Baking Soda, Pimples, and Blackheads, oh my!

OK, this is a solution we kept getting questions about, so I did a little research, then tried it for myself.

First, here is what I learned:

Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is this stuff that you probably have in your refrigerator.   I’m not saying you should use that particular box on your face, because the baking soda in there is probably old, and since the point of it is to absorb odors, it probably smells (and tastes) like whatever’s in your fridge, but you get the point.

picture of baking soda

What Does Baking Soda Do?

Apparently if you drink it (which sounds kind of weird to me), it kind of acts as a cleanser/ alkalizer for your system.   This could, in theory, help cure your acne from within because it could help clean out whatever toxic stuff in your body that is causing the acne.

Baking Soda and Water:   the formula

I’m sure this goes without saying, but I AM NOT A DOCTOR, so this is not medical advice.   Do whatever is going to be best for your personal health, and check with your doctor if you have a medical condition, ok?

With all that said, it says right on the box that you can drink baking soda in water to relieve heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach, and upset stomach.   Here are the directions:

Add ½ teaspoon to ½ glass (4 oz) of water and drink up to every 2 hours, or as directed by a physician. Dissolve completely in water.

It also says:

— Do not take more than the following amounts in 24 hours:   seven ½ tablespoons, or three ½ tablespoons if you are over 60 years old.

— Do not take the maximum dosage for more than two weeks.

That’s if you’re using it to treat an upset stomach, so you’re probably not going to need that much.     I asked a nutritionist, and she said “ ½ teaspoon in water, twice a day,” so that sounds much more manageable.   It does taste a little gross (kind of bitter and salty), but I have added it to my acne prevention routine.

As for making baking soda into a paste and scrubbing/ washing your face with it, I did try that.   For that one, the measurement is a little bit easier—you basically just put baking soda in your hand, then add water to it until it makes a paste.

Fun fact: it says right there on the box that you can also use this as toothpaste. Who knew?!

Anyway, back to the baking soda face scrub. I made a paste of this and washed my face with it, and lo and behold, several of my pimples were smaller and drier the next day.   I’ve also read that (with long term use) you can use baking soda to fade your acne scars, which I think would only work if your acne scars were the red/ brown kind, not the kind that are “ice pick” in nature, like indentations or pits. I got the feeling that the baking soda face wash (like, more diluted with water) could work for daily use, but I think the really thick paste (or face mask) would dry my face out too much.   I don’t think this would work as a long-term acne solution if, for instance, you also had dry skin.

However (and this is a big however), I did find that when I used the thicker baking soda paste as an acne spot treatment, it did work to dry up some of my bigger cystic pimples faster. That’s big, because if you have cystic/ nodular acne, you know that 1) they hurt, and 2) it is really hard to find anything external that will really work to dry them up. So, that is definitely a solution I am going to be using in the future.


That’s what I know.   File it under “natural remedies for acne,” I guess?


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