Friday, January 13, 2017

How To Treat Baking Soda Burn

Baking Soda Burn has become an unexpected and painful reality for a heck of a lot of people who are simply trying to live a greener life.

Misinformation about commonly used deodorant ingredients continues to flourish, causing many to seek alternative solutions.

Unfortunately, a great number of these 'greener deodorant solutions' involve applying a chemical compound more commonly known as baking soda to the delicate skin of the armpits, causing a wide range of unfortunate reactions.

In Theory, it Sounds Like a Good Idea

The logic of reaching for baking soda is actually understandable: it is easily obtainable at any supermarket and is great for for many household uses: cleaning, spot removal, etc. How could it possibly be harmful?

What folks are overseeing in their otherwise admirable quest to go green: baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) is a chemical compound that is not made for prolonged skin contact.

What Happens With Prolonged Skin Contact to Baking Soda

Reactions from using baking soda deodorant can be
  • discoloration (reddish, brownish or general darkening) of the skin 
  • thickening, leathery skin
  • slight rash
  • heavy, itchy rash
  • rash with painful pustules


Damage done. Now what?

Because so many of you have asked, I've put together a few tips for dealing with the discomfort of baking soda burn.

What To Do About Baking Soda Burn

First: Contrary to what you might have read, heard, or think, you are NOT detoxing! Your body is reacting to exposure to a chemical your skin doesn't agree with, so stop using baking soda deodorant immediately!

Depending on how bad your reaction is, consider seeing your doctor. This may sound like overkill, but some folks have written me with very serious reactions that needed immediate medical attention. If you are in even the slightest doubt – please see your doctor!

If the skin has become thick and leathery and/or discolored, but is otherwise pain-free, you can probably self treat with one or more of these methods
  • Apply cool compress
  • Apply pure aloe vera to the affected area
  • Mist aloe vera juice on the affected area
  • Wash the area gently with a colloidal oat solution
  • Apply pure coconut oil to the affected area
  • While your pits are healing, apply an acidic ingredient such as fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar (to unbroken skin!!)

I wish you a speedy recovery and happy pits!

More about Deodorant on This Blog

Why Your skin is reacting to baking soda deodorant
Deodorant FAQ
Potassium Alum: Aluminium or not?
Is your deodorant dangerous? Probably not.
How to make your own deodorant without baking soda


Grazina said...

Hi Lise, yes I'm a victim of bicarb armpits- I test most products I produce on myself before asking for volunteers, and this deo-paste formula sounded wonderful on paper, but talk about sleepless nights! Itchy, sore, swollen and BROWN! Solution as you said, cool compresses and the opposite of an alkali? Apple cider vinegar, diluted 1:1 in water 3 times a day. Took nearly a month to heal and a year later, my armpits are still just barely discoloured. I have no sensitivities on my "body" skin, as opposed to facial, so folks, DON'T use bicarb! Try diatomaceous earth(food grade) with kaolin, shea, coconut oil and Kunzea EO. It works!

Lise M Andersen said...

Hey there Grazina - thanks for sharing this! It is so disconcerting to see how many people have had to suffer baking soda burn because of misinformation. I hope your pits are soon back to their perfect normal self. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info. I'm currently suffering after trying to go "natural" and can't wait for things to get back to normal. It all started with a change of soap a month or so back, then aluminium deo was a no-no. Switched to "natural" brand currently heavily advertising on-line and they are 200% worse plus painful and swollen. Currently using my face cleanser and toner which is providing relief. In the middle of summer here at the moment with singlets and short sleeves to wear - bring on winter so I can hide them while they recover!

Lise M Andersen said...

Oh dear - thanks for sharing this Anon - I hope your pits heal quickly!

Unknown said...

Lise, thanks my aloe leaf will do just fine. I hate that so many of us are victims but aloe leaf has never steered me wrong when it comes to topical healing. Thank you for all of your efforts and your honesty.

Lise M Andersen said...

HI Unknown - Aloe leaf is indeed a gentle and soothing ingredient for rash and burns. I hope your pits heal quickly!

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the problem is the baking soda itself, or the PH level of baking soda. Baking soda is approx. 8 or 9 towards alkaline. Our skin is more acidic at 5.5. If these DIY deodorant products were PH balanced, they might not have these problems. I've balanced a recent batch (inclusive of baking soda) and seems to be just fine for me and others so far. One can use citric acid to lower PH, but I tried colloidal oatmeal (which is acidic), and seems to have worked. Has anyone else duplicated these results, or does this make sense to any science types out there?

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi Anon - balancing the pH is definitely a help. May I ask if you are using a water based solution? Interesting use of colloidal oatmeal! Thanks for your input.

Jody said...

When I use the Potassium Alum stone/stick, can I handle it with my hands or should I get one that is in a container so I don't touch it? I too am experiencing with DIY deodorant and am suffering baking soda burn, but I quit using it before it got too bad. So now I'm going to try your DIY deodorant with the potassium alum stick and want to do it right. Can you also recommend a good place to get the potassium alum stick/stone? Thanks.

Lise M Andersen said...

Hi Jody - you can handle the stone directly. These are exactly the same thing as the small stones sold with mens shaving kits to stop bleeding from shaving nicks. Where I live (Denmark) , the stones are available at drugstores and healthfood stores. They gave many common names, so look for the INCI name: potassium alum. Best of luck with your pits!