Why you can’t ignore pH.
You’ve seen the term “pH balanced” on some skincare products. What does it really mean and why does it matter? Do we really need to check the pH levels of the products we put on our skin?
In short, the answer is YES. And here is why…
Lets start by reviewing what we learned about pH in grammer school.
You may remember from science class that pH shows the level of acidity of a substance. PH stands for potential Hydrogen and is measured on a scale from 0-14, with 0 being the most acidic, 14 being the most alkaline, and 7 being neutral.
What is the Acid Mantle?
Our skin is covered by a thin shield called the acid mantle. This acid mantle acts as our first defense to protect us from environmental toxins and invading bacteria, including the bacteria that cause acne. The ideal pH for this protective layer is 5.5. When our skin’s pH level drops below 4.5 or above 6.5, it inhibits our skin’s ability to handle environmental stress and fight infections.
How do I know if the pH level of my skin is off balance?
Our skin gives us clues as to whether our pH is in balance or not. Signs that your pH can be too high or low in pH include being acne-prone, oily, red, inflamed, dry, sensitive or wrinkled.
What factors affect the pH of our skin?
There are a number of factors that influence the pH level of our skin including diet, age, and the products we use.
Our diets strongly impact our gut health which plays a central role in skin pH and the growth of bacteria on the skin surface. As you likely have heard, the typical American diet, high in sugars and processed foods, does not contribute to good gut health. We can have a positive impact on our gut health and pH, both internal and external, by avoiding sugar, processed and yeasty foods and by increasing greens, fermented foods, and water.
Soaps and skincare products
Most soaps are too alkaline and strip the skin of natural oils and thus cause dryness. Using products with the correct pH is critical to the health and proper pH of our skin. A word of caution about homemade/DIY skincare products. Often the household items included in these are either too acidic or alkaline for our skin and can cause damage to our acid mantle.
As children our skin pH hovers around 7 and then as we move into adolescence, it lowers to around 5.5. Our skin then tends to become more acidic as we age due to the environment and lifestyle.
What can I do to balance my skin’s pH?
If our skin is too acidic or alkaline, we may be tempted to use a product on the other side of the scale in hopes of balancing our pH. This is not a good approach. Instead, it is best to use high-quality products with a pH near 5.5. Additionally, use probiotics to improve gut health, maintain a quality diet, and treat your skin gently so as not to damage the acid mantle.
Contact me today to discuss setting up a skin-care system that will help balance your skin’s pH and make it look it’s best!