Have you ever wondered how our skin manages to face the atrocities of the environment that is so polluted? Step in front of the mirror after a full day once, and run a cotton pad with some cleanser on it. You will see! You now know what your skin goes through on a daily basis. So, it’s time to take care of it! Else your future will be riddled with the troubles of aging, acne and so much more!
Nature has given our skin a certain level of protection by itself but it certainly didn’t foresee this level of abuse! Moisturizers, creams, toners and sunscreens among others products that we use help protect the skin externally, while internally, the pH of the skin acts as a defense against impurities, bacteria and pollutants.
What is pH balance in skin?
pH level of the skin is also known as the Acid Mantle, and is solely responsible for protecting the skin from the inside against any outside invaders. Normally, pH balance of skin should normally be ranging anywhere from 4 to 6.5. However, different areas of the body require and have varied range.
How is the pH of the skin determined?
Lactic acids, fatty acids and free amino acids play a great role in deciding its range.
Low level of pH would mean that the skin is very acidic, whereas a high pH value is more amicable and desired. pH levels of the skin is altered when our skin comes in contact with the soaps we use to clean our body, and also when we have skin issues such as eczema, skin dermatitis and other chronic diseases like cerebrovascular disease and diabetes.
pH and sweat glands:
The pH of skin is controlled by sebaceous and sudoriferous glands that release sebum to maintain skin elasticity and health. However, it’s a common problem in adolescents, owing to the higher level of these hormones that this balance is lost. The result is acne and oily skin. On a general note, balanced sebum secretion of the skin would have pH value of 5.5.
Aging effects on the pH of the skin:
New born babies have neutral pH value, which gradually gets normalized. When a child hits puberty, he/she develops more hair on the body. The oil glands in the hair follicles secrete more and more sebum, which then naturally changes the pH value of their skin.
Skin of a twenty year old looks more healthy than a 60 year old because of the importance of pH. When you are young, the Acid Mantle continues to develop in the body and is active in its role to fight against bacteria and maintain healthy environment for the skin to look young. However, when one grows older, the pH starts to become more neutral or alkaline, giving space for the infections to grow and skin problems to occur.
Acne and pH:
The main cause of acne is excess secretion of sebum and pH in this case helps to control acne. The balanced pH of 5.5 helps to create a healthy environment, which keeps the bacteria at bay. Acne causing Propioinbacterium bacteria grows when the pH of the skin is more alkaline.
How to maintain a healthy pH of your skin?
Now that we know why it is so important to maintain your skin’s pH balance, let’s see how we can do it.
1. Say no to high alkaline content in soaps as they destroy the equilibrium of the skin by making it more viable for the bacteria to grow. Choose soaps that are more acidic, which will cause less irritation to the skin. Acidic cleansers are formed by what is called “syndet” that helps maintain low pH. Even individuals with sensitive skin should use acidic cleansers to avoid any skin issues.
2. Know the type of your skin. Check which area of your skin is oilier. This will help you pick right products.
3. Avoid using too many chemicals on the face. Chemicals have adverse effects on the pH level of the skin. It is advisable to use natural skin care products for a healthy looking skin. But if you can’t avoid chemical products then atleast pick pH balanced skin care products.
4. Maintain a healthy skin care regime. Make sure to wash your face before going to bed. Always moisturize your face. Don’t forget to remove make-up before going to bed.
Hope these basic skin care tips on the ph balance of the skin helps you take care of your skin thoroughly.