Understanding Skin pH Balance And How To Improve it?
Everybody talks about having a healthy pH balance for the skin, but what exactly is pH balance and how is it measured? Those who paid attention in Chemistry class can easily answer that pH, which is short for the potential of hydrogen, is a logarithmic scale used in measuring the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. All organic substances have a pH level, including the body and skin.
For those who did not pay attention, don’t you fret. There is an easier way to understand everything there is to know about pH and why it is important to maintain a good balance for the skin.
So What Exactly is Skin pH Balance?
The skin’s pH level determines whether the skin is acidic, neutral, or basic. The body’s normal pH level is around 7, so that is considered basic. The skin’s pH level is a bit lower at 5.5, which means skin is slightly acidic. This acidic environment, popularly known as the acid mantle, is actually beneficial for the skin because it serves as a barrier from skin diseases and infection.
What’s The Ideal Skin pH Level?
People ideally want to maintain this 5.5 pH balance in order to keep skin from developing inflammation, blemishes, eczema, dry skin as well as many other common skin problems. This is because the skin’s ability to resist bacteria and germs lessens whenever the pH balance is tipped off the scale.
If you’ve already got great skin, then good for you! It probably means you have mastered the art of maintaining your skin’s 5.5 pH balance. But for those who don’t – you probably fall into either of these two categories: Those who suffer from chronic dry skin and premature aging have skin that is too alkaline, whereas those prone to regular breakouts and have oily skin suffer from acidic skin.
How to restore healthy pH balance
Once you’ve determined where you stand in this spectrum, it is now time to restore pH balance in your skin.
More often than not, problematic skin is caused by the prolonged use of improperly-balanced products, so it is important for you to check the label of the products you have been using.
Remember, most soaps and cosmetics have a range of 8 to 10 pH level, which is really bad for those with dry skin. Contrary to popular belief, cleansers that boast of giving you a squeaky clean feeling are not always good. Chances are, these cleansers have harsh ingredients that dry the skin out and mess up the acid mantle, therefore making the skin feel tighter.
In the same vein, oily skin sufferers might be better off steering clear of low pH products. Products that indicate “pH balanced” only mean that it has a pH content similar to the skin, which is 5.5.
But whatever your skin type might be – dry, oily, or damaged – it would not hurt to adhere to certain skin rules and tips, such as choosing products that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It is also better to use gentle face cleansers instead of bar soaps for the face, as well as avoiding products that have hidden, harmful chemicals.
Is Drinking Water Good For You Skin’s pH?
Surprisingly, not all kinds of water are good for the skin. Tap water, or rather hard water, has a high mineral content, therefore causing it to have a pH of 8.5 or more. Hard water contains heavy metal like iron, copper, zinc, and nickel, and when applied on the face, can cause itchiness and inflammation. It can even lead to collagen and elastin breakdown.
You might ask – how do I wash my face without water? Well, some celebrities prefer using Evian water to clean their face. Regular folks like you and me cannot afford that luxury, so there are several ways to go about it. You can opt to have your area water checked and filtered with a water softener (which is an investment in itself), or use micellar water – a combination of purified water, glycerin and low concentrations of extremely mild surfactants that serve as magnets for dirt and oil. Despite the wonders micellar water does for the skin, it won’t break the bank since it is pretty affordable.
Can My Diet Change My Skin’s pH?
Some people think that a proper healthy diet plays a huge factor in improving the skin’s condition. While this is true – to an extent – eating a well-balanced diet cannot miraculously clear up skin woes. It is really up to the use of products on the skin that determines whether or not it will act up.
As people age, their pH balance also becomes more acidic because of their lifestyle and environment, so changing beauty products and regimen are also necessary. Vitamin C serums, of course, help with all that and can greatly reduce the effects of aging and sun damage too.
At the same time, it is folly to think that eating acidic food will be better for those with alkaline skin. The pH of food actually transforms into something else once consumed. Food that is considered acidic such as lemons become alkaline-forming in the body, while most animal products are alkaline before being consumed but become acid-forming in the body. Meanwhile, there are some foods that are ph-balancing, such as kale, apple cider vinegar, garlic, carrots, cabbage, and cayenne pepper.
How To Balance My Skin Ph Balance?
Still confused about all these balancing acts and don’t know where to start? You can try purchasing pH testing strips and trying these out on your products to see what will work best for you, or you could consult your dermatologist just to be on the safe side.
It can be very confusing trying to wrap your head around these pH levels and choosing the right products for your skin. But once you’ve got these down pat, you will see just how fast the skin heals and glows.