A number of social media users claim that baking soda can help in improving the skin complexion and be useful in removing dark spots, and scars. We fact-checked and found that the claim is mostly false.
Applying baking soda face pack removes dead skin and gives you a clearer complexion – claims one such social media post. Such posts can be seen on beauty blogs to health websites. Examples are here, and here. A screenshot is given below.
Does baking soda whiten skin?
Not exactly. Baking soda acts as a natural scrub and can help remove dead skin cells, giving you a clear skin look. But there can be severe side effects to the process.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends deciding on any exfoliation process depending on your skin type. The clear warning reads, “every type of exfoliation may not work for every skin type.”
Skin experts strongly advise against using baking soda at home for any skin treatments.
Dr. Jyoti Agarkar, MD (Dermatology) says, “Such home remedies may have side-effects. You may not even know that baking soda is not suitable for your skin type and end up causing irritation or redness. It is very important that you understand your skin type first and then decide on a product. And, you should always do a patch test on your skin first before applying it all over your face.”
Dr. Iram Qazi, MD (Dermatology) says, “I will never suggest baking soda as a home remedy treatment. It can have damaging effects on the skin. That is because baking soda can interfere with the skin pH. The normal pH of the skin ranges from 4.5-5.5. This pH keeps the skin healthy and forms a protective oil barrier around it keeping it well moisturized with healthy oils and protecting it from bacteria as well. Baking soda, on the other hand, has a pH of 9. Thus applying a strong alkaline base on the skin can remove the natural protective oils from the skin and make it more prone to bacterial infections and skin damage. Also, baking soda can cause skin irritation and inflammation which may worsen acne and increase pigmentation and scarring of the skin. It can also increase skin dryness which causes overproduction of skin oils leading to more acne breakouts and scarring of the skin.”
Can baking soda remove scars and dark spots?
Yes, it can but only under medical supervision. Experts suggest strictly against using this as a home remedy.
Dr. Agarkar says, “Firstly, we need to understand what is a scar. Basically, a scar is a mark that is left on our skin after an injury or wound that has cured or healed. Scars can be left on the skin after surgery or after severe acne as well. It is a natural healing process that never completely disappears since it damages the deep, thick layers of the skin. Baking soda has anti-inflammatory properties, but the use of baking soda should be limited to eating only. The application of baking soda on the skin can irritate your skin and remove important protective oils. Also, baking soda from an already open packet might be contaminated by other substances, which may be harmful to your skin. For scar, the best treatment can be important to work closely with your dermatologist to determine the best treatment option for you as there are numerous treatments available for the scar.”
Dr. Joyeeta Chowdhury, MD (Dermatology) says, “A few studies have found that the application of baking soda-hydrogen peroxide dentifrice on post-surgical wounds has shortened the healing time. This is not a home-based remedy. It is under medical supervision. More studies are underway.”
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