What does pH mean?
You probably haven’t heard of the pH scale since science class in high school. Here’s a refresher - pH stands for potential hydrogen. It is a measure of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. The scale ranges from 0, very acidic, to 14, very alkaline, 7 being neutral.
How does pH apply to your skin?
When it comes to skin care, pH matters. The skin’s optimal pH level is slightly acidic, ranging from 4.7 and 5.7.
Check out this pH chart that highlights where the skin's optimal pH level lies:
The acid mantle (a mixture of sebum, sweat, and dead skin cells) is used to describe the acidic nature of your skin's surface:
“A very thin film on the surface of our skin that acts as a barricade to bacteria and other viral substances trying to penetrate," says Sandra Lee, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist.
The pH of your skin, is reliant on the skin's acid mantle. This acid mantle protects skin against external influences like bacteria, allergens and pollution whilst maintaining moisture. When a pH level gets disturbed, skin can become with too oily or too dry.
What can factors can affect skin pH?
Various factors affect skin pH. Among them, internal factors may include age, sebum, sweat, and skin moisture. Free fatty acids from sebum are one element that determines the skin's pH.
As we age, the body’s natural alkaline reserve (which helps counteract excess acidity) declines. As adults, the skin becomes more acidic as it’s exposed to lifestyle and environmental factors.
Excessive sun exposure and air pollution all contribute to the breakdown of the acid mantle, causing the skin to become more alkaline which can lead to skin dryness and pigmentation.
Other external factors include the usage of naturally alkaline products such as soaps. They can alter the skin’s naturally acidic pH which in some cases, can lead to redness and dry skin.
Beauty Reporter, Devon Abelman states that: "the tight, squeaky-clean feeling you might experience after washing your face is the truest sign of cleansers with a high pH and damaged skin barrier. They, as well as other alkaline skin-care products, tend to strip away sebum and natural oils."
How can you bring balance back to your skin?
- Eliminate harsh soaps
- Use Luke warm water to rinse your face
- Be gentle with cleansing
- Apply the right moisturiser
- Use a toner - They are primarily formulated to balance the pH level in your skin. A skin toner can help neutralise any remaining alkalinity that’s adversely affecting your skin’s optimal pH levels. Try Kokoa’s Organic Rosewater & Glycerin Toner