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6 GENTLE LOW-PH CLEANSERS
Since I started blogging about skincare a few years ago, I’ve often harped on the importance of using a gentle, preferably low-pH cleanser. That’s because one of the biggest skincare mistakes I’ve made was using a harsh cleanser that disrupted my moisture barrier and stripped my skin of its natural defenses.
I’m not going to go too into detail about the importance of using a low-pH cleanser, but in brief, you should use a gentle, low-pH cleanser because of the following:
- The skin’s moisture barrier (a combination of lipids, fatty acids, and skin cells) that protects our skin from bacteria, prevents water loss, and defends our skin from environmental stress, is naturally slightly acidic, with a pH level of around pH 5.
- Using a highly alkaline cleanser strips the skin of its natural lipids and disrupts the moisture barrier, leaving skin vulnerable to infection (ie. acne bacteria), vulnerable to water loss, and more sensitive to stress and inflammation.
I would highly suggest reading this post by Skin and Tonics, which first brought this issue to my attention.
I saw a drastic improvement in my skin after I started cleansing properly, removing my makeup with an oil cleanser and then following it with a gentle, low-pH cleanser. (See also: The Three Best Things I’ve Done For My Skin)
It used to be pretty hard to find a low-pH cleanser. There wasn’t a vibrant community on Instagram dedicated to testing the pH of cleansers, for instance, and pretty much everyone who wanted a low-pH cleanser bought the Cosrx Low-pH Gel Cleanser because it was one of the few affordable options out there. While the Cosrx is still a great option, I’m so glad there are a plethora of gentle cleansers on the market now.
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6 GENTLE LOW-PH CLEANSERS
I decided to go through my stash and test all my cleansers, recommending a few that are genuinely gentle, and all pH 5.5 or under. That’s not to say that I don’t have other cleansers I’ve liked, but in the interest of finding the mildest, gentlest cleansers, these are the best ones I have (clockwise from top left):
(*) indicates PR samples – product was free but I am not paid or required to give a positive review
JKosmmune Enyzme Powder Cleanser* (pH 4.5)
I just started using this powder cleanser (which is so convenient for traveling since it’s non liquid), and it lathers up into a rich foam with a little water. This had the lowest pH (most acidic) of all the cleansers I tested (though a lot depends on how much water is used to foam it up), which is ideal for acne-prone skin. Its star ingredient, beta-glucan, is excellent for moisturizing and reducing redness and irritation.