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!