Does Baking Soda Work For Acne?

Here’s a little something about me you may never glean from reading my posts.

I have acne.

I’ve been told my acne is “adult acne.” Perhaps I should feel better I wasn’t told my acne is “immature”, “sophomoric”, or “could apply itself more”.

The way I see it, adult acne is an oxymoron. A painfully embarrassing and recurring oxymoron. The moment one pimple disappears… a new one takes its place overnight. No matter how you phrase it, it sucks. Nothing can make me feel better about my acne except getting rid of it.

I should go see a dermatologist but the last time I saw a dermatologist about it, he sent me home with antibiotics. Those got rid of the acne while I was taking them, but it came back the moment I stopped. I’m no doctor, but I’m pretty sure no one should take antibotics forever.

Oh, yeah, and I have no insurance. Good luck finding a pro-bono dermatologist. I’ve looked. They don’t exist.

I have tried many things:

Gluten Free diet (effective but expensive and difficult for me to maintain)
Antibiotics (bad for liver. As you may glean from my posts, I need my liver)
Pro-Activ (Too harsh for me)
Tea Tree Oil (ineffective for me)
Harsh chemicals (I’m sorry, the only way harsh chemicals get into my system is through Dorito form)
Benevolent Unicorn that touches its horn to your face and all your skin problems are solved (only Cate Blanchett and Kate Winslet have met this unicorn, and they’re not telling anyone anything)

I got to the point where I’d basically given up. I was resigned to always having this cluster of acne on my chin. I tried to look on the bright side and not let it ruin my life. I counted my blessings. I still have nice eyes. That is, if your gaze isn’t focused like a lazer beam on my chin.

Up here, fellas!

Men, am I right? Oh…and everybody else in the world? Staring at me? Wondering if I also have adult braces to go with this adult acne?

At least that’s the way I felt. Very embarrassed, exposed and unattractive.


Share This Post:
    • Megan

      I love baking soda for pimples!

      I also found that reducing dairy in my diet helped clear my skin a lot. Of course, it’s to the point now that if I eat a sundae, I know perfectly well what my face is in for over the next few days.

    • JT

      I add a little honey to the baking soda mixture. It feels less harsh and smells great!

    • Ellen W.

      I hadn’t thought of that!

      I used to use baking soda to exfoliate but apparently it gives off “free radicals” or something (I read this in a trustworthy science-y place I just don’t remember the details) so it’s not a good idea to spread it all over your face every day. But a spot-treatment wouldn’t have that problem! Yay!

    • Ladybird

      Amazing! I also heard taking a probiotic can help. Has anyone tried that?

      • dalia

        i have tried that yesterday and works good with me i`m (oil skin) but after use it you should do a test (you should put a little of it on your Annex and if you Feel itchy you shouldn`t use it )i hope it works with you

    • Beauty Lover

      I have adult acne . I took antibiotic for more than six or seven months .
      My dermatologist did a blood test to see if my liver is working fine. Still alive I do not take any medications now still suffering from acne. I will try baking soda. Thank you so much.

    • BeccaTheCyborg

      I use baking soda as a scrub 2-3 times a week and my skin has never looked better. I am never going back to buying exfoliants ever again. My monstrous period breakouts are now like one tiny little zit on my chin. That does away in like two days.

    • Kj

      Hi there! 2 rounds of Acutane kinda did it for me.

      Now birth control and avoiding chocolate (tear) and most sugary things seems to keep it at bay. I will try the baking soda fo’ shiz, though!

    • Sarah

      I started taking Spironolact about 6 months ago cause I’ve tried EVERYTHING else except accutane, which I don’t want to do. It’s actually really helped!!! I would look into that, I don’t think it’s too expensive? But it does take a while to build up in your system enough to start working:-) There is just not much else that helps that painful hormonal acne…

    • Jennifer

      Thanks for the spot treatment! I have had success with low dose retin-a, a topical gel, problem is I need to keep using it to continue to see results. Luckily it is relatively cheap and you just use cetaphil to cleanse with.

    • Jane

      I wash my face with salt water. It may be a bit harsh for some, but my face gets super oily.

    • Lauren

      It may not be the cheapest solution, but I recently got a Clarisonic, which is kind of like an electric toothbrush, but for your face, and it has definitely helped my skin. It not only helps with my acne but also with pore size, my skin feels sooo soft, and I can’t believe how much make-up I wasn’t getting off by just washing my face. The cleansers they give you kind of stink, although I haven’t been able to find the acne solution one so I can try it, but they have different brush heads to use depending on how sensitive your skin is, and now my face just doesn’t feel clean without it!

    • Eadon
    • Amber

      Are you me? OMG I have written the exact same things on my (discontinued) blog. Weird – adult acne does make one slightly obsessive, at least in my case. I tried the baking soda. It actually clogged my pores more. My zits got larger, and if I’d pop them, a grainy white substance (baking soda!) would come out. Eww. I still have acne scars from that trial.

      Have you tried the Oil Cleansing Method? I’ve been suffering from one type of acne or another since I was 12. I’m 25, and it HAS TO END NOW. I tried everything on your list, plus nearly every drugstore brand, and also antibiotics. I read about the OCM, and was completely skeptical. My face is oily enough – why would I want to put more on it!? I’ve been at it for a month, and my skin has 1) NEVER looked better – my skin glows now! 2) not broken out. I’ve had one teeny-tiny pimple. That’s it! Most people think the OCM is just using olive oil or almond oil, but it’s a little more complicated. You combine olive oil and castor oil according to this website: . I also add a few drops of tea tree oil. So far, SO GOOD! I must admit though, I’m still hesitant to just wipe off the oil and leave it at that, so I also get my palms a little sudsy with Kiss My Face olive oil soap, rub that on my face for a second, then rinse.

    • anita rivas

      It’s not weird to write about the same topics, a lot of people have adult acne and I’m sure a lot of people have used similar products, like baking soda. I have adult acne and I am always reviewing products that work – so it is not weird to find a similar story featured – this is in reference to Amber’s Comment.

    • Jess

      While I find the baking soda idea intriguing, at 30 years old I do not want to think about how to make pimples go away… I don’t want any to begin with! Like Sarah, I am on Spironolactone. After trying all different kinds of antibiotics, expensive creams, Proactiv, diet restrictions and the ever painful cortisone shots to the face, I decided to give this drug a try after multiple appointments with various dermatologists. All I have to say is man am I glad I did! It did take a full 6 weeks for the drug to really take affect and get my out of wack hormones in check. What some people don’t realize is that cystic acne is actually incredibly painful so it’s not just about the looks. Well it’s been 8 months now and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve seen zero side effects and nothing but benefits and I’m on a pretty low dosage so my doctor says it’s perfectly fine to stay on the medication. I recommend it to anyone who has exhausted all other options and is at the end of their rope. It’s allowed me to regain my confidence and feel comfortable in my own skin again.

    • Harold smith
    • Kelsie

      Add some turmeric and honey to a baking soda mask and you have the most amazing face mask EVER! I use it once a week and it really keeps my acne away and my skin glows! It’s the best. Be sure to use it before a shower and wash your face twice with a mild cleanser to remove all the yellow that the turmeric leaves behind. THIS MASK WORKS MIRACLES! It cured my sisters chronic, cystic acne that she’s had for 13 years! No joke!
      (1/4 tsp each baking soda and turmeric, 1/2 tsp honey (preferably local honey from a farmers market), and a little bit of water until it’s a consistency that’s still thick but spreadable, leave on for at least 20 minutes)

      • dalia

        is that mask good for oil skin ?

    • Experienced

      Scrub your face with a rag that has moistend unscented laundry detergent (the powdered kind) on it. Then use a cotton ball soaked with alcohol. Then rub coconut oil on your face. The detergent on the rag helps scrub away dirt, the alcohol kills the germs, and the coconut is anti-bacterial and will keep your skin clear. Coconut oil also works as a natural deoderant.

      • johnny depp

        scrub poo on your face after that i suppose?

      • RA

        you should never rub your face with a rag, it is very irritating for the skin and can even spread the acne.

    • Megan Barkley-Colwell

      I am so very excited about this post. I was reading page one and kept thinking to myself “Yes! Exactly!” I am at the end of my rope, too. Creams, washes, toners, masks, diets – enough! I’m 24, I shouldn’t still be having acne, right? Once again, that time of the month came, and my chin erupted with cystic acne. As I type this I have baking soda paste covering my trouble spots.I almost dropped my laptop running into the kitchen to grab supplies. I am hopeful although skeptical. Fingers crossed. All of them. And maybe some toes.

      • Guest

        Did it work for you?

      • Megan Colwell

        It took down the swelling, but it doesn’t “cure” cystic acne. Basically changing my diet to not include dairy is what helped me the most. This week I’m trying out fresh-pressed lemon juice to see how that helps out.

    • Truth-seeker

      Youre really funny.. I like you

    • chelsea

      Hi, my name is Chelsea!
      Just to go over my long history with acne briefly, I have been on pretty much every antibiotic there is(both oral and topical), and have tried every over the counter product out there. Struggling with acne for about 7 years(I am currently in college), I finally decided to take accutane about a year ago. It is a long process, and brought out a lot of cystic acne on my face. After my 7 months was over, my skin was pretty much clear but I had many dark spots and uneven skin left behind. Since then, I have tried many expensive serums to clear up my spots and the small acne I had here and there. I recently read about baking soda online, and thought I would give it a try! I have been using it for approximately 3 weeks now and I have definitely seen an improvement in my skin! I feel that my skin is clearer and more evened out. Granite, I am still on antibiotics from my dermatologist, but since using baking soda, I have seen an even bigger improvement! I actually am proud of my skin now and I am okay to go out without any make up on( Which is kinda a big deal for me!) Definitely give baking soda a try! Its only 39 cents, you dont have much to lose by trying it out (:

      • NE

        Do u put baking soda on ur face everyday or just once every week?

    • Jack

      Acne is a sympton of an internal problem in your body, if you have acne frequently then its caused by candida, or even maybe parasites, but I believe most cases are candida related, this guy explains well the cause and how to get rid of it :
      However he only suggests to take caprylic acid and olive leaf extract, I would also add a few other things to it:
      Oregano Oil
      Raw Garlic ( you can get a garlic supplement in capsules)
      Cinnamon ( buy 500mg or 600mg capsules, it must be Cinnamomum Cassia)
      Black Wallnut
      Immuno stimulants as Neem and Echinacea would also helps your candida problem, and there are still other things that kills candida effective, sodium bicarbonate is one of them, however you should only take it after 2 hours you had your last meal or before 2 hours a meal, so It wont neutralizes your stomach acid and fucks your digestion.
      You get read about it here:
      Good luck for all you guys, and dont trust Doctors, they dont know shit about it, they say that acne is caused by excess sebum excreted by your skin, and will tell you to use Acutane, that fucking shit.

      • James

        I tried the whole candida approach you mentioned for over a year and it was torture…. and it did nothing…

        if you have a fungal infection(candida is usually seen in immuno-compromised)see your doctor for anti fungal medication that actually works and is backed up by 100′s of clinical trials…and don’t waste money on expensive supplements.

        Roaccutane works, it did for me.

        Trust doctors, they don’t spend 6-10+ years at university for nothing. Science is proven.

      • Jack

        I believe the greatter ( or even only ) cause of acne is Leaky Gut, and
        you will not be able to heal it if you dont repopulate the “friendly”
        bacterias to stop the candida overgrowth, anybody who suffers from acne
        and take anti biotics can notice a terrible worsen on their skin after a
        few days of the antibiotics use, thats because it kills your “friendly”
        bacteria and candida can grow above the normal levels, worsening your
        leaky gut problem.

        I tried all that things I mentioned and it made my skin better, but not enough, now im using a probiotic called Primadophilus Reuteri Pearls , from Nature’s Way and Nettle Leaf tea and Omega 3 Fish Oil, the probiotic itself was helping a lot, but after I introduced the Nettle Leaf tea it got much better, and I also eat the leafs in the tea. Maybe because this nettle leaf is an anti-allergy, and the candida can make you get allergies, and those will start an inflamatory process and make it very dificult to heal the intestine walls, then the nettle leaf would prevent those allergic reations from happening.

        The problem with the doctors nowdays is that they have a blind fate on the pharmaceutical industry, and those only want profit. Give me a good reason to tell somebody to use a cheap tea and probiotic when you can sell topical creams forever? And about the Roaccutane, the acne is nothing more than your body throwing away the garbage that came in your blood stream, through your leaky gut, what Roaccutane does is simply removing your bodys abilitie to do that, making you look good on the outside, but fucked up in the inside, thats the same as diarrhea medications, if you eat something thats rotten or contains anything that is very bad for your body, it will start a diarrhea to expel this garbage, but if you go to the doctor, he will give you a medication to stop that process, holding all the garbage INSIDE you. Tell me how can you belive thats good for you?

        Open your eyes, use your heads to THINK a little bit sometimes, theres a logic for everything that happens, the human body is perfect, everything it does is for a reason, it doesnt simply “expels too much sebum” like doctors claim, there are no things like Autoimmune diseases where your body goes crazy and attacks itself, theres aways something else causing that, and not your own body going kamikaze.

      • xio

        Yes but by the time you get out your 6-7 years behind .
        Treat patients. The 5 years later its just to say oh whoops we been doing it wrong….. now try this

    • Matt

      Yes, it absolutely works. I have had cystic acne on my back off and on since I was a teenager (I am 36). I’ve had a few cysts here and there for years, but had a particularly bad breakout in the late summer from playing a lot of hockey that lasted until the early winter and absolutely nothing I was trying (including dermatologist prescribed meds) were helping. I had read that baking soda helped, and had read in separate posts that sea salt, asprin and honey also helped. I now crush three asprin, mix a tablespoon or two of baking soda, dash of sea salt and small dab of honey and mix with a bit of water. I leave this mixture on my back for 15 minutes a day, every day, and where my back looked like a topographical map two months ago, it is now smooth with only red marks remaining. I have reduced my acne by 95% and it has literally changed my life and psyche. I really hope this helps you as much as it helped me. I know how depressing acne can be.

    • Bobbly


    • Richmond Teng
    • Sarah parkers

      Baking Soda exfoliate your skin with soda. You can give yourself a mini commemoration
      treatment by mixing one teaspoon of baking soda with the two teaspoons of filtered water.
      after that softly rub the mixture on your acne area for one minute then rinse it.

    • dalia

      actually i do this mask one and i will do it daily as you said and i`m sure that i will have a excellent result with you so thanks for your subject ♥

    • sarah

      Baking soda is horrible for your face. It is so irritating to skin, it completely destroys your skin lipid layer, which is what keeps your skin able to heal itself from damage and irritation, and especially acne. Honey, however is great at disinfecting and aiding your skins self-healing abilities. If your skin can’t self heal it could be because your lipid layer is extremely damaged by products (even natural crap like baking soda), sun damage, and the like. Just because something is natural and in your kitchen doesn’t mean its okay for skin. Lemon is also much too acidic. Honey is okay, oats are okay, yogurt is okay.

    • Nicole

      I just heard about this on Dr.Oz and if you put a table spoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of honeyit works very well! I tried it out i immediately noticed my skin was brighter and my acne spots were shrinking! I have oily skin and it did make my skin a little bit dry so all I did was use oil free lotion afterwards. This method works very well and it is super practical! Leave the mask on for 10-20 minutes