Do you know that an out-of-sync pH balance may be the real cause behind most of your skin problems? Balancing your skin pH should be your first priority when it comes to your #SkinCareRegimen.
What’s an ideal Skin pH?
Our skin, when healthy, has several layers of natural barriers, (or armour if you will) that fight hundreds of environmental stresses, potential irritants, pollution, bacteria and infections. The first of these natural shields is the ‘Acid Mantle’ which regulates the pH level of the outermost layer of our skin. The acid mantle of the skin is a thin layer that is made up of sebum (from the sebaceous glands), lactic acid and amino acids (from sweat) to create the ideal Skin pH of value ~ 5.5.
Did you know? – pH or ‘Power of Hydrogen’ refers to the concentration of hydrogen in water. Since our skin is mostly made of water, knocking off of few hydrogens molecules here and there can disrupt the balance of your skin. Certain enzymes such as PhospholipaseA2 and protein NH1 work together to keep the microbiome and the pH of your skin intact.
Things that can Throw your Skin Off-Balance:
Contributing factors for an out-of-sync skin pH are: Sun Damage, Hormonal Fluctuations, Clogged Pores, the use of Alkaline Soaps, over Exfoliation, Dysbiosis, (or instability of the skin’s microbiome structure), Hard Water, Poor Nutrition and Seasonal Sensitivity.
Your Skin Type – Too Acidic or Too Basic?
Your skin may become pH unbalanced if you are using products that are either too Acidic or too Basic (Alkaline) or aren’t buffered the correct way. If you test your skin’s pH level (using pH strips available at any drugstore) and you get a reading of too Alkaline (above 6.5) or too Acidic (below 4.5), realize that restoring the pH balance of your skin will help you resolve at least half of your skin problems.
Effects of Acidic Skin pH:
Though our skin loves an acidic pH environment, maintaining a too acidic pH for a prolonged period of time (below 4.5) may actually lead to an oily and acne prone skin. This works as a cycle wherein more drying agents used on your skin can further trigger the hyperactive oil glands to secrete more (and unnecessary) oil. An acidic pH causes your sebaceous gland to become hyperactive, and hormonal and genetic conditions can further aggravate it. Oil plus clogged pores can lead to pimples, blackheads and eventually blemishes and scars. If you experience too much of a oily sheen on your face or have frequent acne encounters, you must switch over to a pH balancing product line and diet immediately.
Direct application of highly acidic ingredients on your skin (for instance raw lemon or raw grapefruit juice) can dry out your skin more quickly and turn it into a peeling agent (this in turn signals the oil glands to secret more sebum). However, when combined with other hydrating agents, these ingredients with high acid contents are brined out and made milder to let your oily skin harness the benefits of the right pH.
Here’s a Check-List for a skin with acidic pH:
- Your skin doesn’t feels thoroughly clean (or stays oily) after cleansing.
- You never feel the need to moisturize your face (it’s already so greasy)!
- Your skin is Hypersensitive to just about any product you put on it.
- Your skin feels plump and dewy, but on the oilier side.
- Your skin often feels red and irritated.
- Your skin is highly prone to breakouts and acne flares.
Effects of Basic Skin pH:
If you have a basic skin pH, it means your acid mantle and protective lipids have been stripped, leaving your skin prey to harmful UV rays, Pathogenic Bacteria, and Environmental Stressors. These thing all lead to Chronic Dryness, Wrinkling and other signs of Premature Aging of the Skin. Excessive Scrubbing, Cleansing, Exfoliation and the use of harsh ingredients can further damage your skin and delay or even halt production of collagen fibers, which is a disaster for your skin’s youthful appearance!
Also, note that overuse of certain ingredients like Retinoic Acid, Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids and Amino Fruit Acids in products that claim to ‘balance pH’ can sometimes prove to be disastrous for your skin if not used in the right quantity. If you have the following conditions, your skin might be too Alkaline or Basic pH:
- Your skin feels tight and dry after cleansing.
- You feel the need to moisturize your face at least twice a day.
- Your skin becomes sensitive to products/cosmetics you frequently use.
- Your skin may sometimes become dry and flaky with rough patches.
- Your skin look dull and may have fine lines, especially in the morning.
- Your skin may be prone to occasional breakouts.
- You may feel a stinging sensation after applying certain products.
- Your skin rarely feels plump, moist and full of life.
To Wrap up Todays Post: Your skin is your body’s largest organ and an out-of-sync skin pH is one of the largest factors for all kinds of serious skin issues, including accelerated aging of the skin. Stay tuned for next week’s post: ‘6 Ways to Rebalance your Skin’s pH levels Naturally’.