Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is a natural household product with many uses outside of the kitchen. This useful mineral is slightly abrasive, with an alkaline pH of around 9. Baking soda is touted as an active ingredient in all kinds of cleansers and air fresheners, oral and personal hygiene remedies and products, heartburn remedies, insect pest repellants, and as a fire extinguishing agent. Even traditional cold and flu remedies contain this well-known baking ingredient.
The unique properties of this compound also make it an effective treatment for various skin and hair conditions, or for periodic beautifying treatments. It can be especially useful for those with oily complexions that may result in acne or blotchiness, and for cleansing a buildup of residue from frequent shampoo and conditioner use. It can help lessen the signs of aging, keeping skin supple with a youthful glow.
Even though sodium bicarbonate is slightly alkaline, it has pH balancing capabilities that make it useful in treating both internal and external ailments. By bringing the body back into balance, the immune system is better able to handle the onslaught of bacteria, viruses, or fungal infections that come against it on a day to day basis.
Baking Soda: Beauty That’s Skin Deep
One crucial factor to keep in mind that human skin is slightly acidic, so some caution and moderation should be observed when using an alkaline compound. It’s not recommended that baking soda be used every day as a facial scrub or shampoo. That said, using it in a regular beauty regimen can leave skin healthy and glowing, with fewer blemishes and dark spots.
In fact, this pure compound may be found in the ingredients of many skin treatments on the market today to relieve and heal skin breakouts and irritations. But creating your own custom skin treatment can be economical as well as avoid unnecessary side effects. Your kitchen cupboards may very well hide a plethora of natural remedies that can be combined to heal and beautify you from the inside out.
1 – Super exfoliation
Baking soda is a beautiful ingredient for creating masks or pastes that unclog facial pores and remove dead skin cells. Regular exfoliation can also have an anti-aging effect by lessening the impact of fine lines or dark circles. Some natural cleansing treatments include:
- Make a simple paste by mixing with equal parts of water. Rinse thoroughly after a few minutes.
- Make a cleansing mask by combining with coconut oil and vitamin E.
- Combine with oatmeal to treat stubborn dark circles under the eyes. Be careful to avoid getting the mixture into your eyes, where it can cause irritation.
- A mask made by mixing with a bit of rose water, cucumber juice, and lemon juice helps unclog pores and soothe dry or combination skin.
2 – Lighten and brighten
Lighten freckles, dark spots, and acne scars to leave your skin with a healthy glow. Neutralize excess acid for a healthy skin pH with a mask made by mixing soda with honey and lemon juice. Apply and leave on for 10-15 minutes before thoroughly rinsing and applying your favorite moisturizer.
Many enjoy a popular mask by mixing the product with orange juice; it is also highly effective for improving skin tone and brightness. Leave the slightly fizzy mask on for about 20 minutes before rinsing. The fizzing is caused by the reaction between alkaline bicarbonate and the ascorbic acid found in oranges.
This is the same reaction between ingredients that makes your favorite cookies rise. In the case of the skin treatment, the bicarbonate exfoliates, the orange juice helps tighten pores, and vitamin C helps to brighten skin for a youthful glow. Your skin may be a little pink immediately afterward, but that minor effect doesn’t last long. Follow up the mask with a gentle moisturizer.
3 – Natural deodorizer
Mix with cornstarch in a one-part soda to six-part cornstarch ratio. The powder can be applied with a cotton ball, and many find it as useful as deodorants but without a long list of unwanted chemicals. Your clothing will be safe, too, since these compounds will not leave a stain.
Why does sodium bicarbonate work so well at preventing B.O.? Some of your sweat can contain fats and proteins that can make your pits into Petri dishes for stinky bacteria. This natural deodorant makes your skin a much less appealing place for undesirable odors to grow through its alkaline and anti-bacterial properties.
4 – Treat skin yeast infections and rashes
The compound’s antifungal and chemical properties can help stop the abnormal growth of candida or yeast bacteria. You can fight the infection from the inside out by mixing a half-teaspoon with a glass of water as a drink, along with applying equal parts with water to make a paste. Let the paste remain on the skin for about 4 minutes at the most before rinsing thoroughly with fresh water.
The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities of sodium bicarbonate can help treat minor skin irritations and rashes. Make a soothing ointment or mask by mixing equal parts with coconut oil. Don’t forget to test a small area for adverse reactions before making a full application.
5 – Psoriasis
Some caution should be used when treating psoriasis symptoms with this product. Over-application can dry out the area, causing increased irritation rather than bringing relief. Try the remedy on a small spot first for personal effectiveness and use in moderation.
A mixture of baking soda with castor oil can best aid psoriasis symptoms such as scaly or thick heels or skin lesions. Do not apply to cracked skin surfaces. You may also use olive oil instead of castor oil, or just add a smaller amount of soda to bathwater.
6 – Cooling burns
You can help neutralize minor skin burns by applying the same equal-parts, water-based paste mentioned above. Once the paste is dry, rinse thoroughly with cold water. This traditional folk remedy seems to draw heat from the area, giving a cooling effect. However, you should know that the relief may only last temporarily. In the case of severe burns, it’s best to see a physician.
For sunburn relief, apply a cold cloth compress soaked in water, sodium bicarbonate mixture. But again, if you are too severely burned, it’s best to see a doctor to evaluate and recommend the best treatment to ensure proper healing. For minor burns, it may be necessary to apply the compress repeatedly for continued relief.
7 – Beautify your feet
Feet are often two of the most neglected parts of our body. You can help keep your feet free of dry skin and callus build-up by regularly soaking them in warm water infused with three tablespoons of baking soda. Relax and enjoy a 15-20 minute soak, then gently remove dead skin cells with a pumice stone. After drying your feet, apply a moisturizer and socks to complete the treatment.
If your feet have been ignored for some time, you may want to apply this treatment three times a week until your feet are soft and free of dry skin buildup. Continue periodic soaking to prevent future issues.
8 – Brighten nails
Make and apply the basic soda/water paste to fingernails and toenails to remove nail polish stains. Some studies indicate that this application can stem the spread of nail fungus as well with regular applications. And sprinkling a little on or in your socks can help absorb excess moisture that can cause mildew to begin growing in the first place. It offers a natural, no-chemical solution to a common problem.
Keep your hair healthy and full of shine
Using sodium bicarbonate as a hair treatment can be a little tricky. Remember, moderation is key to preventing over-application that could dry your scalp and hair. Periodically mixing a small amount of the natural product into your shampoo or conditioner can help prevent dandruff as well as chlorine or shampoo chemical buildups, resulting in shinier, more manageable hair.