If you’re trying to get this “science of skincare” down, you may feel like you are revisiting your high school chemistry class with a slightly more positive attitude. Maybe you can learn something useful about your skin while you’re keeping your brain cells from degenerating. Some of the concepts may even be starting to sound familiar. You vaguely recall the phrase PH being tossed about. Are you wondering what that has to do with your skin? Here’s a little rundown on how it all balances out.
pH Levels and Your Skin
In short, pH is a measure of the acidity of a substance. To provide perspective, on a scale of 1-14, battery acid clocks in at 0, while a level of 14 indicates the most alkaline, or basic substances. Your skin should come in at about 4.5-5.5. The measurement is a little more acidic than basic. The larger percent of acidity helps skin retain moisture and fight bacteria, allergens, wind, and pollutants. Environmental factors and UV light can throw off your skin’s pH resulting in all sorts of reactions, including inflammation, dry skin, and even eczema. To keep skin in its best shape, you should try to make sure you’re keeping that number as close to its recommended PH level as possible.
Most of us grew up putting our faith in soap. It kept us clean, our mothers were always telling us to use it. Since when did it become the bad guy? The thing about soap is that it has a pH of about 9-11 which is really much too basic for your skin. The most alkaline cleansers are used for heavy duty cleaning; drain pipe cleaners have a pH level of about 14. Look for cleansers that say “pH balanced or “soap free” to make sure your skin is maintaining a healthy level of acidity.
Don’t Over Peel
Most people are results oriented, and peeling products give quick results; however, there can be such a thing as too much of a good thing. Peeling is intended to slough off dead skin, but once the dead skin is gone, you’re removing more than that. If you’re breaking out, or experiencing redness and inflammation, you should probably take it as a sign to slow down. You’re breaking down your skin’s defences.
You’re always hearing about how you are what you eat, so it should come as no surprise that it is no different when it comes to your pH level. Since what you consume is filtered through your skin cells when you sweat; sweat has a lot of influence on your pH level. Processed foods tend to be acidic, so you need to make sure your diet has a lot of dark leafy green veggies to keep your skin balanced and protected against breakouts.
Product pH Levels
The good news is that you really don’t have to do much math to keep your pH balanced. It’s not a case of trying to neutralize a breakout caused by a high acid level by using alkaline products; you’re likely to go in the opposite direction. Most of the math has been done for you. Just look for products with the same pH level recommended for your skin, between 4.5 and 5.5. If you want to figure out how much pH is in a product, you an purchase pH testing kits from the drugstore.
We hope you enjoyed your chemistry lesson for today. Let us know what you’re doing to keep your pH in check, Let us hear your comments and suggestions.