How to Use Baking Soda to Treat Acne Scars and Breakouts

Baking Soda for acne

Acne breakouts come with significant aesthetic concern and discomfort to the sufferer. I have personally been there when severe breakouts make you somewhat self-conscious. Although there are many commercial products out there that promise to get rid of acne lesions and clear the skin, they are usually costly and don’t always live to their promise especially given the fact that acne is a multifactorial condition. Baking soda acne treatment is one cheaper option that you may want to try before going on to the commercial treatments.

Baking Soda Acne Treatment – How it Works

Otherwise known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda has a whole lot of uses in as far as personal hygiene and skin care.

From home-made deodorant and shampoo to skin exfoliation, teeth whitening and removal of chlorine from the hair, this white powder comes in handy in a myriad of ways.

It is that simple magical ingredient in the kitchen that simply doesn’t stop giving.

The concept of baking soda acne treatment is however relatively newer. Before delving into it, however, let us first start by briefly highlighting the process involved in acne breakouts.

How Acne Forms

In a nutshell, acne lesions (blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, nodules, papules, or pimples) develop when sebum (skin oil) mix with dead skin cells and the normally harmless skin bacteria inside the pores.

When these elements clump together, they cause clogging of hair follicles that culminate in the swelling that we commonly refer to as a pimple. The tissue around the affected hair follicle usually gets inflamed, resulting in the reddening of the surrounding area of skin.

Once the acne breakout has healed, you may still be left with scars and dark spots or blemishes.

Although most scars fade away given time, most people are concerned about their aesthetic effect on the skin and would readily try any home remedy that promises to fade them faster.

Does Baking Soda Help Acne Spots (pimples) And Scars?

Many people will vouch for the power of baking soda for acne treatment. This coupled with the ease of use and the cost-effectiveness of this home remedy makes it an attractive alternative for expensive medical treatments.

As a gentle household ingredient, baking soda can safely be applied to the face. In addition to curing or getting rid of face acne, you can also use baking soda for back acne. The acne healing properties of baking soda hinge upon the following characteristics:

1. Baking Soda Helps With Skin pH balancing

PH balance is touted to constitute a small part of baking soda acne treatment. Baking soda is amphoteric in nature and can thus act as both an acid and a base (alkaline) depending on the prevailing conditions. This makes it effective at neutralizing the pH of the skin.  PH imbalance on the skin is touted to be a potential factor for acne.

2. Baking Soda Soaks the Oil in the Skin

Excess oil in the skin usually plays a role in acne breakouts. When applied topically to the skin, baking soda helps to soak up the oil and dry the skin, which in turn helps to not only get rid of existing acne whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, etc. but also prevent new acne flare-ups. Baking soda is particularly good for people with oily skin.

3. Baking Soda Has Mild Anti-inflammatory and Antibacterial Properties

The mild anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties in sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) also come in handy in fighting the bacterial infection and tissue inflammation (hence the swelling and the red spots or pimples) associated with acne breakouts.

4. Baking Soda Helps with Face Exfoliation

Exfoliation constitutes an important part of acne treatment and prevention. Baking soda is comprised of gritty, rounded particles which make it a mild exfoliant.

When applied on the skin as a paste, it helps to open skin pores and increase the turnaround of the dead skin cells, dirt, and oils constituting the plugs in the hair follicles that manifest in acne pimples, cysts etc. This exfoliating ability forms an important part of baking soda acne treatment.

As for scars, applying a paste of baking soda regularly can help to scrape the scar tissue away gently over time, layer by layer, and progressively make the scar fade away.

Baking Soda Cystic Acne Healing

You are now probably wondering, “Does baking soda help with cystic acne?”

Well, the information and reviews existing online seem to support the use of baking soda for cystic acne (or nodulocystic acne) even though scientific study on the subject is still inadequate.

The anti-inflammatory properties will first of all help to soothe the inflamed tissues in the area surrounding the acne cysts.

Next, the exfoliating action of the soda will help to unclog the pores and hence increase dead skin cells turnaround as well as the expulsion of dirt and excess skin oil (sebum) comprising the cystic zits.

For particularly severe acne cysts (or zits), you will want to use combination baking soda home remedies. Honey, lemon, and aloe vera make for particularly good options. All these are discussed in previous sections.

Keep in mind however that baking soda acne cyst treatment with these home and natural remedies may take relatively longer compared to blackheads and whiteheads. So don’t expect overnight results.

How to Use Baking Soda for Acne Scars and Spots (Pimples)

Before going into the exact ways in which you can use baking soda to get rid of acne scars and pimples, it is important to highlight a few best practices that will help you get the most out of this natural remedy for acne pimples, spots, and scars.

Firstly, baking soda may cause irritation sensitive to some people, particularly those with sensitive skin type, so start by applying it to a small patch to see how your skin or face reacts before applying it to the whole face or over a larger area of skin.

Secondly, baking soda can be pretty drying on the skin and shouldn’t be used too regularly. It is also a good idea to moisturize after using the treatment.

Some skin care experts argue that when used too frequently, baking soda can become counterproductive and actually offset the pH balance further, which may then trigger a bacterial build-up and an even more serious pimples breakout.

In the context all these factors, it is advisable to limit most of the baking soda acne treatment options listed below to no more than 2-3 treatment sessions a week.

Below are some of the ways in which you can use baking soda for acne pimples and scars.

1. Adding Baking Soda to your Cleanser

If you have an oily skin that is prone to acne breakouts, adding some baking soda to your normal cleanser can increase its effectiveness at getting rid of the excess oil and help clear those acne blemishes and post-acne marks. Here is how to go about it:

  1. Pour a generous amount of your normal facial cleanser into the palm of your hands
  2. Scoop ½ a teaspoon of baking soda and add it to the cleanser
  3. Mix the two ingredients thoroughly in your hands and then apply it to your face in gentle circular motions for 30 seconds or so. Pay close attention to areas that are particularly oily and those that have particularly noticeable acne scars or pimples.
  4. After about a minute, wash the mixture off with water and then finish off by applying a moisturizer. This is very important as the treatment can leave your skin very dry.
  5. Repeat the process daily if you have oily skin and every second or third day if you have normal or dry skin.

2. Baking Soda Spot Treatment

The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of baking soda make it a particularly well-suited remedy for spot treatment. This is an especially great option for those with sensitive skin since it enables them to avoid contact with the other parts of the face. The treatment may not only help reduce the inflammation but also help a pimple or cyst to come to a head.

Baking Soda and Water Spot Treatment

Here is a guideline on how to get rid of acne with baking soda and water paste:

  1. Mix baking soda and water in equal proportions (say 1 tablespoon to 1 tablespoon) to form a fine paste.
  2. Clean your face thoroughly with a gentle facial cleanser and then pat it dry before applying the paste to any pimples, cysts, or scars on your face in gentle circular motions.
  3. Allow the spot treatment to continue for 15-20 minutes and then wash the paste off with cool water.
  4. Finish off by applying a moisturizer to curb the drying effect of baking soda

Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda Acne Spots Treatment

Hydrogen peroxide is a commonly used as an acne remedy thanks to its bacteria-fighting properties. Although hydrogen peroxide is usually effective on its own, if used properly, its effectiveness for pimples can be increased tremendously by using it in combination with baking soda as explained below:

  1. To a small bowl, add a tablespoon or two of baking soda.
  2. Add a tablespoon of baking soda and mix the two ingredients until foaming stops.
  3. Apply the resulting paste to the area of the skin affected by acne pimples, spots, or scars and scrub it gently for 3-5 minutes.
  4. Wash the paste off with water and pat the skin dry with a towel.
  5. Finally, apply a moisturizer the treatment can make your skin pretty dry.
  6. Repeat this treatment 2 to 3 times a week for best results.

Olive Oil and Baking Soda Acne Treatment

With its powerful skin soothing, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and moisturizing properties, olive oil helps to heal acne scars and spots with the added benefit of rejuvenating your skin, leaving it well toned and healthy-looking.

You will, however, want to use alongside baking soda for an even richer exfoliation, anti-inflammatory, and scar lightening action.

To use this home treatment, follow the following steps:

  1. Into a small bowl, pour a tablespoonful each of baking soda and olive oil.
  2. Mix the mixture thoroughly until well blended.
  3. Apply the resulting paste on the parts of the skin affected by acne pimples or scars and massage gently in circular motions.
  4. Wash the area with warm water 5 to 10 minutes down the line.
  5. Follow up with the treatment regularly, preferably, 3 times each week and those ugly acne scars and spots will soon lighten and fade away.


  • Mix baking soda and water in equal proportions and stir them well to form a fine paste. Apply the paste in areas of the skin affected by spots and scars and then wash it off after 5-10 minutes. Now apply a generous amount of olive oil and leave it on overnight. Wash it off the next morning with warm water. Repeat the process 2-3 times per week.

Baking soda and Baking Powder Overnight Treatment for Acne Spots and Scars

Some skin care experts suggest using a combination of baking powder and baking soda for an even more powerful acne treating action. To use this home remedy to cure acne spots, follow the steps listed below:

  1. Mix 3 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of baking powder.
  2. Add enough water to make a fine paste
  3. Work the paste through the areas of your face (or any other part of the body) affected by the breakout and leave it on overnight.
  4. Wash the paste off the next morning using lukewarm water
  5. Use this remedy regularly and those spots will soon fade away.

Baking Soda and Apple Cider Vinegar Remedy for Spots and Pimples

Baking soda and apple cider vinegar are both effective natural remedies for acne lesions and scars. When used together they constitute an even more powerful treatment regimen.

An exception, however, holds for this particular remedy: we are not using these two ingredients in combination here as is the case with some of the remedies already outlined in this article. Instead, you will have to use baking soda on the first day and follow it up with olive oil treatment the next day as explained below:

  1. Mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with one tablespoon of water and stir to make a fine paste
  2. Work it through any spot or scar affected area of your skin and allow it time to dry naturally before rinsing it out with water
  3. On the next day, dip a clean washcloth in apple cider vinegar and dab it on the treatment areas. For sensitive skin, add a little water to the vinegar to dilute it.
  4. After 15 minutes (or so), wash off the apple cider vinegar with water.
  5. Repeat the whole process regularly until you have achieved the desired results.

3. Baking Soda Mask for Acne Scars and Spots

If your skin is not particularly sensitive, then you may want to push you baking soda acne treatment a little further by using it as a face mask, either alone or in combination with other home remedies, as explained below. A face mask will help you to not only get rid of acne pimples and scars but also reap from the exfoliating, skin softening, and other benefits of the soda for the whole skin.

Among the most effective baking soda acne masks are:

Baking soda and Water Face Mask for Acne

This is arguably the easiest mask recipe for baking soda in as far as scars, pimples, and spots treatment is concerned, but do not underestimate its power.

  1. Add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to 2 tablespoons of water and stir thoroughly until you get a paste with fine consistency.
  2. Apply the paste all over your face in gentle circular motions and allow it to stay on for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it off with warm water.
  3. Finally, pat your face dry with a towel and finish by applying a light, water-based moisturizer.
  4. Repeat 2 to 3 times a week till pimples get treated and fade away.

NB: You may notice a slight sting during the treatment (due to open pimples) or redness immediately after the treatment. This will clear in just a while.

Baking soda and Lemon Juice Face Mask

This comes at the top of the list of baking soda home remedies for acne. Thanks to the citric acid in it, lemon juice has a skin-oil drying, exfoliating and dirt cleansing ability that when combined with the healing properties of baking soda highlighted in the above section makes for an excellent combination.

It also has natural skin lightening properties that make it very good for blackheads and dark spots. Here is how to use lemon juice and baking soda for acne treatment:

  1. In a small basin, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda followed by 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.
  2. Apply it all over your face in gentle circular motions and leave it on for 10 minutes before washing it off with cool water.
  3. Pat your face dry with a clean towel or cloth and then apply a good, water-based moisturizer to protect your skin from excessive drying.
  4. Repeat the process every two to three days and those acne scars will soon fade away and your skin will be lighter (Say hello to those dark spots that plague me if you see them).

Baking Soda + Cinnamon + Honey Mask for Acne

Honey has strong antibacterial properties and so does cinnamon which makes each one of them a great natural remedy for acne pimples. Couple this with the acne-fighting power of baking soda and you have a perfect blend for baking soda acne treatment.

Here is how to prepare and use a face mask using these ingredients:

  1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with 1 tablespoon of honey and ½ tablespoon of cinnamon. Stir the ingredients well to form a fine paste.
  2. Apply the mixture gently all over your cleansed face.
  3. Allow the mask to work in the spots and scars for 15-20 minutes and then wash it off with water.
  4. Pat your face dry and then moisturize it.
  5. Repeat the process 2 times each week and you will soon cure those frustrating blackheads, whiteheads or cysts.

Baking soda + Tea Tree Oil + Lemon Face Mask for acne

Tea tree oil has both mild antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties just like baking soda. Tea tree oil also helps to soak up the excess sebum from the skin and together these the two together is a very effective natural remedy for acne.

  1. In a small basin or bowl, add 1 teaspoon of baking soda followed by a ½ teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice, 3 drops of tea tree oil, and 1 teaspoon of water.
  2. Stir the mixture well to make a fine paste and then work it through your face gently.
  3. Allow the mask 10-15 minutes to fight the pimples, cysts, and spots and then wash it off with warm water.
  4. Pat the face dry with a clean towel and finish off by applying a moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated.
  5. Use this natural remedy 2-3 times a week and those spots and scars will fade away significantly after a period of use.

Baking Soda and Aloe vera Acne Mask

Aloe vera, both in the form of fresh gel from a leaf or commercial gel products that are available from health food stores (provided it doesn’t have a load of additives), has strong acne healing capabilities.

This is derived from its soothing, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory which then makes it effective in not only reducing the redness and swelling associated with acne pimples and cystic lesions but also speed up the healing process and minimize the risk of scarring.

Although aloe vera is usually effective when used alone, you will want to increase it even further by using it in combination with baking soda. Here are the steps you will need to prepare and use an aloe vera-baking soda acne mask:

  1. Add a tablespoon of baking soda to a small bowl or basin
  2. Snip an aloe vera leaf and squeeze a generous amount of the gel into the bowl. A commercial aloe vera gel without additives will do just as fine if you don’t have an aloe vera plant in your garden.
  3. Mix the mixtures until well blended into a paste with fine consistency.
  4. Apply the mixture to the affected areas of the skin. If you want you can as well apply it to the whole face as a mask since this treatment is very gentle on your skin.
  5. Finish off by washing the paste of the skin with water.
  6. Repeat the process 3 times a week and your face will soon be scar-free and be beaming with health.

A baking soda and aloe vera paste not only heals and soothe acne-inflicted and acne-prone skin but also leaves the skin hydrated and rejuvenated.

4. Baking Soda Bath for Chest and Back Acne

As we have already mentioned, baking soda works for not only facial acne but also back and chest acne and acne scars. Below is a guideline on how to use baking soda for back acne:

  1. Pour ½ a cup of baking soda into a bathtub filled with warm water. Stir with your hand thoroughly to mix the two ingredients.
  2. Get into the tub and relax for 15-20 minutes. You may enjoy reading your favorite book as this remedy works its magic on your skin.
  3. After 15-20 minutes of soda bath, jump into the shower to rinse the mixture off of your skin.
  4. Finally, moisturize your skin by applying an oil-free moisturizer of your choice.
  5. Repeat the treatment 2-3 times each week until you have achieved the desired results.

This remedy will not only help to cure acne pimples and spots and clear the scars, but also prevent future breakouts on the back, chest, and other acne-prone areas of your skin.

How to Use Baking Soda for Baby Acne

The problem of acne flare-ups is not a preserve for just teenagers and adults. Babies also suffer from acne. Baby acne is linked to hormonal imbalances and typically affects the forehead, cheeks, chin, neck, and chest area.

Although baby acne clears away on its own in most cases, baking soda can safely be used to speed up the healing process. Here is how to use baking soda for baby acne treatment:

  • To one teaspoon of baking soda, add 2 teaspoons of clean water and mix thoroughly to form a fine paste. Apply it to the areas around your baby’s skin affected by the breakout. Wash it off after 10 minutes using warm water. Pat the face dry with a clean towel and then apply a mild baby moisturizer that is free of oil.

Baking Soda Acne Treatment Before and After Pictures

As is the norm, let us wind up this article with pictures depicting some real-world results from people that have tried using baking soda for acne treatment. This before and after pictures will hopefully help you decide if this treatment option is for you.

baking soda acne before and after picture 1

Baking soda acne treatment is not only effective but is also cost-effective and used all natural products as opposed to harsh chemical treatment options. You may thus want to try it before moving on to the more expensive over-the-counter and prescription treatments. As always feel free to share your thoughts or ask a question below.