There are some things in this world that are so ridiculous that I find it very hard to wrap my head around the fact that people actually buy into them. One of them is Donald Trump. Another is the widely accepted myth that baking soda is safe, and even good, to put on your skin.
New Zealand-based beauty blogger Darshika Patel has a YouTube video that’s currently circulating the Web, and it further proliferates the misguided belief that your household baking soda belongs on your skin. In the tutorial, Patel mixes the powder and water into a paste and uses the back of a spoon to smooth the paste under her eyes. She’s convinced that this “hack” helps get rid of—or at least diminish the appearance of—her under-eye circles and bags.
Patel, who notes that you should be careful not to get the concoction too close to your eyeballs, lets the paste sit on her skin for 5 to 10 minutes before she removes it with a baby wipe. But don’t worry: She only does the treatment once or twice a week, so it’s not going to dry out or otherwise harm her skin.
This is not good! In fact, it’s really, really bad. Baking soda is way too harsh to be safe for skin—the pH of your skin is about 5.5, and baking soda is a whopping 9. (Compare that to a straight-up ammonia solution, which is 11.) It’s far too alkaline—even more so when combined with water—which dramatically upsets the skin’s pH balance and causes serious irritation and worse, as you might expect from something that’s also used to clean toilet bowls.
For whatever reason, uninformed people (sorry, Darshika) have heralded baking soda as a kind of skin-care panacea, but not so. And the more frequently you use it, the more permanent damage it does to the skin. Never mind the fact that this approach suggests you put it on the most delicate skin on your face, which also happens to be very close to your eyes. I’m cringing.
A much better way to address under-eye bags and puffiness is with … well, actual eye cream. Try a cooling or caffeinated formula, like Boscia Super-Cool De-Puffing Eye Balm ($26), or a does-it-all treatment such as Filorga Optim-Eyes Eye Contour Treatment ($49). Who knew that you should be putting eye cream on your eyes instead of baking soda?