The pH of your skin care products matters a lot for the health of the skin. To keep your skin healthy, it is important to understand the role of pH in skincare. Today even products are marketed as formulations that would not disrupt the pH level of the skin.
What is pH?
pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. It specifies how acidic or alkaline (basic) a solution is. Acidic solutions have a lower pH that is less than 7. While alkaline solutions have higher pH that is greater than 7. A pH of 7 is neutral, neither acidic nor basic. It is more of a secondary school level of science (remember! experimenting with litmus paper in chemistry class!).
The optimal pH level for the face is slightly acidic and ranges from 4 to 6.
How it affects the skin?
The acid mantle is a thin protective barrier on the surface of the skin, made up of fatty acids and secretions from oil glands. It is due to the use of extreme treatments (either too acidic or too alkaline) skin’s acid mantle is damaged, and skin becomes more vulnerable to pollutants, infections and bacteria to thrive on.
High pH! 8-14
Skin care products with a high pH level like detergents (also known as alkaline) can be damaging to skin. They may make your skin feel smooth at first but it is actually stripping off natural oils from skin and gives a squeaky-clean feeling. It may result in dryness, inflammation, damage skin barrier.
Low pH! 1-7
Skin care products with a low pH level are bad for your skin, just as high pH products. Our skin’s pH is slightly acidic, hence, too low of a pH can be irritating. It is wise to use gentler products with a pH range between 4 to 6, to keep the barrier function intact.
Your skin’s pH doesn’t have to be corrected; it corrects itself. All we have to do is not to disturb the skin's pH by applying harsh products that are either too acidic or too basic. In simple words, avoid one extreme or the other. Good skin care products that are within optimal pH range are mild and gentle, allow the skin to carry out its vital function of defence.