Meaning ‘potential of hydrogens’, pH balance describes our skin’s level of acidity or alkalinity. The pH of our skin is essentially its water-to-oil balance. A balanced skin pH supports our skin in forming a healthy skin barrier, also known as the ‘acid mantle’. The ‘acid mantle’ skin barrier is a protective, slightly-acidic film on the skin’s surface that keeps moisture in and keeps infectious bacteria out.
Factors that Affect Skin pH
Everyone’s skin pH level varies naturally, based on factors such as our genetics, our healthy and not-so-healthy habits, our skincare products, the time of year and humidity levels outside, the make-up we use, and the environmental pollution we come in contact with every day.
What is a good PH balance for skin?
The optimal pH value of skin on most of our face and body lies between 4.7 and 5.75. A pH of 7 (that of pure water) is considered neutral. Anything below that is acidic and above it alkaline, so skin's natural pH is mildly acidic.
Why you should consider the PH balance in skincare products?
Choosing products which either have a natural pH-level to that of your skin, or which help to regulate and balance your complexion are most ideal.
When your skin's acid mantle is disturbed, it creates a suitable environment for dermatitis, acne, and candida infections.
The pH can control the availability of nutrients, biological functions, microbial activity, and the behavior of chemicals. Because of this, monitoring or controlling the pH of soil, water, and food or beverage products is important for a wide variety of applications.
How to Balance Skin pH through Skincare
Once you’ve determined your skin’s pH level, you’re equipped to start making some informed decisions in the skincare realm.
- First things first, no more harsh cleansers: cleansing products and soaps that contain harsh ingredients, like parabens, SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), fragrance, and BHT (synthetic antioxidants) should be avoided at all costs. These ingredients are not kind to your skin, and they often have super high pH levels that confuse your natural oil-to-water ratio.
- Don’t underestimate the power of a toner: If you don’t have a natural toner in your skincare cabinet, it’s time to change that. The right toner can do wonders for your skin because toners have a natural ability to “recalibrate” the skin’s pH level after cleansing. It’s important to stay away from toners that use alcohol in their ingredients. Although toners with alcohol are effective for killing bacteria, they do a lot more harm than good. Alcohol dries out the skin, which causes redness, irritation, flakiness, and worst of all—lots of wrinkles.
- Whatever you do, don’t forget to moisturize: Hydration is the pinnacle of happy skin. When the skin is moisturized, it’s bright, supple, firm, and soft. Nothing can repair the skin quite like a good moisturizer. As we age, our body’s production of collagen, elastin, and natural oils starts to decrease. (That’s why it’s incredibly important that we continue to modify our skincare routine to meet our skin’s changing needs throughout the years.)
How to Restore Skin pH Balance Naturally
If your skin’s pH level is unbalanced, try adding any of these powerful ingredients to your daily routine for some skin harmony.
- Vitamin C — Try skincare products made with vitamin C as well as a boaster!
- AHA & BHA exfoliants
- Aloe vera
- Diluted apple cider vinegar
A thorough skincare routine coupled with some healthy lifestyle habits can restore your skin’s ideal pH level to help you achieve hydrated, age-defiant skin. Wear sunscreen, cleanse your skin every day, eat a balanced diet, and steer clear of intense ingredients to support your skin barrier function and stabilize your skin’s pH level.
Visit the ORÍKÌ website for skincare products (cleansers, toners, serums, moisturizers, shower gel, masks, scrubs etc.) that help regulate your pH level and restores skin balance.