Is baking soda good for seborrheic dermatitis?

I know why you’ve resorted to baking soda. You’ve probably spent way too much on a dozen face washes with no effect. Your seb derm rash and fungal acne is still giving you grieve and embarassment. You hear people on Reddit and Quora gushing about baking soda and what an amazing home remedy it is for oily skin.

It’s in your pantry, it’s not medication, you eat it all the time. What could go wrong?

A lot.

Due to its alkaline pH, washing your face with baking soda damages your skin’s acid mantle (which is its protective barrier). This allows Malassezia by-products to penetrate deeper into the skin surface and triggers more inflammation.  

That’s not all. Read on to find out about all the bad things baking soda can do to your face.

Can baking soda make seborrheic dermatitis worse?

Not only does baking soda strip away the acidity of your skin, it also distrupts the natural ecosystem of bacteria and fungi. The imbalance can actually lead to more acne breakouts and encourages proliferation of Malassezia, worsening seb derm.

Baking soda acts like a physical exfoliator, which we all know is a big no-no for seb derm. In fact, I don’t recommend physical exfoliators for anyone. Even though it’s found in your pantry, baking soda has the potential to cause lots of damage and dry out your skin, causing rebound oiliness.

If you’re looking for a deeper clean, use this face wash instead (You can read my SS review here):

Niod Sanskrit Saponins 90mlCheck it out on Amazon

Plus, everyone with seb derm has sensitive skin because our skin barrier is already damanged (read more about that here). We react to many things. It’s pretty likely we will react to sodium bicarbonate. Baking soda is notorious for causing redness, burning and rashes even on ‘normal’ skin.

If you were thinking of using baking soda for dandruff, think again. Your scalp is basically ‘skin with hair’. Baking soda can cause the same damage to your scalp barrier, worsen dandruff and damage hair.

So, is there any reason to use baking soda at all?

Does baking soda have anti-fungal properties?

Baking soda is actually proven to have antifungal activity against a wide range of fungi. It’s used as a natural home remedy for superficial infections like onychomycosis (nail fungal infection) and plant fungus.

Despite its proven antifungal activity, due to the other damage that it can cause, I would say baking soda is still a definite no-no for seb derm.

Use a good antifungal cream instead:

(5 pack) Globe Clotrimazole Antifungal Cream 1% (1 oz) Relieves the itching, burning, cracking and scaling associated with fungal infections | Compare to the Name Brand Active IngredientCheck it out on Amazon

If you’ve just bought a pound of baking soda and now am trying desperately to find a use for it, all is not lost. There are still a number of ways you can use baking soda on your skin.

Skin benefits of baking soda

Baking soda is a natural antiseptic and may help reduce the bacteria that cause acne. Instead of using benzyl peroxide or other store-bought acne creams, you can make a thick paste with baking soda and apply it as spot-treatment. It does wonders for drying out that pesky pimple.

Prescribed For Life, Natural Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda) Powder, 1 Lb PouchCheck it out on Amazon

If you have seb derm on your body (besides your face and scalp), you can try to take a baking soda bath to relieve the itch. For added benefit, add some oatmeal to the bath. The National Eczema Association recommends adding a quarter cup of baking soda to a warm bath and soaking for 10 to 15 minutes. Just make sure you moisturize after as baking soda can dry out your skin.

If your nails are affected by fungus, you can soak them in baking soda and water to help clear the infection.

You can also use baking soda as spot-treatment for:

  • mosquito bites
  • bee stings
  • poison ivy

Baking soda can neutralize the toxins and soothe all of these ailments.

And you can use baking soda to do lots and lots of baking.

See, baking soda isn’t all bad. I don’t hate baking soda. It has lots of uses. I just don’t recommend it as a treatment for seborrheic dermatitis.

Check out my Ultimate Guide to Seborrheic Dermatitis Treatment for a full list of effective seb derm remedies.

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