Skincare products, commercials, beauty counter attendants, magazine ads and blogs keep mentioning the term ‘pH balance’ and its importance. But do you know what it means and how it affects your skin in the long run? Fret not if you don’t, we are here to give you the entire scoop on pH levels and why it matters when it comes to skincare products.
What is pH?
Our skin has the ability to naturally fight infections and environmental stressors, its capability to do so is determined by the pH level. The pH is a scale to measure how acidic or alkaline a product is, 1 being most acidic and 14 being most alkaline. 7 is considered to be a neutral pH level. However, the natural pH level of our skin lies anywhere in between 4.5 to 5.5, meaning our skin is more on the acidic side. This is because our skin is covered under a blanket of acid mantle which serves as the skin’s first defence mechanism against external elements.
What affects the pH?
All your skincare products right from soaps and moisturisers to toners and masks can affect the pH of your skin due to the presence of certain ingredients such as alcohol. Apart from this external factor such as splashing some water on your face can raise the skin’s pH instantly and keep it that way for a long time. Any product that comes in contact with your skin always affects the pH, therefore it is important to use pH balancing skincare products to ensure it stays in the appropriate levels. The longer your skin’s pH is imbalanced, the longer your skin is exposed to environmental stressors and bad bacteria.
How to maintain optimal pH skincare balance?
When the acid mantle of the skin is disturbed, it results in skin conditions like dermatitis, rosacea and eczema. When your skin feels dry or tight after washing, it means that the acid mantle is disturbed. This is the easiest way to identify whether a facial cleanser is working well for your skin or not. The biggest culprit in disrupting the skin’s natural pH balance is sodium lauryl sulfate or SLS. Avoid products that have SLS in this ingredient list. Use products that leave your skin feeling nourished after use, you can also include a pH balancing toner in your skincare routine.