There is one ingredient in nearly every kitchen cupboard that can do wonders for your hair, skin and body. This inexpensive, multitasking item is nothing but baking soda! In fact, baking soda can help you look your best from head to toe.
Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, a natural substance that is crystalline but often appears as a fine powder. This alkaline substance has antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also a powerful medical tool effective at combating everything from colds to oral problems to skin issues.
Baking soda is effective when used for short periods. However, excessive use can damage your skin and hair. Also, you should do a patch test to determine whether your skin is sensitive to it.
1. Fights Acne and Pimples
To get rid of acne or pimples, you do not need harsh chemicals. Baking soda will do the work easily. The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of this kitchen staple helps treat the cause as well as reduce the symptoms of acne and other breakouts.
In addition, it helps balance the skin’s pH, which helps reduce the occurrence of skin breakouts.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of baking soda with a little water to make a paste.
- Apply it on the affected skin for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Rinse it off with cold water.
- Repeat once daily for 2 or 3 days, then reduce the frequency to 1 or 2 times a week.
2. Brightens Yellow Teeth
Baking soda is excellent for making your pearly whites shine. It works as a mild abrasive to remove yellow stains from your teeth. In addition, it helps remove plaque by neutralizing acids produced by the bacteria.
- You can simply put a little baking soda on your toothbrush along with your regular toothpaste. Brush your teeth as usual for 2 minutes. Do it once daily for a few days.
- Alternatively, prepare a homemade teeth whitener with 4 tablespoons of turmeric root powder, 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 3 tablespoons of extra-virgin coconut oil. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly. Use a small amount of this paste to brush your teeth once daily for a few days.
Note: Avoid excess use of baking soda as it can strip your teeth of its natural, protective enamel.
3. Relieves Sunburn and Sunburn Blisters
During the summer, keep a box of baking soda handy. Due to its alkaline nature, baking soda has a soothing affect on sunburned skin, which helps relieve the itching and burning sensations. It also has mild antiseptic and drying properties that help dry out sunburn blisters quickly.
- Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of cold water. Soak a clean washcloth in this solution, wring out the excess water and apply it as a cool compress on the affected area for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times a day until you get relief.
- Alternatively, add ½ cup of baking soda to a bathtub filled with water. Stir well and soak yourself in this water for 10 to 15 minutes. After getting out of the bath, pat dry or allow your body to air dry. Do this once daily for a few days.
4. Improves Skin Complexion
Uneven skin tone is a major problem for many. If you want a brighter and even skin tone, baking soda is an easy and inexpensive solution.
It is a good exfoliating agent that helps remove dead cells. In addition, it balances pH level of the skin, which is very important to maintain even and clear skin.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda with enough filtered water or rose water to make a paste. Apply the paste on your face. Allow it to sit for 1 minute, then gently rub it off using only the tips of your fingers. Finally, wash with lukewarm water and pat dry to reveal brighter skin. Follow this remedy 1 or 2 times a week only. Make sure to moisturize your skin after using baking soda.
- Alternatively, mix 1 tablespoon each of baking soda and fresh lemon juice along with 4 or 5 drops of extra-virgin olive oil. Apply this paste on your face. Leave it on for 5 minutes, then rinse it off with cold water. Repeat 2 or 3 times a week.
5. Treats Stained or Yellow Nails
Stained nails can be unsightly, but baking soda can whiten your nails so you do not have to hide them in your pockets or gloves.
Its bleaching and exfoliating properties help remove stains.
- Put ½ cup of water, 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of baking soda in a small bowl. Stir well, until the baking soda dissolves. Dip your nails into the solution for 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat once every two weeks.
- Alternatively, mix 2½ tablespoons of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide to make a paste. Use a cotton swab to apply it on your nails. Wait 2 minutes before rinsing your nails with warm water. For best results, repeat once every 2 months.
6. Treats Body Odor
Baking soda is one of the best natural deodorizers that help treat mild to severe body odor. It helps absorb moisture and sweat from the skin, thereby reducing body odor. Being an antibacterial agent, it also helps kill bacteria that give rise to body odor.
- Combine ⅛ teaspoon of baking soda, 1 tablespoon of water and a few drops of any essential oil. Use a cotton ball to rub it on your underarms or areas where you sweat excessively. Use it regularly to fight body odor.
- Alternatively, thoroughly mix equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch. Dust this powder onto your dry underarms to prevent sweating as well as bad odor.
7. Treats Smelly and Oily Hair
Smelly hair is a very embarrassing problem, and people with oily hair are more prone to this condition. Oily hair picks up environmental pollutants and strong smells more readily.
Baking soda can easily fix this problem because it helps reduce oiliness and also neutralizes foul odors. In addition, its alkaline nature balances the pH level of the scalp to keep it clean and healthy.
- Mix 1 part baking soda with 3 parts water. Apply it on your damp hair, wait 5 minutes and then rinse your hair. Repeat once or twice a month.
- Alternatively, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to your regular shampoo bottle and use it to wash your hair 1 or 2 times a week.
- You can also use baking soda as a dry shampoo. Thoroughly mix equal amounts of baking soda and cornstarch. Sprinkle a small amount at the roots of your hair and tousle your hair around. Brush your hair thoroughly with a good quality brush and you will be impressed with the result.
8. Removes Dandruff
Dandruff is difficult to get rid of, especially during the winter months, but not impossible. With proper and regular hair care, you can eliminate dandruff easily.
Baking soda can help banish those annoying white flakes on your scalp and hair. It clarifies the scalp and helps clear off flakes. In addition, as baking soda is alkaline, it helps bring the pH balance of the scalp to a healthy equilibrium.
- Rub 1 tablespoon of baking soda onto your wet hair and scalp. Wait for a minute, then rinse it out thoroughly with water. Do this once a week only.
- Alternatively, mix freshly squeezed juice of 1 lemon with 1 teaspoon of baking soda. Apply it to your scalp, allow it to sit for 2 to 3 minutes and then rinse your hair with water. Follow this remedy once a week only to keep your scalp free from dandruff.
9. Heals Skin Rashes and Itchiness
Skin rashes and itchiness can cause a lot of discomfort. You can treat these problems with baking soda. It has a soothing effect on the skin due to its anti-inflammatory properties that also help reduce inflammation, itching and swelling.
- For localized itching, mix 1 part water with 3 parts baking soda. Apply the paste on the affected area. Allow it to sit for a couple of minutes, then rinse it off with cool water. Use this treatment once daily, until the condition improves.
- If you have itching all over your body, add 1 cup of baking soda to a bathtub of cool water and soak in it for 10 minutes a day.
Note: Avoid using baking soda if the skin is broken or too irritated by constant scratching.
10. Treats Nail Fungus
Nail fungus can make your nails look ugly and cause many discomforts. It is an infection that occurs when fungi start growing under the nails.
This results in crusty, thick, discolored and distorted nails. The alkaline nature of baking soda prevents the growth of fungi.
- Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda in 1 cup of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Soak the affected toenails or fingernails in this solution for 5 minutes. Pat dry your nails with paper towels. Do this twice a day.
- Alternatively, make a paste of 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda mixed with warm water. Apply it on your affected nails for a few minutes, then rinse it off with warm water. Repeat once daily.
Follow these remedies for several weeks.