The Fundamental of Skin Care, pH Balance
Do you prefer squeaky clean face? Did you know that the starting point of skin care is to balance the pH of your skin?
I kind of knew that it is good to use the acid balanced shampoo or the shampoo with the same pH as the scalp. But, I did not know why.
What is pH?
The pH (Percentage of Hydrogen) is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration indicated in number. The neutral point is pH 7 and pH lower than that is acidic while, pH higher than that is alkaline.
pH of the Skin?
The natural pH of our skin falls between 4.5-6.0, which is slightly acidic due to the substances produced from sebaceous glands and sweat glands such as fatty acid, ascorbic acid, lactic acid, amino acid and such. This slightly acidic condition of our skin makes it the natural barrier against germs or other virus like bacteria as they are alkaline and vulnerable to the acidic environment.
Also, the slightly acidic skin condition plays an important role in activating the specific enzyme needed for keeping the skin’s balance. When the skin’s pH is in normal range, skin recovers and heals itself and stimulate the health sebum production. In reverse, if pH balance is not managed well, it may interrupt the sebum production.
Why is it important to keep the pH balance of the skin?
Our skin needs to keep the certain range of pH because of Keratin, the protein layer forming the skin surface. Keratin consists 10-30% of water and this smoothens your skin texture. If pH is below 4.0, the skin loses its moisture and elasticity, and eventually become rough and stiff. Moreover, when the keratin hardens, the metabolism of secreting glands is adversely affected.
Let me take the cleansing product as an example. The cleansers and soaps that give you squeaky-clean sensation are mostly alkaline. And now, think about the water that we use. Water has neutral pH 7, which is higher than that of our skin. Hands becoming rough and dry when frequently exposed to water is also related to pH. If you use the alkaline cleansing product frequently, you may clean your hand thoroughly, but you may also irritate your skin by destroying the sebum layer.
When damaged, healthy skin takes about 2 hours to get back to its normal pH, while much longer time is needed for the skin with weak layer. If the pH of the skin continues to be high, it may cause inflammation, dryness, redness and other skin troubles such as acne. That’s the reason why most of the basic skin care products are alkaline in order to lower the increased pH of the skin right after cleansing, and quickly recover the skin’s pH balance.
Could the acid balanced product not be suitable to some people?
pH of people’s skin changes depends on the age, skin type, gender, weather/season or sometimes race. For oily skin, it has a higher pH due to active sebum production. Thus, the acid balanced products may not be effective in removing the pollutant on the skin and may cause skin trouble.
For oily skin type, you may use acid balanced cleanser as a base and use the pH balanced natural soap when you are worried about having skin trouble from excessive pollutant on the skin. (the natural soaps are also alkaline, with pH 8-9.)
Sadly enough, there is no 365-days perfectly matching cleanser for everyone.
Even I, do not stick to one cleansing method, but use different ways depending on the given situation. For instance, in the morning when my skin feels dry, I would wash my face with water only, and use an oil cleanser on the day I did an outdoor activity to wash off the sticky sunblock. Because no one else knows better about my skin condition than I do, and the skin condition changes depending on the situation every time.
Use acid balanced or pH balanced skin care products.
Now you know why your daily cleanser and skin care product must have a pH range of 4.5-6, right?
If you would like to check the pH of the products that you are using now, you can always get the litmus paper that you used in the science experience of your primary school. But, just to know that, exfoliating and whitening products with AHA or Retinol are purposefully containing very low acidity to enhance their function.
For your information, don’t forget that all The Brown Bottle product’s pH are balanced to match your skin type!