What is pH and why does it matter to your Skincare?
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What is the right pH for our skin?
Everything in nature is about balance, and that is also true when it comes to our skin. Achieving the delicate Ying and Yang of beautiful skin may come down to maintaining the right pH balance. So, what is the right pH level of healthy skin? On a scale of 0 to 14, the ideal state is slightly acidic and is around pH 4.7 according to experts but can vary between pH 4 and pH 7 for a normal and healthy skin. In general, anything below 7 is considered acidic, while anything with a pH greater than 7 is considered alkaline. It’s important to know that while the differences between pH numbers might seem small, the pH scale is logarithmic, which means a tenfold increase multiplied by 10 separates each pH number. That is why pH 4 is 100 times more powerful than a pH 6.
Why is the skin’s pH important?
The term pH stands for ‘potential hydrogen’ and measures how much alkaline or acid is in a substance. It concerns the activity of hydrogen ions in a water-based solution. Hydrogen makes up two thirds of water, water being two hydrogen molecules plus an oxygen molecule. The reason our skin is slightly more acidic is thanks to a fine protective layer on its surface, called the acid mantle. Imagine your skin as a protective cocktail of fatty acids from the sebaceous glands combined with amino and lactic acids from sweat. This creates an acidic barrier that protects our skin from bacteria, viruses and other pollutants. If the acid mantle is out of balance or weak, it could lead to an array of skin problems. Skin’s acidic pH also plays a role in keeping its delicate microbiome balanced. An acidic microbiome makes it more difficult for harmful pathogens to multiply, and lets the good one’s flourish.
Healthy Eating and the pH of Healthy Skin?
The acid mantle can be affected from the inside out, through diet and maintaining a healthy digestive system. For example, too much sugar or dairy products can increase your body’s production of sebum, which can disrupt the pH balance. Both dairy and meat fall on the acidic side, and eating too much can increase inflammation. Meanwhile, a balanced diet with alkaline promoting foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes help your body fight off diseases. Maintaining a healthy gut by taking prebiotics and probiotics is also connected to healthy, resilient skin, especially when it comes to healing eczema, rosacea, and acne.
What pH Should Your Face Wash Be?
Repeatedly disturbing skin’s pH to a strong degree can lead to or worsen many problems, including common skin disorders and cause that dry, tight feeling from washing soaps as most are alkaline. Did you ever wondered why some cleansers give your skin that super clean and tight feeling? They might be disrupting your skin’s natural pH level. In order to avoid problems, many people look for pH-balanced skin care products, but not all products are labeled with their pH levels. The good news is that the vast majority of rinse-off and leave-on skin care products are already pH-balanced. Chemists are aware of how the pH of skin care products impacts our skin, so they usually take formulary steps to ensure a balance. It’s best to choose soap-free cleansers that are pH balanced and hydrate your skin such as the Naked Actives Hydrating Cleanser that are suitable for all skin types.
If not used properly, acidic products such as AHAs can temporarily disrupt the moisture barrier by over-stripping the skin’s natural oils and actually worsen the problems of acne-prone skin. Other irritants for your skin could be fragrances, essential oils or foaming agents like sodium lauryl sulfate. These are common ingredients in skincare products that could be disrupting your skin’s acid mantle and causing irritations so one has to be aware of this. When in doubt over what is causing your skin to become irritated it is best to do less, not more!
Sometimes just using a selection of simple products with active ingredients such as the ones that can be found in the Naked Actives range can help your skin regulate its pH level, and might just be the key to achieving beautifully balanced, glowing skin.
Vitamin C is highly acidic but most Vitamin C products containing ascorbic acid have a pH 2.6–3.2. Naked Actives Vitamin C Serum, which contains Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate absorbs easily into the skin and has a pH of closer to 7 which is a less potent derivative of Vitamin C but still works wonders to brighten and protect and is suitable for all skin types.
Hyaluronic Acid is incredibly effective for plumping and delivering moisture to the skin while also being very light. It doesn’t clog up pores and can be applied alone directly on to damp skin or follow the application of other serums for added moisturizing benefits.
A concentrated, active polypeptide serum, such as Naked Actives EGF Serum works on the deeper layers of the skin to heal, regenerate and renew.
Naked Actives Anti-Aging Eye Cream helps the delicate and sensitive eye area which is prone to dryness and one of the first areas to show signs of aging as it keeps it well hydrated and balanced.
Our advice is to choose products that are pH balanced or products formulated with a pH that falls in the same range as the skin’s natural barrier. Avoid consistently disrupting the pH levels in the skin, allowing the skin to naturally regulate itself so as to prevent breakouts, irritation and inflammation.