Baking Soda. Is it safe to use for dandruff?
Baking soda is used fairly often as a substitute for regular shampoos and many turn to it when dandruff shows up. Often as a method of washing hair without using commercial shampoos. This is known as the no poo method.
While avoiding commercial shampoos with harsh detergents can be a good thing, baking soda isn’t necessarily good for your scalp.
pH level of baking soda
Baking soda can be used as a dry shampoo but, the main problem I have with it is its high pH level and what that means for the health of your scalp. It has a pH level of around 9 which is much higher than your scalps natural pH of around 5 (acidic). 7 is considered a neutral pH, that’s where water sits.
Typically shampoos and conditioners are balanced to be slightly acidic, just like your scalp. And your scalp stays healthy for it.
Usually, when using baking soda as a shampoo, people will recommend using apple cider vinegar (ACV) after as a conditioner to restore the pH level of your scalp back to normal. Just because ACV is acidic. But, there’s no evidence that it works like that.
Essentially you would be damaging your scalps natural barrier and then applying an acidic solution directly to your skin which is even more damaging.
Can baking soda be diluted to be safe for you head?
It’s always suggested to dilute baking soda in an effort to lower the pH slightly. But, baking soda is very strong. And as such it’s very difficult to dilute. It doesn’t take much to make water alkaline (higher pH).
Baking soda will certainly clear oil out of your scalp but, can leave your hair feeling weak brittle, and damaged in the long term.
There’s no evidence that baking soda is great as a shampoo for dandruff and as such it has mixed reviews. In fact, it’s easy to look up hair horror stories of long-term baking soda use.
Using it once most likely won’t give you any problems. You may see some benefit from using it with a very oily scalp because it’s very effective. But, long-term this is not the best option. It can damage your hair.
But, since we have a scalp condition (dandruff) I would recommend against this home remedy. We don’t need any more irritation.