We promise this won’t be boring, unlike your high-school chemistry class. Let’s start from the top — pH (short for potential hydrogen) refers to the level of acidity of a substance. And if you didn’t realise that acing the balancing act is key to great skin, you’re in for a surprise.
What is the ideal pH level of your skin?
The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 considered neutral. While the lower levels are acidic, the upper numbers are considered alkaline. Fun fact — for your skin cells, the magic number is 5.5. With the right amount of acidity, your skin can function as a true protective barrier. Any great deviation from the epidermal heaven of 5.5 disrupts the ecosystem of your skin, thereby leading to a host of skin concerns.
Is your skin’s pH level skewed?
Apart from putting at-home pH test strips to the task or making a trip to the dermatologist, a few tell-tale signs of an unbalanced pH level are as follows:
Dry patches, sensitive skin, wrinkles, fine lines and sun damage are signs that your skin is probably too alkaline. On the other hand, extreme oiliness, excess sebum, more breakouts and inflammation are clear hints of a very acidic pH level.
Ways to maintain skin’s pH level
Apart from ensuring that all your skincare formulas range between 4 – 6 on the pH scale, here are a few other ways that will get your skin’s pH balance back in order.
Make way for gentle cleansers
Most cleansing formulas, including bar soaps, are too alkaline and strip away your skin’s natural oils. This makes it more prone to an acne attack since a certain level of acidity is required to inhibit bacterial growth. Long story short, stick to mild cleansers that work for your skin type and are close to 5 on the pH scale.
A disruption in your skin’s natural moisture content has a similar effect on its protective barrier. This is where effective moisturising formulas come into play. Bottom line — don’t scrimp on the moisturiser and lock in the hydration within three minutes of stepping out of the shower.
Ensure ideal water quality
A lot of your skin’s health depends on the quality of water it is subjected to. The ideal showering routine should include soft, non-alkaline and lukewarm water. If your scalp and skin feel dry, irrespective of the formulas you use, you might be using hard water. So consider investing in a water softener or a shower filter.