Understanding and controlling your skin’s pH balance

These days, consumers are more informed than ever about their beauty products, and many carefully read the labels to make sure their products don’t contain any irritants. One of the latest preoccupations is pH balance, an essential for healthy sensitive skin.

Chemistry 101

Can’t recall everything you learned in chemistry class? No worries! Here’s a quick and easy explanation of pH.

The pH level represents the skin’s hydrogen ratio, which is calculated on a scale of 1 to 14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline. Generally speaking, the skin’s ideal pH is 5.5, which is slightly acidic.

The benefits of a balanced pH level

A pH level of 5.5 allows the skin to combat germs and exterior aggressors. In fact, several environmental factors, and even your lifestyle, can affect your skin’s pH balance. When the level is imbalanced, that’s when you find yourself with irritations, redness, pimples and even dermatitis.

For example, if the skin of your hands is too alkaline, it becomes dry and irritated, causing a pH imbalance that can result in conditions like eczema.

However, if the skin is too acidic, it becomes somewhat "burnt" and very sensitive with pimples and lots of redness. The effect is similar to using a harsh treatment on your skin, such as a peel.

Good habits

The good news is that you can restore your skin’s pH balance with a few tricks that are easy to include in your beauty routine. Start by not over-washing your skin, and only using products suited to your skin type. By using cleansers (hands, body and face) with a balanced pH, you preserve the skin’s protective oils and keep it from drying out.

Moisturizing the skin will also help keep your pH level balanced. Once again, you want to choose your product carefully. The cream should be formulated for your skin type to properly restore the hydration levels.

Lastly, pay close attention to any reactions you have when consuming very acidic foods such as meat, sugar, dairy products and alcohol. You also want to avoid overdoing it with food that is very alkaline, such as melon, asparagus, hot peppers and algae. A varied diet will benefit people with sensitive or weakened skin.

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Understanding and controlling your skin’s pH balance

These days, consumers are more informed than ever about their beauty products, and many carefully read the labels to make sure their products don’t contain any irritants. The latest obsession is pH balance, an essential for healthy sensitive skin.
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