As you might remember from science class, pH is the measurement of acidity. pH is a scale for measuring acidity and alkalinity. It ranges from 0, the most acidic to 14, the most alkaline. Your skin is at its healthiest at 4.7-5, just slightly on the acidic side. (You may read that healthy skin ranges 5-7pH but unfortunately this information is old and incorrect.)
What does that mean in the context of your skin?
Our skin has a thin, protective layer on its surface, referred to as the acid mantle. This acid mantle is made up of sebum (free fatty acids) excreted from the skin’s sebaceous glands, which mixes with lactic and amino acids from sweat to create the skin’s pH, which ideally should be slightly acidic; 4.8.
Some cleansers, bars and detergent soaps, tend to be too alkaline for the skin, as they strip away natural oils causing dryness and irritation. Skin that is too alkaline can be more susceptible to acne because a certain level of acidity is needed to inhibit bacterial growth on the skin. Many cleansers and shampoos are now avoiding the use of sodium laureth sulfate, which has an approximate alkaline pH level of 10 and can be very drying and irritating to the skin. Choosing mild cleansers will benefit all skin types in properly maintaining the acid mantle.
Topical antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E, and green tea can help in maintaining the acid mantle in two ways. First, they fortify the cells so they can function optimally and second, they protect the cells from environmental stresses and oxidation.
Acid Products such as Glycolic, Salicylic and Mandelic which have a lower pH (2.5-4.5)
The lower the pH of a formula, the more bio-available its ingredients are—which means more of it is being absorbed by your skin. This is a good thing when we want the ingredients to penetrate.
There are many therapeutic benefits to acid products when used correctly. When there is a specific treatment objective such as exfoliating away dead skin and clogging, it is important to use the product as recommended. If your skin starts to look dry or red you may be using a product too strong for your skin, or you may be applying it too often.
When receiving a peel or other acid treatment by your Esthetician they will always neutralize the acidity and bring the skin’s pH back to normal after the treatment is completed.
Verify Your Skin Care Products pH
Here is an extensive List of over the counter skin care product pH’s!
You can verify the actual pH of a product by using an at-home pH testing strips available at most drug stores!
Regarding Food and pH of Skin
According to dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf, “We need our diets to be less acidic than alkaline, otherwise internally,we become too acidic.” This means that an ideal diet consists of consuming an abundance of alkalizing foods such as leafy green vegetables, citrus fruits, tomatoes, carrots and soybeans.
Meats, proteins, grains and sugar produce an acidic environment.
Eczema and Other Condition
It is possible that maintaining a pH balanced skin care and diet routine may be helpful in minimizing problems with eczema, psoriasis, chronic dry skin and other common skin problems.
(I would just like to also say here that I have met many clients who eat a very healthy diet but still struggle with chronic skin issues SO keep in mind that this might not be your solution to skin issues.)
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