The Natural Exfoliant Hiding in Your Kitchen

Shannon R., SELF magazine

You may be surprised to learn about a super-affordable and effective DIY exfoliant that you probably already have in your kitchen. Baking soda isn't just for cooking and disinfecting, it's a gentle and natural way to exfoliate! Here's what you need to know about incorporating this pantry staple into your cleansing routine.

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The Benefits Of Baking Soda

I think most of us know by now that exfoliation is an essential part of a good skin care routine. Exfoliating helps to scrub away dead skin cells to reveal the younger, healthier skin underneath. This becomes especially important as we age since skin is slower to slough off on its own.

Baking soda (aka sodium bicarbonate) is a physical exfoliant (like beads you would find in facial scrubs), and what makes it especially effective is that it is a fine, yet hard powder, making it highly effective at removing dead skin cells without causing excessive irritation.

There is also some evidence that baking soda may be beneficial in treating acne since just the exfoliating properties of baking soda alone lead to increased skin cell turnover making your acne look less noticeable. Plus, baking soda's neutralizing properties may reduce redness of the skin also reducing the appearance of acne.

What's the best way to use baking soda?

To reap the benefits of exfoliating with baking soda, add a teaspoon of the powder to your facial cleanser, mix well, and massage into skin like you would with a store-bought facial scrub. Do this 2-3 times a week or as per your regular exfoliation routine. If you notice that your skin is red or irritated afterwards, try putting in less baking soda or exfoliating less frequently. Remember that while exfoliating is important, over scrubbing can lead to irritation!

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If you want to try baking soda as an acne treatment, I would try using one teaspoon of it in your cleanser at night to exfoliate your skin, as well as making a thicker paste of just baking soda and water and applying it directly to the acne as a mask for about 5-10 minutes (or until it dries).

Bottom Line

All signs point to baking soda being an excellent and cheap physical exfoliant that will also be gentle to your skin. Additionally, baking soda may be useful in treating acne when made into a paste and applied to the affected areas (although there is not as much scientific evidence to back that up). Either way, baking soda is a great DIY option that can leave skin glowing!

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