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Why Is the Skin's pH Level So Important for Our Skin Health?

Why Is the Skin's pH Level So Important for Our Skin Health?

When you are browsing skincare products, you might have seen pH-focused products. Skin’s pH refers to the acidity level of your skin. It is influenced by factors like environmental stressors and skincare routines. But why does balancing your skin's pH matters so much for your skin health? 

What is skin's pH level?

The skin’s pH level is a delicate balance. Its pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with level 7 being the most neutral. Levels below 7 are acidic, and those above are alkaline. The skin is typically between levels 4 and 7. However, it is said that the ideal skin pH level is below 5. 

Skin pH levels differ depending on the area of the body. The least exposed areas often have higher acidity, while the most exposed areas, such as the face, chest, and hands, are likely more alkaline.

Apart from environmental stressors and skincare routine, several other factors can impact skin pH level, such as…

  • Sweat
  • Genetics
  • Age
  • Cosmetics
  • Cleansers
  • Antibacterial products (soaps and gels)
  • Skin conditions like atopic dermatitis and acne.

Those factors can disturb the “acid mantle,” a thin barrier that shields the skin's surface and helps maintain its pH level balanced. When the acid mantle is damaged, environmental pollution can penetrate the skin, causing inflammation and premature ageing.

How is our skin impacted if the pH is lower or higher than 7?

When your skin's pH level is too high, aka alkaline, you will likely experience redness and flaky skin. On the other hand, if it’s too acidic, it can increase the chances of causing skin inflammation, such as eczema and acne.  

Skin symptoms of higher pH levels are…

  • Dryness
  • Irritation
  • Flaky skin
  • Redness

Skin symptoms of lower pH levels are…

  • Atopic dermatitis
  • Contact dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Acne

How can we balance the skin’s pH level?

1. Use a gentle toner: Apply a gentle, pH-balanced toner, ideally with a pH between 4.6 and 5.5.

2. Avoid hot water: Hot water can be harsh to the skin by removing all the natural oils and damaging the skin barrier. Instead, use lukewarm water.

3. Limit exfoliation: Over-exfoliating the skin can disturb pH balance. Limit exfoliation to once or twice a week.

4. Apply a deep moisturiser: Hydrating and nourishing the skin helps restore its barrier health and balance its pH level.

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