Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Baking Soda Microdermabrasion Scrub

"DIY Microdermabrasion - mix 3 parts baking soda and 1 part water into a paste and apply in a circular motion and rinse" 

Ah, this. This is one of those pins that inspired this blog to begin with, so I should probably do a formal post about it. We've all seen it, a lot of us have probably tried it. So why is this a bad idea?

Because it's the gold pants of the beauty world. Let me explain  This is a not-the-worst-idea-but-I-still-can't-call-it-good-idea idea.  Maybe if you're young with oily skin, and by some off chance it doesn't make you break out. So this will work on about .001% of people. Like how very few people can wear gold pants and look not ridiculous in them. For the rest of us: set down the baking soda and step away from the pants, because it's a bad idea.

I actually had a hard time even finding a photo  
of someone looking good in gold pants!

Why? Well you see, skin has a natural pH to it. If you see a dermatologist it's one of the first things they will address. If your skin's pH is off,  chances are you're fighting dryness or oily skin and breakouts. Normal range is around 4.5-6.5 which mean it's a bit on the acidic side - which is good. Its good to maintain a healthy low level of acidity to fight off bacteria and other things. Baking soda, as we all know from chem class, is a base, meaning it helps neutralize acid. Baking soda's pH is around 7.5, meaning it can help lower the acidity of your skin if you use it, which is something you most likely don't want.

On top of that, baking soda is really really good at drying your skin out. Something you might not be too worried about when you're 19, but if you're up there in age, trust me, you worry about it. I've seen the same baking soda scrub idea also pinned with the suggestion of using coconut oil in place of water (again with the coconut oil!) but having tried it myself I can assure you - it will still leave your skin feeling very dry and tight, and greasy for the first hour or so. And smelling a bit like a good stir fry.

I've read a few suggestions saying to use the base pH of baking soda to help with oil production, but unfortunately for a lot of people it will have opposite effect  You see, often times your skin is oily because it's too dry. Yes, I know, that sounds crazy. But listen: your skin needs a balance of pH and oil to it. If your skin is dry from ether the products you're using, washing too much, sun, cold, living in a dry climate, etc., your skin goes into over drive. It starts producing more oil to better protect itself. And here's where a lot of people make the mistake of reaching for a deep cleansing oil-removing soap or scrub. So you just dried your skin out even more, causing your skin to produce MORE oil. You see the cycle. So the first thing you need to do if you have oily skin is to pamper and baby your skin with gentle cream based cleanser and a gentle moisturizer to see if that helps.

So there you have it. Baking soda works, kind of, but it also dries your skin and screws up your pH balance, which can cause breakouts and dry and/or oily skin. For every person you meet who swears by this, chances are you'll find a dozen more who had issues when they tried it. All in all, it's a bad idea.


  1. Anonymous10/6/13

    On the oily skin front, that's why facial oils exist and are so awesome!

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  2. I have to say, I've been washing my face with Baking Soda and water for over a year now, and my skin has never looked better. I also use coconut oil on my face as a moisturizer. The coconut oil NEVER leaves my skin oily. It soaks in wonderfully and leaves it very soft! I put it on everyday before I apply my makeup and I'll never go back!

    However, I used to use the baking soda in my hair as a shampoo (I have dreads), but I felt like it did dry my scalp. You're supposed to rinse with apple cider vinegar, but I never really enjoyed the smell, so I skipped that step. It may have helped my scalp, but I can't say for sure. I've since moved on to Dr. Bronners Castile Soap as a shampoo and it's been wonderful to my hair :-)

  3. I have to second Megan's comment. I've been using baking soda as a facial exfoliant for a few years and I've had mostly good experiences. My mom, who is a licensed esthetician, actually recommended it based on my skin type. I also follow up with a couple drops of coconut oil. Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, and actually helpful for breakouts. I don't use the baking soda everyday, only once per week tops. During the week I only rinse my face with cool water. It probably wouldn't work for everyone, but it works for me and I'm sticking to it. I get that one's skin needs oil, I get that slathering your face in baking soda everyday would be very drying, but my system works really well for me.

  4. Anonymous2/10/13

    If your concerned about Ph, you can always follow up with an apple cider vinegar toner. It just has to be the unfiltered stuff and 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. And yeah, a tiny bit of coconut oil is a great moisturizer. A little goes a long way.

  5. Anonymous19/2/14

    I was curious after reading this post and so I did a bit of research. Turns out a lot of licensed estheticians use baking soda for their dermabrasion.

  6. That’s great! But the problem here is that baking soda could leave your skin feeling dry. As much as it feels good to have your skin exfoliated after microdermabrasion, you don’t want to overdo it and get dry skin after, or make your skin oversensitized. But I guess the dryness isn’t something a moisturizer couldn’t fix. Thanks for sharing this trick!

    Carol Baker @ Dr. Baker

  7. If one would follow this beauty regime, they might want to moderate the amount of baking soda in the mix, since it may cause dryness, which will aggravate the skin and make the breakout even worse. I think the best thing to do before jumping on to the next skin treatment, be it homemade or clinical procedure, is to test your skin’s pH level, to check what kind of treatment would best suit you.

    Mark Hopkins @ David H. Whitney, MD

  8. Anonymous30/4/15

    Baking Soda totally ruined my skin!! I had really bad acne as a teen and this continued into my late 20's. I'm in my early 30's now and have alot of acne scarring. I also have sensitive combination skin so can only use products for sensitive skin. After reading lots of reviews of how baking soda can help fade acne scars I thought i'd try it. OMG BIG MISTAKE i made a baking soda mask mixing a small amount of baking soda and water into a runny paste and applied it. Within minutes my face was burning and i tried to leave it on as people suggested but after 5 mins i had to wash it off. My face was all red and tingly so i applied my moisturiser and went to bed. A while later I noticed that my face looked really smooth and clear but when I woke up the next day OMG it was soooooo dry. I can only describe it as dry wrinkly skin. I was mortified. It has now been 4 weeks and i still have dry skin patches all over my cheeks, forehead and I am doing everything to rehydrate the skin but its a very slow process.

    I now have to use E45 as a moisuriser during the day and as a night cream. Please please do not use baking soda on your face. I am hoping this dryness will eventually go away but I for one will NEVER do anything like this again!

    1. Anonymous16/3/17

      Use your own urine on face as a natural moisture izer and will clear up acnne wash off after 10minutes in morning,. The best

  9. Anonymous29/5/15

    I am in my 30's and have had problems with dry, really flakey skin, and also acne and thick hair growth on my chin from PCOS (hormone medications have down nothing to help) and lots of red splochiness from constant tweezing. Recently, the past few weeks, I've been exfoliating with a baking soda, water, and lemon juice paste every other day and my skin has never looked better! Most of the flakeyness is gone, minimal acne, no splochiness, and hair growth seems to be slowing as I can go a day between tweezing sessions where before I definitely could not. Of course I need to use a good moistureizer after exfoliating, but it has done good things for me and I'm not stopping.

  10. Anonymous29/5/15

    I have also successfully used the baking soda paste as a spot treatment for especially large and painful pimples.

  11. Anonymous12/6/15

    Everyone has their own experience but I for one will not be trying Baking Soda on the skin ever again. I also want to reiterate the harm it can do to your skin. As long as people are aware of the risks of using such abbrasive products, its their choice. When I decided to use it, I did not come across this article or any other posts that higlighted the damage and had I have read something earlier, I would not have used it.

  12. informative post but now a day people need a simple way to get rid of problems. Now a day most of the people prefer the laser treatment we also provide the best treatment of microdermabrasion in dubai

  13. I have worked as skin care specialist for 12 years and none of those store bought cleansers work better then ORGANIC coconut oil and baking soda in fact I go through stages of oily to dry to sensitive anyou woman who has had children knows what this feels like and I'm sorry your post is horrible information however yes ur skin maybe oily because it's dry you then apply coconut oil duh! Oil fights oil however sometimes during breakouts it's great to use baking soda and I would use it as a mask not a scrub that way you give ur skin a reboot and then apply the coconut oil only at night works wonders plus doesn't have all that cancerous shit

  14. I have worked as skin care specialist for 12 years and none of those store bought cleansers work better then ORGANIC coconut oil and baking soda in fact I go through stages of oily to dry to sensitive anyou woman who has had children knows what this feels like and I'm sorry your post is horrible information however yes ur skin maybe oily because it's dry you then apply coconut oil duh! Oil fights oil however sometimes during breakouts it's great to use baking soda and I would use it as a mask not a scrub that way you give ur skin a reboot and then apply the coconut oil only at night works wonders plus doesn't have all that cancerous shit

  15. Has anyone had microdermabrasion before? My skin is going through a stressful phase so thinking about going for it. Just wanted to see if anyone had been and what you thought?

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  16. Hello! I would like to open cosmetology salon. Do you have an experience in this business? There are too many options in beauty salon equipment. Could you give me an advise? What companies are more reliable to buy automatic autoclave and Professional skin scrubber?

  17. Anonymous23/8/17

    I am 54 years old, have always had oily skin. I wash my face with baking soda. I wash it about 2-3 times per week. That is the only thing I do to my face. I rarely wear makeup. I never wear moisturizer. I get lots of compliments on my skin.

  18. 3 Studies SHOW How Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you actually burn fat by eating coconut fat (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 studies from large medicinal journals are sure to turn the traditional nutrition world around!

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