Talk about skin pH levels and products that balance this are pretty popular right now, but what does it all mean? Let us take you back to science class and that rainbow coloured pH scale to explain.
PH stands for potential of hydrogen, and it measures the level of acidity or alkalinity on a numeric scale from 1-14 (with 1 being acidic, 14 being alkaline, and 7 being neutral).
Your skin’s optimal pH level is slightly acidic at 5.5. At this level, the skin’s acid mantle is strong and working well to keep moisture in and bad bacteria out.
The acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of human skin acting as a protective barrier. It is protected from above by the skin microbiome, the community of microorganisms, including bacteria, that work to keep your skin healthy and in balance.
Working out your pH Level
Everyone’s skin is different and influenced by a whole range of factors, like UV rays, environment, genetics, age, diet and lifestyle. A dermatologist can help measure your skin’s pH and there are also plenty of at home tests you can purchase online.
Probably the easiest way to work out your pH level is to listen to your skin. If it’s red, dry and flaky then you’re probably too alkaline. Too acidic, and your skin will be prone to inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and acne.
How to restore balance to your skin’s pH levels
- Stop using harsh products on your skin. Steer clear of intense ingredients like denatured alcohol, fragrance, and soap. Instead opt for gentle, pH balanced alternatives that won’t strip your skin’s moisture barrier.
- Use probiotic skincare to restore balance to your microbiome and further protect your skin’s acid mantle.
- Do the basics well – always use sunscreen, drink lots of water, invest in a good moisturiser to keep your skin hydrated.
- Don’t over wash or over exfoliate, cut back on your skincare routine to reduce irritation.
- Consider only cleansing at night. When in doubt - less is more.