The Truth About Skin pH; Understanding Why It Matters And How To Balance It
We all must have seen several beauty product commercials that talk about the product being “pH balanced” for healthy skin. Those advertisements likely left you and tons of others wondering what on earth PH measurement has to do with soap, moisturiser, or whatever beauty product they may be advertising.
The term “pH” means “Potential hydrogen”; it measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in any substance. In other words, it measures relative acidity. The human skin comprises oils and sweat that produce a barrier to protect itself against environmental stressors and bacteria. This barrier is what determines skin pH levels. The pH scale ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline). When your skin pH is balanced between acidic and alkaline (clocking in at around 5 on a scale of 0-14), your skin will be more likely to stay healthy and hydrated.
As we’ve stated earlier, your skin is at its best when there is a balance between its acidity and alkalinity. The moment you throw it off track, your skin will go crazy. When our skin’s acid mantle has too much alkaline, our skin becomes sensitive and dry. You might start to develop inflammations and even signs of ageing due to certain enzymes that can destroy your collagen levels. In most cases, this usually happens when you change your skin care products too often.
Products with high pH (alkaline) affect the permeability of your skin, and when the permeability of your skin is compromised, it becomes vulnerable to skin issues, irritants, and microorganisms.
Ideally, our skin should be slightly acidic, meaning that its pH level should be 5.5; it’s okay if it is somewhere between 4.8 and 6. When your skin pH is between those scales, your akin barriers function so actively that it guides and protect you against all toxins, bacteria, and other external factors.
It isn’t easy to measure the pH of the skin directly. However, a dermatologist can help you determine it by using a pH meter to analyse your skin surface, identify any shift in your pH level, and evaluate your skin condition or the state of your skin issues. There are still many ways to determine if your pH levels are off-balance.
Usually, your skin will give you signs when something is not right, keep an eye out for these signs excessive oiliness, dry patches, redness and rashes, eczema, acne, and psoriasis, among others. All these are signs that your skin’s acid mantle is damaged.
Having known that, several factors and habits can disrupt your skin’s pH levels. They include age, excessive sun exposure, eating habits, harsh soaps and cleansers, hard water, etc.
Balancing the pH of your skin is important to maintain healthy skin aks prevent various skin issues. Below are some ways to balance the skin’s pH.
1. USE A GENTLE CLEANSER
Always use a gentle, pH-balanced cleanser to wash your face. Avoid using soap or cleansers that can damage the skin’s natural pH balance.
2. AVOID HOT WATER
Hot water can strip your skin of natural oils and disrupt pH balance. Instead, use lukewarm water to wash your face.-
3. USE A TONER
After cleansing, a toner can help in balancing the skin’s pH. Go for a toner that contains natural ingredients at the same time, alcohol-free.
Moisturising the skin helps a lot in balancing its natural pH balance. Look for a pH-balanced moisturiser that contains natural ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and glycerin.
5. AVOID OVER-EXFOLIATING
Exfoliating helps remove dead skin cells, but over-exfoliating can disrupt the skin’s pH balance. Reduce your exfoliating routine to once or twice a week.
6. EAT A BALANCED DIET
One way to maintain healthy skin is by having a balanced diet. Eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
7. MANAGE STRESS
Stress can disrupt the skin’s pH balance. Try practising stress management techniques, which include meditation, yoga, or deep breathing exercises.
Dorcas Akintoye is a dedicated writer with more than 2 years prolific experience in writing articles ranging from food, entertainment, fashion and beauty. She has a National Diploma in Mass Communication from Kwara State Polytechnic, Ilorin. She loves writing, listening to music and playing scrabble. She is a highly-skilled, enthusiastic, selfmotivated professional writer.