One of the latest skincare trends is using sodium bicarbonate (more commonly known as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda) to treat blackheads, and at first it may seem like a good idea. There's no denying that sodium bicarbonate has many benefits, but when it comes to using it to care for your skin, it's really not the best ingredient… Absolution tells you why, and suggests some more gentle, effective solutions to banish those pesky blackheads!
What makes blackheads appear?
Blackheads appear when pores in your skin get clogged. Each pore contains a follicle, which consists of a hair and a sebaceous gland. The latter produces sebum – an oily substance that helps to keep skin hydrated. But sometimes, dead cells and sebum build up in the opening of the hair follicle, resulting in a clogged pore – or "comedo." If the comedo remains closed, it's called a whitehead. On the other hand, if it opens and is exposed to air, it becomes oxidized and turns black, forming a blackhead. Blackheads usually occur on the face, but they can also appear on other parts of the body, such as the back, chest, neck and shoulders. The factors listed below can contribute to blackheads.
- Oily skin that produces too much sebum.
- A buildup of Propionibacterium acnes bacteria on the skin.
- Irritated hair follicles when dead skin cells are not exfoliated regularly. This is why it's a good idea to use a face scrub every week (or every two weeks if you have sensitive skin), to help prevent pores from clogging.
- Hormonal changes that lead to an increase in sebum production, particularly during adolescence, menstruation, and pregnancy.
- Certain medications (corticosteroids, lithium, androgens, etc.) as well as some contraceptive pills.
Why is it not a good idea to remove blackheads with baking soda?
For many years, certain natural remedies have been getting a lot of attention on the internet and in the beauty community – including the use of baking soda. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is the best way to get rid of blackheads. After all, this ingredient does have some valuable properties. Baking soda is an alkaline substance, so it helps to regulate pH levels. It also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic benefits.
But sodium bicarbonate is not ideal as a skincare ingredient. It can irritate and be harsh on the skin, and if it's used too often, negative effects may occur within just a few days, such as:
- dehydrated skin and open pores;
- premature fine lines and wrinkles;
- a worsening of breakouts;
- skin irritation and inflammation.
If you want to get rid of blackheads without the risk of upsetting your skin, take a few tips from Absolution and opt for more gentle, natural, effective solutions!
How can you make blackheads go away?
Rule no. 1: don't pick at them! Every time you squeeze blackheads, you run the risk of a bacterial infection, and this may lead to complications and scars.
To get rid of blackheads, Absolution recommends finding the best natural active ingredients instead. Take, for example, Diatomaceous Earth, which is derived from fossilized microalgae (diatoms). We've used this ingredient in our face scrub, La Crème Gommante, to gently exfoliate the skin, absorb sebum, and eliminate impurities.
Another ingredient that's ideal for treating blackheads is Arrabidaea Chica, also known as Crajiru. This shrub is native to the Amazon region and is particularly effective for treating skin disorders (blackheads and spots) and purifying the skin. You'll find it in our purifying serum, Le Booster PURETÉ.
But it's not just a question of using the right products. You also need to have the right skincare routine! Is your skin prone to acne and blackheads? Here's what we suggest!
- In the evening, use the Konjac Sponge to apply Le Nettoyant Pureté (this cleanser is formulated with Sage, which helps to regulate sebum, and Roman Chamomile, to calm skin reactions).
- Once a week, exfoliate with La Crème Gommante, then follow with Le Masque Pureté Détoxifiant. The ingredients in this purifying face mask include Burdock, which helps to fight blemishes, and White Clay, to gently absorb impurities.
- Morning and evening (if you have acne-prone skin), or on an occasional basis (in the case of spots or breakouts), use Le Booster PURETÉ. Apply directly to spots twice a day, or mix with La Crème Beau Jour for a daily purifying moisturizer.
- Every two weeks, give your face a purifying steam cleanse. Simply place your face above a bowl of hot water with a few slices of lemon in it!