you have a watery paste. Apply this to your face and gently rub the paste all over your face, avoiding your eye area. Thoroughly rinse when you are done. You don't need to limit your use of baking soda as an exfoliant for just your face; you can use it on your elbows, knees, or anywhere else on your body that you feel needs exfoliation.

The Case For Using Baking Soda As An Exfoliant

Besides being easy to use and cheap why else would baking soda be a good physical exfoliant? The Beauty Brains explain that baking soda is finely ground yet hard making it an effective physical exfoliant because it can remove dead skin cells without causing too much irritation to the skin. Furthermore, since baking soda is an acid neutral it can cancel out the effects of acids and basics (soap) on your skin which is a good thing. The Beauty Brains do point out that baking soda does not have any anti-microbial properties, but nevertheless might help acne if you apply a thick paste of baking soda mixed with a little water to your face as a mask. Overall, The Beauty Brains give baking soda a thumbs up as a cost effective and non-irritating physical exfoliant.

The Case Against Using Baking Soda As An Exfoliant

The skin care website FutureDerm takes the opposing view from The Beauty Brains about baking soda as an exfoliant. In the article: Is Baking Soda Safe To Use As An Exfoliant? Natalie Bell explains that when you mix baking soda and water together you get a paste that has an alkaline pH. When you use an alkaline cleanser or exfoliant on your face your actually disrupt the acid mantle of your skin. Simply put we actually want the skin on our face to be slightly acidic so that it destroys harmful bacteria, protects our skin, and helps our skin hold onto moisture. According to FutureDerm if you were to continually use baking soda as an exfoliant you actually damage your skin instead of helping it because baking soda is too alkaline for use on the skin.

Bottom Line:  If you are intrigued by what you've read above then certainly give baking soda a try as an exfoliant. But definitely keep the following in mind - baking soda won't cure your acne and get rid of your blackheads permanently. Also make sure you definitely don't over due it when comes to using this product on your face. Exfoliating too often with baking soda is not good for your skin.