Baking Soda for Acne: How to Use It, Side Effects and More (2023)

  • Baking soda is widely believed to be a home treatment for acne
  • Because of its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and exfoliating properties, baking soda is thought to reduce acne breakouts
  • Baking soda has an alkaline pH, which means it may interfere with the skin’s naturally acidic pH
  • At-home baking soda treatments include face masks, spot treatments and overnight treatments

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is widely thought to be a safe, effective home remedy. It is a common, multipurpose substance with an alkaline pH. Baking soda is antiseptic, fights inflammation and is often used to manage the body’s pH and to lower acidity. But is baking soda safe for acne?


Does Baking Soda for Acne Work?

For some people, baking soda can help alleviate low level pain and inflammation associated with acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, baking soda is often used in topical over-the-counter skin care products.

However, people who use baking soda for acne should not use it on a daily basis. Baking soda can irritate the skin and negatively affect the skin’s pH.

Baking soda for acne scars

Baking soda is sometimes used as an exfoliant, but there is no evidence that it can help acne scars after they have already formed. However, because it can help control acne symptoms in some people, it may help to prevent new scars from forming.

(Video) 9 Health Benefits & Uses of Baking Soda For Amazing Skin

How Does It Work?

Baking soda may fight acne through its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and exfoliating properties. However, research on baking soda for acne is next to nonexistent; most research on it’s antibacterial nature is dental-related.

Because baking soda is abrasive, it can help remove plaque from teeth, and this raises questions about the safety of using baking soda on the skin. If baking soda is abrasive enough to remove plaque from teeth, it should only be used on the skin with extreme caution, if it is used on the skin at all.

Baking soda is often confused with baking powder, particularly when it comes to skin care. Baking powder should never be used on the skin, and has no benefit against acne symptoms.

How to Use Baking Soda for Acne Safely

Baking soda is not generally recommended for treating acne. However, If you do choose to go this route, there are a few safe ways to incorporate it into your skin care routine.

Be sure to purchase a fresh box of baking soda for your skin care routine. Avoid baking soda that you have stored under your sink for cleaning, or used to absorb food odors in your refrigerator.)

Baking soda from a previously used or open box might have absorbed chemicals, odors, or substances that could harm your skin or cause an adverse reaction you might not experience otherwise.

Before you begin, note that you only need to use a small amount of baking soda due to its alkaline pH. Do not scrub the skin after application and use caution when you rinse it off your face.


Baking Soda Treatments for Acne

Since baking soda treatments for acne are mainly backed by anecdotal evidence, if you opt for these treatments, do so with caution.

There are several ways you can use baking soda to combat acne, including face masks, targeted spot treatments and overnight treatments. You can also add half a teaspoon of baking soda to your facial cleanser per wash. Follow-up with a generous amount of moisturizer to prevent your skin from becoming dry and tight.

If you incorporate baking soda into your skin care routine, to prevent excessive dryness, don’t use it more than twice per week.

Baking soda and lemon face mask

Combining baking soda in a simple mask with other ingredients, such as lemon, can help calm acne, control excess oil and exfoliate skin. However, baking soda is a controversial mask ingredient because of its potential severe side effects.

Baking soda’s exfoliating properties can help unclog pores, which reduces inflammation from breakouts and helps prevent the formation of acne. Lemon juice’s naturally occurring citric acid brightens the skin and acts as a chemical exfoliant.

  1. In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsp of water, 2 tbsp of baking soda and several drops of fresh lemon juice
  2. Massage the paste onto the skin gently; leave for 10 minutes
  3. Rinse off gently with lukewarm water; pat skin dry
  4. Apply your moisturizer of choice

If you wish, you can add a few drops of hemp seed oil to the mask mixture to help prevent excessive dryness. Hemp seed oil contains nourishing vitamins and essential fatty acids that may help counteract the drying characteristics of the baking soda and protect the skin’s natural barrier.

Baking soda spot treatment

To target specific blemishes and lesions on the face, you can mix up a baking soda spot treatment.

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  1. Combine 2 tsp baking soda with a small amount of water
  2. Mix until a paste forms
  3. Apply paste directly to pimples or lesions; let rest for 20 minutes
  4. Gently wash off with lukewarm water; pat skin dry
  5. Apply your moisturizer of choice

Baking soda spot treatments can help prevent widespread irritation and pH imbalance that may occur when applying baking soda to the entire face.

Overnight baking soda treatment

For those people who have a high tolerance for using baking soda on the skin, they may choose to try an overnight baking soda treatment.

  1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser
  2. Rinse with lukewarm water; pat skin dry
  3. In a small bowl, combine 2 tsp baking soda and a small amount of water
  4. Mix until a spreadable paste forms
  5. Gently apply onto the affected area; leave on overnight

Leaving baking soda on your face overnight may put you at a greater risk for side effects, so proceed with caution. If you have sensitive or dry skin, it’s best not to use an overnight baking soda treatment.

Risks and Side Effects

Using baking soda on the face could be potentially harmful. The harsh texture could irritate the skin; its neutral pH could interfere with the skin’s normal pH.

Generally, skin’s pH should be slightly acidic – around 4.5 to 5.5 pH. Acidic pH is at the bottom of the scale, from 0 to 7. Alkaline substances range from 7 to 14. Baking soda has a pH of 9, which means it’s alkaline and will lower the pH of anything acidic it comes into contact with.

Skin’s natural acidity, the acid mantle, helps to protect it from bacteria and damage from the environment. If the skin’s pH is neutralized, its natural protections are compromised. Baking soda can strip the oils that are naturally produced by the skin, leaving the skin prone to harmful microbes and increased sensitivity.

Some of the side effects of using baking soda for acne—especially overusing it—include:

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  • Extreme dryness
  • Inflammation
  • Irritation
  • Increased severity of acne
  • Peeling
  • Premature wrinkling
  • Redness

If you experience adverse side effects from using baking soda for acne, discontinue use immediately.


Although baking soda is a popular acne treatment, it is largely supported only by anecdotal evidence. Its alkaline pH and gritty texture could cause more harm than good, and for this reason baking soda tends to be a controversial ingredient in homemade skin care products.

However, baking soda can be used effectively in face masks, spot treatments and overnight treatments when used with caution. It’s important to use small amounts and to be gentle with your skin in the process. For example, you may want to add a skin-friendly oil such as hemp seed oil to your baking soda face mask mixture to counteract baking soda’s drying properties.

Using baking soda for acne could cause extreme dryness and skin irritation, so use with caution. Altering your skin’s pH could leave it vulnerable to worse acne and further damage.


  • Ali, S. M., & Yosipovitch, G. (2013). Skin pH: from basic science to basic skin care. Acta dermato-venereologica, 93(3), 261-269.
  • Brunette DM. Effects of baking-soda-containing dentifrices on oral malodor. Compendium of Continuing Education in dentistry. (Jamesburg, N.J. : 1995). Supplement. 1997 ;18(21):S22-32; quiz S46.
  • Gonzalez, J., & Hogg, R. J. (1981). Metabolic alkalosis secondary to baking soda treatment of a diaper rash. Pediatrics, 67(6), 820-822.
  • Lertsatitthanakorn, P., Taweechaisupapong, S., Aromdee, C., & Khunkitti, W. (2006). In vitro bioactivities of essential oils used for acne control. International Journal of Aromatherapy, 16(1), 43-49.
  • Myneni, S. R. (2017). Effect of baking soda in dentifrices on plaque removal. The Journal of the American Dental Association, 148(11), S4-S9.
  • Ramsing DW, Agner T. Preventive and therapeutic effects of a moisturizer. An experimental study of human skin. Acta Dermato-venereologica. 1997 Sep;77(5):335-337. DOI:10.2340/0001555577335337

» Show all

(Video) Back To Baking Soda 2 WEEKS Challenge - BEFORE


Is there any side effects of applying baking soda on face? ›

Some side effects of using baking soda on your skin and face include: overdrying of the skin. early onset of wrinkles. worsened acne breakouts.

How many minutes should I leave baking soda on my face? ›

Leave it for no more than 10 to 15 minutes if used as a facial mask. If used as an exfoliant, rinse immediately after massaging the mixture onto your face. After both types of uses, immediately apply a facial moisturizer to prevent your skin from drying out. Don't repeat this method more than twice per week.

What are the disadvantages of baking soda for skin? ›

Increasing the pH of your skin can lead to dryness, irritation, and other side effects. Baking soda's alkalinity also makes it too basic of a solution to use as a face wash. It may strip the skin of necessary oils, and disrupt the acid mantle your skin needs to protect it from infection and breakouts.

How many times should I use baking soda on my face? ›

As with any exfoliant, do not use every day, or you may dry out or irritate your skin. One to two times per week will help slough off your dull skin cells and leave your face feeling fresher and looking brighter. Follow your baking soda facial with your moisturizer to hydrate your skin.

What are the side effects of baking soda? ›

Baking soda is considered nontoxic when it is used in cooking and baking.
  • Constipation.
  • Convulsions.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Feeling of being full.
  • Frequent urination.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Muscle weakness.

Does baking soda have side effects? ›

In too large a dose, baking soda is also poisonous. This is due to the powder's high sodium content. When someone takes too much sodium bicarbonate, the body tries to correct the balance of salt by drawing water into the digestive system. This causes diarrhea and vomiting.

What happens if you leave baking soda on too long? ›

If you use it quickly and rinse it off, you might be fine, but allowing a baking soda mixture to sit on the surface for too long can cause it to oxidize, which means that the surface changes color.

How to get rid of acne fast? ›

  1. 6 Ways to Get Rid of Pimples Fast. ...
  2. Apply Ice to the Pimple: ...
  3. Apply a Paste of Crushed Aspirin to the Pimple. ...
  4. Use An Over-the-Counter Acne Spot Treatment. ...
  5. Use Makeup with Salicylic Acid to Conceal Pimples. ...
  6. Apply a Face Mask for Acne. ...
  7. Get a Cortisone Injection to Quickly Get Rid of a Pimple.
Dec 6, 2021

How long does it take for baking soda to remove acne? ›

Spot treatment

Some people use baking soda to target specific pimples that appear on the face. To do this, a person can make a paste by mixing 2 teaspoons of baking soda with a little water. This paste can be directly applied to pimples or other acne lesions and left on for 20 minutes before thoroughly washing off.

How long to leave baking soda paste on skin? ›

It can relieve minor irritation, pain, itching, and redness. Mix up a paste of 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water. Smear it on your skin and leave for 20 minutes before you wash it off. Or soak in a bath with a half-cup of baking soda added to the water.

Where should you not use baking soda? ›

Anything with deep grooves or cracks. Baking soda leaves behind a white, dusty residue after it dries. Therefore, you should never use it to clean surfaces with deep grooves or cracks because the residue will get left behind and can build up.

How long does it take for baking soda to lighten skin? ›

Now, mix a tablespoon of baking soda with the lemon juice and coconut oil. Apply the mixture on your face and massage it for 10 minutes. The vitamin C in the lemon juice makes it a natural skin lighter and baking soda helps in removing the pigmentation.

How do you get rid of acne in 3 days naturally? ›

To clear acne naturally, try incorporating a healthy diet, drink plenty of water, stress management, and a consistent skincare routine into your daily routine. Using natural remedies, such as aloe vera, honey, and tea tree oil, may also be helpful in reducing acne.

How do you get rid of pimples naturally and permanently? ›

Other ways to help reduce pimples
  1. Witch hazel. Applying witch hazel to the skin has been shown to fight bacteria and reduce inflammation, which could help prevent pimples ( 37 , 38 ).
  2. Apple cider vinegar. ...
  3. Limit dairy intake. ...
  4. Try a honey and cinnamon mask. ...
  5. Reduce stress.

How long does the effect of baking soda last? ›

How Long Does Baking Soda Last?
Baking soda (unopened)Best-by + 3 – 6 months
Baking soda (opened)6 months
Jun 18, 2021

How much baking soda is safe per day? ›

Adults and teenagers—3.9 to 10 grams (1 to 2½ teaspoonfuls) in a glass of cold water after meals. However, the dose is usually not more than 19.5 grams (5 teaspoonfuls) a day. Children up to 6 years of age—Dose must be determined by your doctor.

How much baking soda is too much? ›

Healthline goes on to say that drinking too much baking soda — more than 3½ teaspoons or 1½ teaspoons for those over 60 — can also lead to a heart attack. There are plenty of other reactions people can experience due to the medications they take each day.

Can you have an allergic reaction to baking soda? ›

What are the side effects of Sodium Bicarbonate? Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Can baking soda clear dark spots? ›

Does baking soda help remove dark spots? A. Owing to its bleaching properties, baking soda can help fade away black marks and spots on the skin. However, it's important that you mix baking soda with other natural ingredients as it can be harsh on your skin if used topically.

What does baking soda do? ›

A: Baking soda acts as a chemical leavener. It reacts with an acid to produce carbon dioxide — or loads of bubbles — a process that allows cakes, cookies, and other baked goods to rise.

How many times a week should I use baking soda? ›

The Journal of the American Dental Association states that baking soda is safe for daily use. It is a good idea to only use baking soda to brush the teeth once per day. Use a good fluoride toothpaste to brush teeth the rest of the time.

How do you know if you use too much baking soda? ›

Too much baking soda will result in a soapy taste with a coarse, open crumb. Baking soda causes reddening of cocoa powder when baked, hence the name Devil's Food Cake.

How many times can you rinse with baking soda? ›

Teeth Whitening

To whiten your teeth with baking soda, mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 3 to 4 drops of lemon juice and make it into a fine paste. Gently brush your teeth with this paste and leave it on your teeth for 2 minutes. Thoroughly rinse your mouth afterward. Do not use this paste more than twice a week.

What kills acne for good? ›

Benzoyl peroxide.

This ingredient kills bacteria that cause acne, helps remove excess oil from the skin and removes dead skin cells, which can clog pores. Benzoyl peroxide products that you can buy without a prescription are available in strengths from 2.5% to 10%.

Can hydrogen peroxide get rid of acne? ›

There's no evidence that hydrogen peroxide can safely and effectively cure acne. In reality, hydrogen peroxide may actually increase scarring on the skin by interfering with the wound-healing process. It can also cause skin irritation and burns if used at too high of a concentration.

Can acne go away in 3 days? ›

Pimples usually last between three and seven days. Most pimples go away on their own, but it may take some time. Deep pimples (pimples under your skin with no head that may feel hard to the touch) may take a few weeks to go away, if not longer.

Does ice help acne? ›

When used on inflammatory acne, ice also has the potential to decrease redness, thereby making your pimples less noticeable. It can also treat pain that occurs with cystic and nodular acne. This is due to the short-term numbing effect ice creates.

What can I mix with baking soda for my face? ›

Although some people simply mix water and baking soda to make a mask, we love the addition of honey and lemon. Lemon is antibacterial, honey is naturally hydrating and baking soda is anti-inflammatory. In other words, this trio of ingredients can help to cleanse, soothe, moisturize and take away redness.

How to remove acne scars? ›

What's the best treatment for acne scars?
  1. Home skin care. Using sunscreen can help limit the contrast between unscarred skin and a scar. ...
  2. Soft tissue fillers. ...
  3. Steroid injection. ...
  4. Laser resurfacing. ...
  5. Other energy-based procedures. ...
  6. Dermabrasion. ...
  7. Chemical peel. ...
  8. Skin needling.

Can you leave baking soda paste overnight? ›

Let the Paste Sit Overnight: As some of the grease and grime inside your oven may be rather stubborn, leaving the baking soda paste to sit for at least 12 hours will produce the best results. Whilst this magical mixture does its job, you can get on with your day or have a good night's rest.

Can baking soda help with acne scars? ›

Baking soda helps fade acne and pimple marks and aids the healing process of acne. It works as an exfoliator and sheds the skin, making it free of stubborn scars. Mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoon water and make a smooth paste. Apply it on the scars and let sit for two minutes before rinsing.

Can I drink baking soda and water? ›

You can use it to: Calm indigestion: Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of water to zap acid in your stomach. But acid doesn't cause all kinds of indigestion, so if your symptoms don't improve after 2 weeks, call your doctor. Don't take baking soda within 2 hours of other medications.

Is a teaspoon of baking soda a day good for you? ›

With a daily cup of water with a teaspoon of baking soda, Brandon says you can regulate your body's pH level and help improve your hormone balance, nutrient absorption, and blood quality—all of which can help your kidney stay healthy.

Can baking soda clog? ›

The baking soda's abrasive nature will wear down your drain over time. This is why you should avoid using baking soda and vinegar solution for cleaning out your drain.

Can baking soda bleach skin? ›

Baking soda does not have any direct skin whitening effect. But, it does a lot of other things to keep the skin bright and beautiful. It exfoliates dead cells, unclogs pores, keeps bacterial infections away, removes blemishes which all together gives a skin whitening effect.

What does baking soda do after 30 days? ›

Baking soda is good indefinitely past its best by date, although it can lose potency over time. You can use a rule of thumb—two years for an unopened package and six months for an opened package. While old baking soda may not produce as much leavening action, it is still safe to eat.

Does baking soda tighten skin? ›

Baking soda works to remove dead skin cells, soften your complexion, and tighten pores. Used as part of a wrinkle-fighting beauty routine, exfoliating with baking soda can lead to visibly smoother, firmer skin.

How I cleared my acne in a week? ›

“When you have a week to go and you realise you've got a sudden breakout, you can start using a salicylic acid-based face wash and a benzoyl peroxide-based cream at night," says Dr Bijlani. Incorporating an AHA- and BHA-based toner can also help reduce the excess oil on the surface of your skin.

How do you make acne go away forever? ›

Isotretinoin: This is a potent medicine that attacks all four causes of acne—bacteria, clogged pores, excess oil, and inflammation (redness and swelling). About 85% of patients see permanent clearing after one course of isotretinoin.

Is toothpaste good for acne? ›

You may have heard this suggestion, but experts on acne say don't try it. Toothpaste could make that spot on your skin even more red, irritated, and noticeable. Why? Today, there are so many different kinds of toothpastes — and lots of them contain ingredients that can hurt your skin.

What causes pimples to go away? ›

Some OTC treatments, such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, also come in stronger prescription forms. Other prescription treatments, such as dapsone gel, specifically treat inflammatory acne. Antibiotics may also be used to kill the bacteria that can make acne worse and keep your pimple from going away.

Is it safe to use baking soda as a face mask? ›

Yes! Baking soda has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Also, its gritty texture helps remove the dead skin cells that trap excess oil and grime that cause breakouts. Overall, it's a great product for your skin—as long as it is used correctly.

Does baking soda remove dark spots? ›

Does baking soda help remove dark spots? A. Owing to its bleaching properties, baking soda can help fade away black marks and spots on the skin. However, it's important that you mix baking soda with other natural ingredients as it can be harsh on your skin if used topically.

Is it safe to put lemon juice and baking soda on your face? ›

When applied to the skin, lemon juice can reduce wrinkles, fade scars, and brighten your skin. The gritty texture of baking soda works as an exfoliator to clean out your pores. When you mix these two together, you get an easy, homemade scrub that does the work of several products.

What does baking do to your face? ›

Baking your makeup is the process of applying concealer and loose powder under your eyes for a crease-free, flawless-looking finish. Traditional baking uses a damp sponge to allow the loose powder to sit under your eyes for 5-10 minutes to blend with your foundation and concealer.

How long does baking soda take to remove acne scars? ›

Baking Soda Mask for Acne

Apply the paste on your clean face and leave it on for 1-2 minutes to get rid of pimples. To treat acne scars, leave it on for about 15 minutes. Rinse everything off with cold water. You can use the mask everyday for the first 2-3 days, then reduce the frequency to weekly treatments.

Is baking soda safe on skin? ›

The exfoliating, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of baking soda for skin can help reduce the reoccurrence of pimples and acne. Mind you though, baking soda in its unadulterated form can be a bit too harsh for your skin.

How can I remove spots from my face in 2 days naturally? ›

Read more to know a few remedies to get rid of dark spots / Dark Spots and to make your skin smooth and soft.
  1. Drink Plenty Of Water. Drinking plenty of water can do wonders to your skin. ...
  2. Lemon Juice And Yogurt Face Mask. We all know that lemons have a number of benefits. ...
  3. Buttermilk. ...
  4. Aloe Vera. ...
  5. Tomatoes. ...
  6. Papaya. ...
  7. Honey.
Dec 24, 2019

What removes dark spots faster? ›

Kojic acid

Committing to a dark-spot-correcting serum with any and all of the brightening ingredients we mentioned before (vitamin c, retinol, tranexamic acid, kojic acid)—can significantly speed up the process and help fade dark spots even faster.

How long do you leave baking soda and lemon on your skin? ›

Start off by mixing 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Next, moisten a cotton ball with the mixture and apply directly to your face in a gentle circular motion and leave on the skin for 15-20 minutes.. Once you've covered your face, remove with lukewarm water.

Does baking soda lighten face? ›

Baking soda does not have any direct skin whitening effect. But, it does a lot of other things to keep the skin bright and beautiful. It exfoliates dead cells, unclogs pores, keeps bacterial infections away, removes blemishes which all together gives a skin whitening effect.

How long should I bake my face? ›

Baking your makeup is the act of applying a setting or translucent powder to areas of the face that tend to crease over time. After applying the powder, you let it bake for 5-10 minutes and then dust off the remaining product for a flawless finish that lasts all day.

How does baking affect your brain? ›

Baking can work to stimulate the four components of brain health as defined by the National Institute on Aging: Cognitive health: The ability to clearly think, learn, and remember. Motor function: How well we make and control movements. Emotional function: How well we interpret and respond to emotions.

Why put baking soda under your eyes? ›

"Baking soda can help remove excess oil from the skin, which may contribute to prominent pores and shine," says Zeichner. "Any real benefits for undereye bags will likely be only modest." Sorry, guys: It looks like you're better off skipping the natural recipes and sticking to tried-and-true eye creams.


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