Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is a chemical compound composed of sodium ions and bicarbonate ions with the formula NaHCO3. It is a white solid that is classified as a crystalline, but appears as a fine, white powder. Baking soda has a variety of uses other than for baking, including use as a cleaning agent, a mild disinfectant, odor eliminator, stomach ache remedy, and many more.
In cosmetics and personal care product, sodium bicarbonate functions as a pH adjuster and abrasive. As a pH adjuster, sodium bicarbonate establishes and holds the pH of a product. It is important to regulate the pH of cosmetics and personal care products so as to maintain the skin’s normal pH (typically between 4 and 6) as closely as possible. If a product is too acidic, it may irritate the skin or cause a stinging sensation. If a product is too alkaline, it can deplete the skin of vital, natural lipids. Sodium bicarbonate is also used as an abrasive in face and body scrubs, especially those intended to treat acne. However, it is a very harsh abrasive that can be damaging to the skin and actually make acne worse.