The pH of your skin is how acidic or alkaline (basic) your skin is. When your skin’s pH is imbalanced, it shows up as wrinkles, acne, dry skin or oily skin. When your pH is balanced, your skin more dewy and plump. It makes sense then that you have to balance your skin’s pH.
Balanced pH of your skin should be around 5.5 which is slightly acidic. The thin outer layer of your skin is called the acid mantle which is a protective layer that keeps the good stuff (like moisture) in and the bad stuff (like bacteria) out. Overusing products or tools that disrupt the skin’s pH and thus the acid mantle, leaves your pores wide open to the bad stuff getting in and causing more damage in the deeper layers. Products that destroy the acid mantle are typical anything that works as an exfoliator. There’s nothing wrong with exfoliating, but it should be done sparingly and using gentler methods. It’s a good idea to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. If the bottle says to use it once a week, then don’t use it on a daily basis.
Balanced skin is slightly on the acidic side, as being too alkaline can also lead to other issues.
Skin is too Alkaline?
Very oily, acne prone or very dry skin are often signs of skin’s pH being too alkaline. The alkalinity can cause your skin to be extremely brittle and dry resulting in fine lines and wrinkles or acne flareups as your skin produces more oil to makeup for the dryness. Alkaline skin that is not pH balanced accelerates the break down of collagen and increased inflammation leading to faster aging.
Skin is too Acidic?
Even though the skin pH needs to be on the acidic side, if it’s too acidic it can also lead to issues like being too sensitive. Sensitive skin is easily irritated, red and inflamed. Skin becomes too acidic when it is over processed by the overuse of harsh cleaners, harsh scrubbing or exfoliants. Skin becomes stripped down and results in red, irritated and inflamed skin.
So how do you balance your skin’s pH?
Fortunately the skin’s resilience means your skin barrier will return to its naturally slightly acidic pH fairly quickly provided you do the right things.
The skin’s pH can only be balanced by using the correct products, and not over processing the skin with stripping agents. Below are the 3 key tips to balancing your skin’s pH:
- Use a pH balancing toner. Fortunately most toners have pH balancing as its primary function, so just about any toner will do, unless your skin is easily irritated (acidic), then it’s best to use a toner that’s alcohol free.
- Gentle face washes and face washing methods should also be used. It’s better to use a low pH cleanser, but for those with acne who might still need foam cleansers, following up with a toner is essential.
- Avoid overly scented products with harsh ingredients.
- Cut down on exfoliating your skin. If you need to repair your skin’s barrier, try not to exfoliate for a fee weeks You can then do it once a week using a gentle enzyme peel or gentle manual exfoliation. Avoid overly chemically scented products and harsh scrubs.
It takes up to 6 weeks for your skin’s barrier to be renewed and restored, so stick to a routine and you will see results.