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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Cleansers: Their pH and What it Means for the Skin

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Washing your face with the right products is one of the most essentials steps to maintaining good skin. Sure, a lot of us have heard about the importance of the pH of cleansers but were quite unsure about just how important of a thing it is in the choice of beauty products that we get to use on an everyday basis. So for those not really in the know, here’s a breakdown of how pH can affect the condition of the skin:

pH: What does it stand for and what does it mean?

pH is the measure of the alkanility or acidity of a liquid solution. The “H” pertains to the concentration of the hydrogen ions in the solution and the “p” refers to the power of the hydrogen ion, thus the acronym “pH”. pH is always measured on a scale of 1-14. A solution that’s neither acidic nor basic/alkaline (neutral) is pegged at pH 7. Water for example, is a neutral solution and has a pH level of 7. Anything with a pH level of less than 7 is considered an acidic solution, while those having a pH of over 7 are referred to as basic or alkaline solutions.

Are pH levels affected by internal conditions (like what people eat) or external conditions (like what products people use)?

Maintaining a balanced pH internally and externally is essential and are both affected by what people ingest and what people use on their skin. If a person’s pH is out of balance it can lead to various problems in digestion, metabolism, circulation, respiration and more.

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How does pH apply to use of skin care products?

Skin is the body’s largest organ and serves as the first line of defense in fighting off infections and other environmental stresses. How well it does those things is affected by its pH. The ideal pH of the body is slightly alkaline at around 7.3-7.4. The skin however is considered pH balanced at around 5.5. If its pH gets either too low or too high, then the acid mantle (the protective layer on the skin’s surface) can no longer protect the skin and the body. To achieve a balanced skin pH levels, it needs to stay hydrated and healthy so it can continue protecting us from irritants, environmental pollutants, harmful free radicals and more. Skin care products can come in different pH levels depending on what kinds of skin conditions they are made for.

What kinds of problems can unbalanced pH lead to?

On a small skin, using of products that have unbalanced ph can lead to skin irritation and other skin issues—everything from premature skin aging, to rosacea, to acne, to eczema. If your skin starts to act up, then it could be a trigger for unbalanced pH. When your skin’s pH levels gets too high, your natural oils gets stripped which can lead to dry, flaky skin, irritation and even acne. Similarly, using products that are too acidic can also strip the skin of its natural oil barriers leaving it prone to infection since its
defenses were already weakened. In other terms, once the skin’s pH gets compromised, your internal organs may soon follow suit.

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Do cleansers come in different pH levels? Is pH level an important factor to consider when choosing the right cleanser?

Yes, they come in different pH levels. In fact, a lot of cleansers may come off as too alkaline for your skin’s natural pH. Again, if your skin starts acting up, then the pH of your cleansers must be off.

If the skin’s pH balance is disrupted, is there a way to bring it back to normal?

Absolutely! There are various products out in the market that can help restore the skin’s natural pH. In choosing cleansers, steer clear of products that have parabens, surfactants, and synthetic fragrances as ingredients as these tend to strip the skin and alter your skin tone’s acidity. Aloe, jojoba, squalene oil and coconut are some of the ingredients that work well with the skin’s natural sebum.

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