Does anyone else vaguely remember that weird science subject pH; where the h stood for hydrogen and the p stood for no one knows what? Well, if you were one of the people that promptly forgot about it once the year ended (i.e. me); I am very sorry to inform you that we’re gonna have to revisit it.
The reason being is that it plays a MAJOR role in keeping our skin healthy, which is what we’re all about here at Anz of ATHYN. Now pH is a very complex subject so we’re going to break it down to what you need to know to keep your skin healthy as simple as possible.
The Relation between Skin and pH
If you remember, in science class we learned that the skin has three layers to it. Part of the epidermis (outermost layer of skin) is the acid mantle. This mantle is a thin film on your skin that protects your it from bacteria, pollutants and moisture loss by preventing contaminants from penetrating your skin and causing damage.
As you can probably guess, this mantle is acidic which is the reason why our skin’s natural pH is 4.4-5.5 and not the neutral 7. The reason for this is because the acidity of our skin dissuades bacteria and fungi from growing. By doing this, it reduces our risk of acne and various skin problems. If you suffer from acne, there is a chance your skin pH is higher than it should be.
A damaged mantle can lead to dehydration, oily skin (because your body is overcompensating the lack of hydration), acne, and sensitivity. Once damaged, the acid mantle takes 2 weeks to repair and it’s best to consult a professional to create a skin care regime to help the healing process.
Maintaining the Mantle
Now that we understand WHY it is important, let’s talk about how we can help maintain it: which is to use products that will help balance and maintain your pH.
Most skincare products are going to be pH 4.5-6; exceptions include exfoliants, professional treatments, and physical sunscreens-which requires a high pH (alkaline) because acidity will degrade the zinc oxide rendering the sun protection useless.
Normally, we would avoid high alkaline products as it will disrupt the protective function of our skin; which is why soap as cleanser is a huge NO-NO. Most soap has a pH of 8-11 which is way too high for the skin’s acidity and can cause damage. This is the reason why we should also avoid sodium lauryl sulfate which is found in cleansers and shampoos. It is a skin irritant that can strip your skin of its natural oils; and cause it to be vulnerable to absorption of harmful pollutants.
It’s important that your skincare regime has products that are in the ideal pH range unless stated otherwise (exceptions and acidic based products) in order to maintain the mantle. This is the reason why a toner is so important in your routine.
It helps by restoring your skin’s natural pH and essentially prepares it for all the products you’ll be applying. Think of a make-up primer but for your skincare. The best part is there are a ton of toners on the market; so for example if your skin pH is too high you can use an acidic toner to bring the pH down to optimal level. There’s most likely going to be a toner out there for you depending on your skin (dry, oily, acne, dull, sensitive, etc) so you won’t miss out.
AHA + BHA Exfoliants: 3.2-3.9
Vitamin C: 2.6-3.2
You can test your products by purchasing pH strips. I bought mine from amazon to test the products I plan on reviewing for you guys.
Until next time, stay wonderfully you.