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If you've ever baked a cake, you're probably familiar with baking soda as a leavening agent. Did you know you can also use it as a beauty product? If you're suffering from acne, a baking soda facial mask can reduce swelling and remove dead skin, shrinking your pesky blemishes. These characteristics also make baking soda an excellent exfoliant, but we all know too much exfoliation is never a good thing. Becuase baking soda can be abrasive on sensitive skin, a good moisturizer is a godsend.
Baking Soda and Your Skin
To figure out which kind of moisturizer would best suit your skin, you should know what makes baking soda an effective skin product. A proper exfoliant removes the cells from the top layer of your skin to reveal the younger skin underneath. This is why some exfoliants contain mild acids. If the substance is too acidic, however, it will dry out or burn your skin — ouch!. Baking soda is a fine powder, which makes it superb at removing dead skin cells with little irritation. However, some skin types suffer more than others with repeated use.
For Dry Skin
If you have dry skin, it's especially important to exfoliate, but if you don't use a proper moisturizer, you'll end up with even dryer skin. The best moisturizers for those who suffer from dry skin should contain two types of ingredients — water-holding agents, and oils or oil-like substances that help prevent water from evaporating. Common water-holding ingredients to look for include hyaluronic acid, glycerin, lanolin and alpha hydroxy acids. To prevent water from evaporating, look for a moisturizer with jojoba oil, shea butter, extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, canola oil, sesame oil or almond oil.
For Oily Skin
Women with oily skin generally don't have to be as careful with over-exfoliating, but using the wrong products can cause more oil to build up and clog pores. An oil-free moisturizer that has water-trapping ingredients will refresh exfoliated skin without exacerbating skin issues. Look for moisturizers that don't contain oils like jojoba oil or shea butter — they'll make your skin extra greasy. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalane and alpha hydroxy acids hydrate and don't add oil.
Baking Soda as a Facial Wash
Baking soda might be an excellent exfoliant, but if you're looking for a face wash that can cleanse your skin and kick bacteria that causes acne, it's best to look elsewhere. Baking soda's abrasive properties help clear bacteria and dead cells from the skin's surface, but it is not an effective anti-microbial agent. Sure, baking soda can effectively clean inanimate objects — tarnished metals, yellowed teeth and even the Statue of Liberty — but your skin is constantly in contact with bacteria that sink below the surface and cause blemishes. Just stick with real soap.