Next time you pull out the baking soda to whip up a cake, take a second look at this ingredient. Not only is it an exfoliating and antiseptic skin treatment — it’s also gentle on irritated cells, and soothes away itchiness and discomfort for those with eczema or a sunburn. Commonly known as sodium bicarbonate, it also gently cleanses for those with oily or acne-prone skin.

Baking soda soaks up oil, has antiseptic properties and helps remove dead skin cells, which means gentle exfoliation. These three elements can work together to keep oil and bacteria from congregating and forming new pimples. A gentle mask is the simplest way to use sodium bicarbonate to ward off pimples and keep skin clear. You can perform this basic routine a few times a week or every other week.

Mix together about 3 tablespoons of baking soda with a couple tablespoons of distilled water to form a thick slurry.

Rinse your face with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. Apply the baking soda mask to your skin, focusing on any areas that tend to get oily. Avoid the eye and lip areas.

Leave the mask in place about 15 minutes to allow the baking soda to soak up any contaminants.

Rinse off your skin thoroughly and pat dry. Follow up with a soothing moisturizer. While this mask helps to keep skin oil-free, it can also dry out sensitive skin or skin that tends to feel dry already. Use this treatment sparingly until you know how it affects your skin.

This mask also encourages skin cell turnover, which helps new, healthy skin cells emerge over many months of regular exfoliation and moisturizing. However, baking soda does not lighten acne scarring or affect the pigmentation of skin cells on contact.

Create a powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory spot treatment for those little pimples that have already set up camp. The power of baking soda and honey soothes problem spots and provides antibacterial support. The honey also helps skin draw moisture from the air for a revitalized, dewy glow.

Combine a teaspoon of baking soda with a teaspoon of honey and mix thoroughly.

Wash your face and pat your skin dry. Dab the treatment on any particular spots that need some cleansing action.

Leave the solution in place for about 15 minutes and rinse off the treatment immediately. Repeat once or twice a week for a quick fix on impending problem areas. Baking soda has been shown to decrease the number of viable bacterial cells when applied topically to the skin.

Sodium bicarbonate isn’t just an antiseptic wunderkind for acne.. This affordable gem can also soothe inflamed or itchy skin. Make up an anti-itch, anti-inflammatory mask by combining the soothing properties of baking soda with the equally softening effects of oatmeal, to protect skin and soothe minor itching effectively.

Measure out 1/4 cup of whole oats and place in a blender. Whir the oats into a powder.

Mix the oat powder with a tablespoon of baking soda. Add a teaspoon of honey and a few tablespoons of water until the ingredients form a loose paste.

Apply the mixture to any reddened or irritated areas and allow it to sit for about 15 minutes. Rinse the mixture off thoroughly, and follow up with a soothing moisturizer.

Tips

Add 1/2 cup of baking soda to a warm bath along with a cup of sea salt for a soothing, full-body remedy.