There are several reasons why you shouldn’t use baking soda on your face. It includes:

Too simple
Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is often used to relieve heartburn because it is a key chemical that helps neutralize acidity. It can also happen to the skin. Dermatologists sometimes use baking soda to neutralize chemical peels in the office, but it’s generally too simple to wash off, especially if used regularly.

Healthy skin is slightly acidic. This acid mantle helps create a protective barrier, which is important for overall skin health. Washing with baking soda removes the skin’s protective oil barrier, alters its pH, and kills the natural bacteria on the surface that prevent infections and breakouts. This will make your skin prone to infection and inflammation.

Although it is generally harmless, baking soda can irritate the skin. Most people don’t know they’re sensitive to baking soda until they apply it directly to their skin. It has been known to cause underarm rashes, redness, and burning in some people when using homemade or natural deodorants.

If you have a reaction to baking soda, avoid baking soda products and use an unscented moisturizer until the irritation subsides.

Super exfoliating
The right exfoliator can even out skin tone and make skin look better, but it’s easy to get too much of a good thing. Excessive exfoliation can cause redness, rashes, burns, and dryness. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends allowing plenty of time between exfoliation treatments to prevent irritation if you have sensitive skin.

Like a salt or sugar scrub, baking soda acts as a physical exfoliator when it’s not completely dissolved in a paste or water. Exfoliators can be helpful, but don’t exfoliate day and night like washing with baking soda.

What to use instead
Depending on your skin type, the best skin products will depend on you. It may take some experimentation, but eventually you’ll find a face wash that suits your needs.

Dry or sensitive skin
If your skin is easily irritated or dry all the time, look for a glycerin-based bar or cleanser. They help protect the skin’s barrier and don’t strip the skin of its natural moisturizing oils. Facial cleansers labeled “detergent-free” can be beneficial because they’re less likely to strip your skin of essential oils.

Oily skin
Foam is your friend. A foaming cleanser will help remove excess oil from the skin.

Acne prone skin
Acne-prone skin can be dry, oily, or a combination of the two, which makes choosing a cleanser a little trickier. Medicated cleansers that contain salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or benzoyl peroxide can be helpful, but these ingredients can dry out the skin and cause irritation.

Use a gentle cleanser if you have sensitive or acne-prone skin.

Make-up removal
Proper makeup removal is important to prevent makeup, clogged pores, and even eye infections, but you don’t want to end up with a red face or burn after you’re done.

Oil-based or oil-and-water-based cleansers work best to remove waxy products from makeup. Jojoba oil, coconut oil, and olive oil are great for gently removing makeup. Be careful with products that contain alcohol as they can be drying and irritating.

Skin peeling
Cleansers with glycolic and salicylic acid help remove dead skin and chemically exfoliate your skin. You can also apply it gently using a paintbrush or electric brush. You should apply light pressure between scrubs to give your skin enough time to recover. Over-exfoliating can clog your pores and make irritation and inflammation worse.

Evens skin tone
Exfoliating helps to remove skin pigmentation. Cleansers that contain antioxidants such as vitamins C, E, and B can help reduce redness. Green tea extract and caffeine even skin tone.

Natural face wash
Washing your face properly requires nothing more than plain water and your hands, especially if you don’t have any makeup or skin care products. Oils like olive, jojoba, and coconut can remove makeup and other oil-based products like Aquaphor and Vaseline.

A gentle face wash with a few simple ingredients, like glycerin, can help remove any excess oil after you’re done.

Diluted apple cider vinegar or witch hazel can refresh the face.

The bottom line
Washing your face doesn’t have to be overwhelming or complicated. It can be as simple as washing with a gentle, unscented cleanser that suits your skin type and needs.

Baking soda has its place in nature, but it’s best left on the face.

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