Sodium bicarbonate: a naturally safe exfoliating agent

Products & Technologies

Sodium bicarbonate’s benefits

Sodium bicarbonate is highly effective at gently peeling and exfoliating skin; it helps cells detach from the skin and cleans pores. This allows skincare products to be absorbed more readily and ensures skin is better protected.

SEQENS Mineral Specialties (MS) has developed a special Sodium Bicarbonate product range as a natural and gentle alternative to polyethylene (PE) microbeads or plant-based abrasives like plum kernels (or nut shells).

An eco- and consumer-friendly product

Sodium bicarbonate is a mineral produced using an eco-friendly process involving limestone and salt. According to EU regulations, certain sodium bicarbonate formulations can be labelled as non-irritating. SEQENS MS Sodium Bicarbonate is COSMOS approved.

An exfoliating agent for sensitive skin

We carried out tests to demonstrate the effectiveness of our products, using colorimetry to assess the gentle exfoliating effect of bicarbonate on skin.

Several exfoliating agents were tested:

  • BC N grade / SEQENS MS-La Madeleine plant Sodium Bicarbonate (average particle size ≈ 130 µm)
  • BC UCG grade / SEQENS MS-La Madeleine plant Sodium Bicarbonate (average particle size ≈ 300 µm)
  • Cellulosic exfoliating agents with two particle size distributions: 100-200 µm and 200-500 µm
  • Plum kernel exfoliating agents with two particle size distributions: 40-200 µm and 200-500 µm
  • PE microbeads with two particle size distributions: 50-200 µm and 200-500 µm.

An anhydrous scrub formulation containing each exfoliating agent was tested on the skin of the back of two subjects.

Skin flushing was measured with colorimetry before and after applying the scrub (L*a*b* measured and a* values used). Results are presented in Chart 1.

Chart 1

The greater the difference in flushing after and before the skin treatment, the more abrasive the exfoliating agent.

The results show that the sodium-bicarbonate-based scrub is gentler on skin than kernels, cellulose or PE microbeads.

The Sodium Bicarbonate BC N scrub has a smooth exfoliating action. It is recommended for sensitive facial skin and constitutes an effective alternative to 50-200 µm PE microbeads.

The Sodium Bicarbonate BC UCG scrub is more exfoliating yet softer than cellulose, kernels and PE microbeads; it is recommended for body scrubs for sensitive skin, as it has a lower risk of micro-injuries.

More information

Find information about our Sodium Bicarbonate product range and formulas on our website.

Contact: Jeanne PEREZ, Products and Applications Development, SEQENS MS Mail: