Baking soda

Natural beauty lovers get ready to grab a box of baking soda and stash it in the medicine cabinet. If you haven’t already heard, or tried it, plain baking soda can do a lot of multitasking in your beauty routine. It makes a great alternative shampoo and can remove product buildup in your hair when used regularly. It also softens skin and whitens teeth. Now you can add one more item to baking soda’s beauty repertoire. You can use baking soda—straight out of the box—to exfoliate and refresh your skin.

Many conventional facial exfoliants and scrubs contain harsh chemicals that literally burn away a layer of skin, which can leave your face feeling irritated and raw. Unlike these harsh exfoliating scrubs, baking soda naturally—and gently—exfoliates skin. It provides the right balance of coarse and soft that you want from an exfoliant. As a fine powder it won’t leave your skin red and irritated, yet it offers enough scrubbing action to slough away dead skin cells.

Why exfoliate at all?

For those beauties who are new to exfoliation, exfoliating removes the top layers of dead skin cells to reveal the fresh skin beneath. It keeps your skin looking glowy and smooth. You’ll need to let your skin type dictate how often you exfoliate. Most skin types—dry, oily and combination skin—can benefit from exfoliating one to two times per week. For those with sensitive or acne-prone skin, you may want to cut exfoliating to once or twice a month as it can aggravate your skin. However, some testimonials claim that baking soda actually helps clear up acne also. How often you exfoliate really just depends on how your skin reacts to the exfoliation treatment.

How to exfoliate with baking soda

Your choice! When exfoliating with baking soda you have a couple of options. You can add about a teaspoon of baking soda to your usual facial cleanser, massage it into your skin and rinse like normal. Or, you can use baking soda on its own. Pour a small amount of baking soda into the palm of your hand, add a bit of water, and then gently rub the mixture into your face and rinse.

Be careful around your eyes as the baking soda can sting if it gets in them. Remember to always go easy. Rough scrubbing, especially when exfoliating, won’t do your delicate facial skin any favors. If your skin feels at all irritated, cut back on the amount of baking soda you use.

You don’t have to just limit baking soda’s exfoliating wonders to your face. Use it to smooth out any other rough patches or dry skin on your body. Simply combine baking soda and just enough water to form a paste. Then, use the mixture and a scrub brush or washcloth to smooth out rough heels, elbows and toes. After you try all of these exfoliating beauty treatments, you might just forget that the stuff is even used for baking.

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image: ecokarenlee