Skin pH Levels : The Balancing Act

Dryness, sensitivity, and oiliness of the skin are results of an imbalanced pH level.

| Aug 21, 2017 @ 00:11 | Skincare |

Skin pH Levels : The Balancing Act

For most people, leading a balanced lifestyle ranks high on each New Year’s resolution list. More often than not, many focus solely on balancing external factors such as work, stress and personal life. A balance within the body and skin, also known as pH, is crucial to maintaining overall wellness.

If you have ever wondered why some products cause your skin to become irritated, red, or break out, the pH balance of your skin could be a factor. Read on to find out the causes and how an unbalanced skin pH can be resolved.

Add healthy, clear, and balanced skin to your wish list this year! 

Skin pH 101

What exactly is pH? pH stands for potential for hydrogen. It is used to denote the acidic – alkaline ratio of a subject, based on a scale from 1 (the most acidic) to 14 (the most alkaline).

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The skin has a protective layer called the acid mantle which is made up of sebum, lactic and amino acids from sweat. It is responsible for retaining moisture while resisting germs, bacteria, pollution and other environmental aggressors. For the skin to be fully protected by the acid mantle, it needs to be maintained at a balanced pH level.

Ideally, the skin’s pH level should be between 5.0 to 5.5 – which is just slightly acidic. In a scientific report published by the US National Library of Medicine, skin with pH values below 5.0 is in a better condition than skin with pH values above 5.0. The skin’s barrier function and moisturisation perform better when the skin is just slightly acidic.

Why is a balanced skin pH important?

A healthy acid mantle helps to achieve a desirable pH for the skin to absorb skincare products. The slight acidity also helps fight off bacteria - resulting in even healthier and more radiant skin tone and texture. 

Inversely, the acid mantle will be broken down gradually if the skin’s pH levels are put off balance. Due to the cracks in the acid mantle, the skin will be less resistant to bacteria and other harmful environmental elements. Sebum secretion and moisture levels will also be affected as well due to the lack of a protective barrier - which could increase the occurrence of breakouts and infections.

If your skin is on the Alkaline side

It is most likely you are experiencing dry, dull and flaky skin. Dehydrated skin are more prone to showing signs of pre mature aging such as wrinkles, and UV damage. An overly alkaline skin pH may cause the skin to have dry patches, and in more severe cases, eczema and psoriasis.

If your skin is on the Acidic side

It is likely that you are experiencing oily and clogged skin with large and visible pores. More often than not, those with this skin type tend to over wash their face which leads to dehydrated and sensitive skin. An overly acidic skin pH may also manifest itself in a sensitive, irritation prone - complexion. 

So how do we achieve the ideal 5.5 pH level?

Don’t worry, its not has hard as you think! 

Step 1 – Assess your skin

An assessment must be made to determine the current pH level of the skin. You may do a DIY home version simply by looking in the mirror, and observing the skin’s texture by referring to the section above.

While physical observance of the skin texture provides a brief gauge on the skin’s pH level, the most accurate assessment is still through the use of a skin analysis machine. These machines are designed to detect and provide a specific pH reading.

A high pH level reading indicates that the skin is dry


Step 2 – Cleanse

The next step is to use skincare products that are suited to balance the skin’s pH level. Start off with a cleanser that is suitable for your skin. Since the skin is naturally slightly acidic, go for neutral or slightly acidic cleansers.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid harsh soaps and cleansers that have an alkaline pH. Soaps that have an alkaline pH level often leave the skin tight, itchy and dry. Avoid cleansers that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate, or Parabens.

To gain a more in-depth understanding of what ingredients are best suited for your skin type, read our previous article here.


Step 3 – Tone

After cleansing, the skin will not be at the optimal 5.5 pH level. This is where toners are essential to your skincare routine. It helps regulate the slightly alkaline skin after washing, prepping it to absorb all the serums, moisturizers and creams after. 

Avoid letting your expensive creams and serums go to waste by ensuring your skin is at its optimal pH level!

Step 4 - A healthy diet!

As the old adage goes “You are what you eat”, it is important to remember to be well hydrated throughout the day and have a well-balanced diet that is rich in antioxidant foods like leafy vegetables, low sugar fruits, nuts, and grains. It is advisable to avoid caffeine and alcohol as it dehydrates the body.

However, for caffeine lovers who need their morning cuppa, try drinking 1 cup of water for every cup of caffeine beverage intake. It is just as important to maintain an internal pH in the body as it directly affects the skin’s pH level.

You might be surprised how much these little, inexpensive tweaks can help get your skin back on track!

Curious to find out if your skin’s pH level is balanced? Carragheen is extending a complimentary skin analysis for our beloved readers.

You may also choose to take a step closer to achieving a balanced skin pH with our facial treatments. First time facial customers get to enjoy 30% off your first facial with us!

Simply drop us a call at 6222 3376 and book your appointment! 

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