What is pH?
pH is a measure of acidity. pH of 7 is neutral. The lower the pH, the more acidic it becomes. In other words, pH 6 is slightly acidic and pH 2 is strongly acidic. Above pH7 is the range for alkaline (opposite of acidic).
Why is It Important in Skincare?
The skin has a thin, protective layer on its surface, called the acid mantle. It is a naturally secreted, thin and protective film that covers your skin, made up of oils, fatty acids, lactic acid, amino acids. Acid mantle is skin’s own natural moisturizing factor, and your skin needs it to stay waterproof, protect from dusts and environmental toxins and resist infections. This Acid Mantle’s pH is delicately balanced, and disrupting it could lead to dryness and premature aging.
What pH is Good for the Skin
The natural pH of the skin is slightly acidic around pH 5.5. This is because the lower pH helps your skin stave off harmful bacteria and fungi. The sweat is a little more acidic ranging from pH 4 to 5.5. Ideally, the pH should not rise above 6.
However, many of the body washes and commercial soaps have a pH range of 9 to 11, which will raise the pH of the acid mantle to above 6. Acne-causing bacteria thrive at pH between 6 and 6.5. A telltale sign of high pH is the tight squeaky clean feeling after a wash, which means the acid mantle is stripped away.
How to recover from damaged Acid Mantle?
The acid mantle will generally rebuild itself over time, which can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 14 hours. The duration depends on how much it has been disrupted or damaged, and how much your skin secretes acid mantle.
TIPS: So How Do You Protect and Preserve the Acid Mantle?
It follows the tips from our first blog (Dry Winter Skincare Guide) with a few additions:
1. Use pH-balanced soaps and body washes.
2. Do NOT use bar soaps! They are highly alkaline and also very strong detergents that will effectively strip all oils from the skin, compromising the skin barrier.
3. Do not use mechanical exfoliation.
4. Avoid Cleansing Wipes. Most of them have alcohol, which will strip away virtually all oil from the acid mantle.
Your skin needs a certain amount of oil to stay waterproof, protect from dusts and environmental toxins and resist infections. Without the oil, the skin can dry out and develop wrinkles prematurely. If skincare products are formulated without the concern of pH balance on the skin, it can dissolve the oils.
Blog Article #3