Did you know that the pH level of your skin will determine what it looks like. Keep on reading to find out more!
The Importance Of Balancing Your Skin’s pH Level
pH! What does it mean and does it really matter? According to leading dermatologists, your skin’s pH level is often an element that is overlooked, but is the determining factor for how your skin looks, reacts and ages. Let’s dive deeper into the basics of pH, how it affects your skin’s acid mantle (and what that means) and ways to balance your skin’s pH through skincare and diet.
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What is pH?
pH stands for Potential Hydrogen, which measures the amount of hydrogen concentration in an area. In laymen’s terms, pH measures the acid-alkaline ratio of a substance, such as your skin. The scale for measuring acid-alkaline starts at 0 and goes up to 14 – anything that falls within 0-7 is acidic, while 7-14 is considered alkaline. A neutral pH level is 7. The desired pH level of your skin is 5.5 – not too acidic, and not too alkaline. In fact, it’s just right (remember it’s all about creating that balance, ladies! In work, life and even skincare!).
When skin is too alkaline, it begins to appear dry and flaky, and will age faster; skin that is too acidic is red, inflamed and plagued with conditions such as acne. It has also been said that an overly acidic body can lead to fatigue, stomach issues, adrenal fatigue, respiratory issues, and more.
What Is “Acid Mantle” & How Does pH Affect That?
Firstly, everyone has an acid mantle. It’s on your face! The term acid mantle is used to refer to the thin, slightly acidic layer on your skin’s surface that protects it from bacteria, viruses and other contaminants such as pollution, smoking, stress, etc. As we age, our skin’s acid mantle begins to break down due to external factors such as stress and environment. The effectiveness of our skin’s acid mantle is dependent on our pH level, which in turn is influenced by the interaction of the acid mantle’s production of sebum, along with amino and lactic acids produced by sweat. It’s all interrelated, proving that our body is one large system! It should be noted that your acid mantle is also affected by which skincare products you use, lifestyle habits such as smoking or drinking excess amounts of coffee, and your diet. So, now that we know that the pH of our skin determines the effectiveness of our acid mantle, which, in turn, determines the way our skin looks, acts and ages, how do we restore our skin’s natural balance?
How To Balance pH
If your skin is dry and flaky or irritated and breakout-prone, your skin’s pH is probably out of balance. The key ways to restore balance to your body and skin are through diet and proper skincare products.
Choosing skincare products that are pH-balanced are crucial to restoring your skin to its natural, healthy state. Avoid washing your skin with soap as they tend to be extremely alkaline, resulting in dry and tight skin. When it comes to cleansers, choose foaming cleansers for acne-prone skin and non-foaming, milky or cream-based cleansers for dry skin. To help the skin become more acidic (only if it is alkaline), invest in a good glycolic peel and toner (toners are great at restoring your skin’s pH balance. The toner we use and swear by is Andalou 1000 Roses Floral Facial Toner (a skincare line we’ll be reviewing soon!).
If your skin is too acidic, use peels moderately, moisturize and protect your skin with antioxidants and sunscreen. We don’t mean to harp about this line (but it’s so gosh darn good and has helped with our own irritation/acne problems), but the Andalou 1000 Roses Starter Kit is incredibly soothing, made for sensitive skin and will boost your skin’s resilience to external factors such as pollution and stress.
Just as important as skincare is diet! Diet plays a huge role in determining both your internal and external pH level. It should be noted that foods with a certain pH will be processed differently once ingested. For example, lemons are acidic, but when consumed become alkaline in the body; conversely, animal proteins are alkaline but become acidic once ingested.
When attempting to restore your pH levels to neutral (or somewhere around there), it is important to consume foods that are highly alkaline-forming. These include sea vegetables, leafy greens, herbal teas, nuts, seeds, and sprouts. For a list of alkaline-forming foods, click here.
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