If you have browsed social media for skincare tips you will have most likely stumbled upon one or more of these home remedies to get rid of acne. They are often recommended by amateur skincare “gurus” and blogs. These products may seem to help you get rid of blackheads, but they are only causing more damage doing so. I’ve put a list together of the 3 most common recommended products on the internet that are harmful to your skin. Let’s begin!
The pH of a product is the indicator of how acidic or alkaline a product is. With 0 being the most acidic (battery acid) and 14 being the the most alkaline (liquid drain cleaner), with 7 being neutral (pure water).The pH of your skin is between 4.5 and 5, creating an acid mantle protecting the skin. If a product is too acidic it can cause hyperpigmentation or even burn wounds, if a product is too alkaline it can disrupt and damage your skin barrier (acid mantle) turning your face into a breeding ground for bacteria.
1.) Baking Soda
Baking soda is a household chemical often used for cooking and as a cleaning agent. While it is often advertised on the internet as a great exfoliant to get rid of blackheads, it will cause more damage in the process. The pH of baking soda is 9, making it an alkaline product. Research has shown using baking soda only once can already cause noticeable damage to your skin barrier, using it regularly will only cause more harm.
2.) Lemon Juice
Although lemon juice is a citric acid, a weak acid with a pH of about 2, it is too harsh for the use on facial skin.While damaging your skin barrier and irritating the skin, it will also cause your skin to be more photosensitized. Every ray of sunlight striking your face will cause the irritation to get worse, possible resulting in chemical burns.
If you want to have the benefits of lemon juice without risking skin irritation, opt for an AHA exfoliant. AHA exfoliants have a pH level between 3 and 4, low enough to exfoliate while high enough not to cause skin irritation. You will still have to apply sunscreen after using an AHA as it is also photosensitizing.
Toothpaste is often recommended as a spot treatment for acne by beauty magazines and skincare “gurus”. There are big variations in the pH of different toothpastes. They usually are too alkaline, causing damage to your skin barrier similar to baking soda. The problem with toothpaste is, it’s not just made out of one ingredient like baking soda. Toothpastes come with over a dozen of ingredients, many of those are drying and irritating, causing only more skin damage on top of the pH difference.
If you wanted to try or have tried toothpaste before and thought it was okay, try changing to a clay mask. Clay masks give you same benefits of toothpaste, but without the skin irritation.
There are many more home remedies out there being recommended that are harmful to your skin. If you do want to try one of these “treatments”, make you sure always check the pH level of the product. You do not want it too be too acidic, but also not alkaline. Try medical and reputable sources for more information, news outlets do not always have the expertise to give you both the benefits and disadvantages of certain products.