It has to do with being basic (literally).
Covering up under-eye circles and puffy bags has become an obsession in skincare. People are willing to try just about anything when it comes to hiding the telltale fact that they haven’t gotten enough sleep, or might be especially stressed out. Some people even deal with genetic dark circles that just won’t budge. It’s no doubt that if a quick fix appears on the internet, everyone’s going to jump on the bandwagon and give it a try, especially if the products are already in your kitchen cabinet.
Vlogger Darshika Patel posted a video that’s gone viral about using baking soda to banish your under-eye circles. Easy as one, two, three, right? Not so much. Darshika mixes baking soda in a bowl filled with some water to create a “runny paste” so it’s “not too harsh on your eyes” and “will do its magic”. She also advises viewers to be careful throughout the application process, avoiding getting anything in your actual eye, because that obviously makes the whole situation worse. She recommends smearing the paste on with the back of a spoon or your fingers, applying it to the area under your eyes. After about 10-15 minutes, Darshika wipes the paste off with a baby wipe. She warns that after the removal, your skin will feel a bit tight, but “your bags will have diminished, and your dark circles should have also improved.”
This solution may sound convenient, but it has us scratching our heads. Why isn’t everyone talking about this if it is the magic end-all-be-all dark circle eraser? We reached out to dermatologist Dr. Sejal Shah of SmarterSkin Dermatology for her expert opinion on this web phenomenon.
“The pH scale runs from 0-14 with 7 being neutral, anything above 7 alkaline or a base and anything below 7 an acid. The pH of what you apply to your skin is important for maintaining healthy skin. Skin's pH is slightly acidic, usually in the 4.5-6.5 range, and this is maintained by a number of things, such as the natural skin flora and glands,” she said.
So what does that have to do with putting baking soda on our face? Dr. Shah says, “The skin's acidity is called the ‘acid mantle.’ When you apply something alkaline to the skin, such as baking soda, it can affect the skin barrier by disrupting the acid mantle (and the natural elements of the skin such as bacterial flora, glandular secretions, etc.). And the damage is cumulative, so that the more you do it, the more damage there is.” The damage can typically appear as to irritation, dryness, redness, and even itchy skin.
But don’t knock baking soda for skin issues completely. Some newer products have surfaced on store shelves that actually already have baking soda as an ingredient. Dr. Shah says this is a completely different situation than directly applying baking soda onto your skin, and these are safe to use. If an ingredient list contains sodium bicarbonate, “there is likely a very small amount of baking soda in the product; it is possibly just enough to provide a bit of exfoliation,” she said. A lot of these products also contain specific acids, such as salicylic, and Dr. Shah adds, “it’s possible that the sodium bicarbonate helps balance the pH levels.”
If you’re really looking to hide your under-eye circles, you can never go wrong with using good old-fashioned color-correcting concealers. Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in “peach” specifically targets circles and spots. Anti-aging concealers, such as iT Cosmetics Bye Bye Under Eye, are filled with hydro-collagen and vitamins to help with radiance. And, if you’re looking for something to reduce puffiness you can also include patchology’s FlashPatch eye gels or Clinique’s All About Eyes eye cream-gel into your routine. Sometimes, your pantry isn’t the best option for feeding your face.