PSA: Baking Soda Again (Don’t Use It)

Do Not Use Baking Soda on Your Face

Monthly favorites will be rescheduled – thanks for bearing with me. Meanwhile, I’ve been seeing a resurgence of some bad beauty advice.

Ostensibly in an effort to reduce exposure to chemicals, the sources promoting, “natural,” beauty are back to promoting using baking soda as a skincare and exfoliation agent again. Stop! You’re causing more harm than help.

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Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA

Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHAAlpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA, $15

Alpha Hydrox 10% AHA Lotion used to be a staple of mine, but I discontinued use because it felt greasy and gross to me. Time passed and I experimented with skincare, and I found that my skin likes a mix of physical and chemical exfoliation. During our break, Alpha Hydrox rebanded to Alpha Skin; new logos and packaging, new (higher) price tags. Little did I know, they sold the gel I now use, Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA, before. If I only knew!

Applying

Retailing at $15 for 1.7 fl oz, the Alpha Skin Essential Renewal Gel 10% AHA is a thin, clear gel that housed in a short squeeze-tube. When I use the product, I apply a pencil-eraser-sized dollop to clean skin in circular motions with my fingertips. It isn’t remotely greasy – I give it two minutes to absorb, then apply 2-3 drops of argan oil. I apply before bed and have glowing, smooth skin in the morning.

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Cleanser Update – February 2017 – CeraVe Foaming

I’ve talked about my unexpected transition from reasonably problem-free to annoying skin. Turns out, what I’ve experienced isn’t uncommon; skin changes are fairly routine in one’s mid-twenties. Curious? Do a google search for adult onset acne and you’ll be given a wealth of results.

It’s frustrating, but I feel for the first time in a while that I’ve got the upper hand on it. It’s fairly controlled. I still get an uncomfortable cystic blemish (hard to deal with!) or errant, hard plug in a pore (easy to deal with) from time-to-time, but my skin isn’t having a panic attack.

 

CeraVe Foaming Facial CleanserCeraVe Foaming Cleanser ($9)

Since I last shared my Arsenal in June 2016, I’ve made one major change – switching my cleanser to one with better-suited pH.

Micellar water is still my main squeeze for makeup removal and light cleansing (like in the morning after a good cleanse the night before). I interchangeably use Garnier’s Skinactive Micellar Cleansing Water and Simple’s Micellar Cleansing Water with no discernible difference in my skin.

I’ve switched back to CeraVe Foaming Cleanser ($9), which is priced similarly to Cetaphil. I tried it briefly a couple years ago and ultimately dismissed it. This time around, I’m surprised to find that I’m liking it. Although it has the same pH as Philosophy’s Purity ($24, 80z) cleanser, my skin seems to prefer it. Considering the price difference between the two, I’ll take it!

pH Matters

Cetaphil may well be gentle, but its pH is slightly higher than the pH of skin (between 4.5 and 6.2). At 6.5-6.7, which of course changes with the pH of your water, it is already close to neutral. In the long run, skin responds better to an acidic cleanser; it helps preserve the integrity of the skin’s acid mantle. Maintaining your acid mantle is important; in short, it’s your body’s first defense against bacteria and other contaminants that could be introduced to your body via your skin.

Inadvertently, I may have been compromising my acid mantle by using a nearly-neutral cleanser. My water tends to run somewhat alkaline, and since I rent, I can’t install any systems to correct for that. Since I’ve made the change to CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser in early December, my skin has stabilized.

I may eventually find that something more acidic than 5.5 is better for my needs, but I’m satisfied with my new normal for now.

Do NOT use Baking Soda on your Face

Do Not Use Baking Soda on Your FaceThis is a household cleaner – NOT a beauty product.
Do not use baking soda on your face!

Many moons ago, before I bothered to look at the ingredients of products or or bothered to learn how they worked before slapping them onto my face without abandon, I was guilty of a major beauty no-no (to be childish about it, anyway). Sometimes, if I was out of the also-not-ideal very popular apricot scrub, I’d reach in my cabinet for a fine white substance that serves multiple household purposes. It can deodorize. It can clean bathrooms (including toilets), kitchens. It can help refresh your carpet. The fine grit of baking soda on your face will deliver a satisfying exfoliation, whisking away pesky dead skin…right?

Technically, sure. It will remove dead skin. But that doesn’t mean that you should be using baking soda on your face!

It’s cheap – less than a dollar a box – and does more than just scrub your skin! It’s fragrance- and dye-free…and therefore (supposedly) non-irritant! The grit is not jagged and harsh like walnut shells. It has to be fine, right?

Wrong. No, you aren’t making tiny cuts in your skin, but you are tampering with the pH of your skin in a big way and are positioning yourself to cause more harm than help.

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