The word “pH-balanced” skincare has been a big buzz in the industry. A lot of brands are racing to market this label as a better option for our skin health on the product. But what does it mean and does it matter?
1. What is pH
Back in chemistry class in high school, we learned about pH as the measure of how acidic or alkaline a surface is. pH ranges from a scale of 1 – 14. with 7 being neutral, 1 being most acidic, and 14 most alkaline. Basically, anything that is higher than 7 is considered alkaline while anything below 7 is considered acidic.
2. Skin acid mantle
The word acid mantle was coined for the first time back in 1928. Our skin in its healthy state has a layer of ‘acid’ mantle at a pH of around 4.5 – 6. This acid mantle is made as our skin’s natural defense system. It has antibacterial properties (keeping an optimal pH for skin’s natural flora to thrive) and its acidity also drives our normal skin cell function and desquamation of dead skin cells. It plays an important role in skin condition and becomes key for the skin’s protective barrier. Due to this physiological function of the acid mantle, there are more and more skincare products that formulated with the balanced pH imitating the acid mantle to keep our skin functioning properly.
3. What can affect our skin acid mantle
However, there are so many external factors that can affect the acidity of our skin surface and make them more alkaline. Here are some factors that can affect them :
• Age (acid mantle diminishes and become less acidic, drier, and prone to fine lines)
• Change in season
• Harsh detergents
• Sebum (skin moisture)
• Water pH
• Chronic sun exposure
• Overwashing your skin
4. How can you maintain a healthy and balanced skin pH?
1) Wash your face with gentle and pH-balanced cleansers
Washing your face is a crucial step in your routine, but can also be one of the most damaging. The alteration of your skin’s natural pH being one of them. Therefore, to minimize the damage that can be done by this step, using a pH-balanced skincare product is highly recommended. Look for a gentle cleanser that has a pH ranging from 5 – 5.5.
Gentle Black Facial Cleanser
2) You can also opt for an acidic toner
Using a toner to balance or neutralize the alkalinity has been widely commercialized. Although it is not entirely true since our skin has a natural ability to restore its’ natural pH, using a product that can help boost and support our skin can definitely help. You can ideally choose a skincare product with a pH ranging from 4.5 – 7.
Skin Activating Solution
5. How to check whether your product has optimal pH balance?
• Look for label “pH-balanced” or “balances skin pH level”, “pH ~5.5”, etc
• Get a litmus paper and do the pH test
Overall, the acid mantle can be one of our skin’s first lines of defense and it is important to keep them intact to keep our skin functioning properly. Have you used a pH-balanced cleanser in your skincare routine?