If your skin has been off kilter lately, or just looking older than it should, check your pH level. We’ve all seen the term “pH balanced” advertised on various products, but how does pH relate to the appearance of your skin? When the factors creating pH are in perfect harmony, your skin has a revitalized, youthful glow. Today we’ll take a look at the science behind the outward signs of pH imbalance, and suggest products tailored to your skin’s unique chemistry.
What Is pH?
Your skin’s pH, or; “potential hydrogen” level works on sliding scale from 0 to 14, with 0 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. A normal rating is near an ideal 5.5 pH, just a bit acidic. This slightly acidic quality is the key to keeping your skin’s youthful appearance in check, and protecting its delicate outer layer from outside harm.
How to Achieve the Ideal pH
Your skin’s first line of defense against environmental toxins is a thin layer known as the “acid mantle”. When it’s in perfect 5.5 pH balance, it can effectively guard against the effects of bacteria and UV damage, while keeping in vital moisture. It’s made up of free fatty acids produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands, and a mixture of sweat, amino acids, and lactic acid. The acidity or alkalinity of these elements combined is what determines your pH, so using products which are balanced or geared toward your skin’s existing alkalinity or acidity will result in a healthy, well-balanced mantle of 5.5 pH which translates to glowing, youthful looking skin.
Where Does your Skin Rate on the Scale from 0-14?
You can have a physician test your pH level, or look for the following telltale signs of imbalance: If your skin is prone to chronic dryness, sensitivity, loss of elasticity, or premature wrinkles, your acid mantle may be too alkaline. Go for products with a slight acidity to restore your pH balance to normal so your skin has a fighting chance against UV rays and toxins which are causing it to look years beyond its age. Skin that is too acidic may appear red and irritated, or produce too much oil as it tries to recover from being stripped of its natural oils after excess use of harsh products.
Choosing the Right Product for your pH
The more acidic a product is, the lower its pH will be, so those with more extreme symptoms of overly alkaline skin will benefit from a stronger, more acidic product such as a peel.
Consider a medium strength peel like the Jessner 14% Peel Kit to treat dull, tired looking skin. It contains lactic acid, one of the keys to your skin’s healthy pH level. Make sure to follow with Daily Collagen Complex and Hyaluronic Moisturizer, and a daily SPF 30 to maintain your acid mantle’s healthy balance of moisture and protection.
If your skin is normal or acne prone, a pH-balanced daily exfoliator such as the Salicylic 2% Daily Exfoliator is perfect for you. This product curbs excessive oil production while it increases collagen production, all without disrupting the delicate balance of your skin’s acid mantle.
Skin that is too acidic or has been exposed to extremely acidic products can become stripped of its healthy oils, making it painful and overly sensitive. Apply a Neutralizer Solution Spray directly after a peel to stop the chemical reaction from causing too much redness and exfoliation. It calms and cools the skin and helps to return its pH balance to that ideal state of harmony.