We all strive to create balance in our lives – balance creates contentment and that leads to fulfillment. That said, your skin also craves balance – pH balance. We hear a lot about the importance of maintaining the right pH balance in the skin, but what is the big deal?
pH Levels in the Skin
Our skin has a thin, protective layer on the surface, often referred to as the acid mantle. This acid mantle is responsible for keeping in lipids and moisture while blocking germs, pollution, toxins and bacteria in order to maintain healthy skin.
The pH level of the skin refers to how acidic or alkaline your skin is (to simplify things – think of acidic as oily skin and alkaline as dry skin). On a scale from 1 – 14, 1 being the most acidic to 14 being the most alkaline, 7 is considered a neutral reading for your skin’s pH.
Ideally though, the acid mantle should be slightly acidic – about 5.5 pH balance. When the skin becomes too alkaline, it becomes dry and sensitive and this can lead to skin disorders like Eczema.
Alkaline skin can also be inflamed which in the long run can destroy collagen and cause wrinkles and sagging. In fact, studies show that the more alkaline the skin is, the more susceptible it is to sun damage, fine lines and premature aging.
Overly acidic skin is acne prone – if it’s too acidic, it will appear red, inflamed and painful to touch.
So the importance of maintaining balance is clear. But to do that, you first need to determine your own skin’s pH level. Below are a few quick questions to help you do that.
Taking the pH Test
Answer these few questions from womenshealthmag.com – then track your score and find out what your pH level is:
How does your skin feel after cleansing:
- Soft and smooth
- Tight and dry
- Slightly oily or not thoroughly clean
How often do you moisturize your face?
- At least morning and evening
- Once a day
Has your skin become sensitive to products you regularly use, including makeup and creams?
Do you notice that your skin looks duller and has more lines in the morning?
- Yes, usually
- It’s a rare occurrence
Is your skin excessively oily and prone to breakouts (where it was not in the past)?
Does your skin look plump, moist and dewy?
- Almost always
- It’s plump, but more greasy than dewy
Score your pH Balance
Your pH is balanced! Your skin is in perfect balance and able to protect you from environmental damage, UV rays and premature aging. But this is no accident – you must be doing everything right. Cleaning, moisturizing, exfoliating and using the right products for your skin type. Don’t change a thing!
Your pH is too high. Your chronic dryness and wrinkling likely means your acid mantle being diminished – you are too alkaline. When the protective lipids are removed, your skin is susceptible to bacteria, UV rays, and reactions to harsh ingredients. Take a close look at how you are cleansing, scrubbing and hydrating the skin. You need to make sure that your skin can ward off the damaging factors that are making it age prematurely and look older than it should.
Your pH is too low. You have regular oiliness, breakouts and sensitivity. This can often be the cause of or lead to overdoing some treatments excessive cleansing, exfoliating and the use of acid peels – all of which only serve to stimulate more oil production. Take a step back and use products in moderation so as not to overstimulate the skin.
Resource: Acid Test womenshealthmag.com; March 2013