The Effects of Baking Soda on Skin

Baking soda is the quietly guarded secret of the beauty industry.

Photo: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

What beauty product can you buy for less than 50 cents and use on your face, skin and hair? Baking soda. Ask your grandmother if you didn't know, but baking soda has been the quietly guarded secret of both the beauty industry and grandmothers alike, relished for its ability to buff and polish the skin, revitalize hair and sooth irritated skin.

A Natural Exfoliatiant

Considering the wide array of store-bought beauty products claiming to buff, scrub and polish the skin, many of us have forgotten about the simplicity of baking soda and its secret ability to shine and exfoliate the skin. In paste form, baking soda can be used as a natural skin exfoliant. Baking soda's fine texture allows it to gently remove the top layer of skin cells, unlike some over-the-counter scrubs that can be abrasive and create fine scratches on the skin, causing irritation. Baking soda's texture also makes it a natural cuticle softener -- helping to gently buff the nail and delicate cuticle area.

Skin Irritation Relief

In addition to helping restore your skin's natural glow, baking soda can help reduce skin irritation. Jennifer L. Krasovic of the Southern New Hampshire Medical Center recommends adding oatmeal and baking soda to a lukewarm bath to help reduce dry, itchy skin. Its exfoliating properties also may make it an effective acne treatment. According to The Beauty Brains, an online beauty resource focusing on the science of beauty, exfoliation causes an "increased skin cell turnover rate, making your acne look less noticeable." Baking soda also has neutralizing properties, which may help decrease the redness associated with acne and skin irritation.

Insect Bites

The benefits of baking soda are not all necessarily beauty-related: It also soothes insect bites and stings. For a mild skin reaction to insects such as mosquitoes, bees and ticks, try making a paste from baking soda and water. Use 3 tsp. of baking soda and 1 tsp. of water, and apply to affected area. You may need to repeat application throughout the day, and if irritation persists or continues to swell, be sure to see a physician to rule out more serious issues.

Natural Cleanser and Odor Reducer

If you are suffering from dry cracked lips, try making a thick baking soda paste to both cleanse your lips to avoid infections and to exfoliate your lips back to perfection. Baking soda is one of the best exfloiants for your lips not only because of its super fine texture, but also because it doesn't contain harsh detergents that can get into your mouth. Try sprinkling a handful of baking soda into your favorite shampoo to help remove excess styling products cell build-up on your scalp. You can also add baking soda to your foot bath water to help neutralize embarrassing foot order .

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