Facial cleansers keep our skin squeaky clean by removing all dirt and grime. But being packed with harsh chemicals, the effects of such products might be more profound. More specifically, the ‘pH’ of your cleanser can turn your face-washing routine into a blunder and make your skin look worse. You might end up upsetting the balance of your skin and encouraging premature aging. Shocked? Let me elaborate on the whole thing a bit further: (1) (2)
What Is pH Level?
You might already have heard much about the ‘pH balance of the skin‘ and wondered what it means. Before we reveal how pH is related to our skin, let’s explain the term. ‘pH’ refers to the ‘potential of hydrogen’ or ‘power of hydrogen’ or ‘hydrogen power.’ The pH level of any solution is a measurement of its acidity or alkalinity by calculating the number of hydrogen ions present in it. The acid-alkaline ratio mainly falls between 0 and 14, where ‘0’ stands for ‘the most acidic’ and ’14’ stands for ‘the most alkaline.’ ‘7’ is considered the ‘mid-point’ of the scale and depicts the concentration as neither acidic nor alkaline. Essential water has a pH of 7 and, hence, is termed ‘neutral.’ Elements under seven on the scale, such as orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, stomach acids, battery acid, etc., are acidic. In contrast, those lying above seven, like baking soda, milk of magnesia, liquid drain cleaner, oven cleaner, soapy water, etc., are alkaline.
What Is Skin’s pH Balance?
According to experts, the health and vitality of human skin are directly linked to the ratio of acidity to alkalinity. Hence, maintaining the proper pH balance is paramount to keep the skin healthy and youthful in the long run. Here is a detailed explanation:
The surface layer of our skin is vital for its overall health. It moisturizes and shields the underneath layers from pollution, germs, and toxic substances. It is even covered by a natural and excellent protective film called ‘acid mantle,’ which is formed by moisture, sebum, amino acids, fatty acids, lactic acid, and water. The skin’s ‘natural barrier’ functions best when it is slightly acidic, with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5. If the pH becomes too high or too low, the acid mantle gets disrupted, causing excessive skin damage.
If it becomes too alkaline, the skin turns too dry, sensitive to weather, dull, flaky, patchy, tight, inflamed, and itchy, eventually speeding up aging. On the other hand, if it becomes too acidic, your skin will get too oily or greasy, sensitive to commercial products, reactive, acne-prone, red, and irritated. Therefore, it is essential to determine the skin score to choose the skin care products based on their pH-balancing capabilities and prevent the skin from going off balance.
How Does The Cleanser’s pH Affect Your Skin?
While we keep no stone unturned to make our skin healthy and radiant, our choice of cleansers ruins our efforts right at the initial stage in most cases. A cleanser can be too acidic or alkaline for one’s skin based on its components, which takes the acid mantle apart and makes the skin vulnerable to severe damage. Washing your face with the cleanser early in the morning sets the stage for aging by messing up the skin’s pH balance. Most of the cleansers available in the market are highly alkaline (pH ranges between 8 and 10) by nature; hence, they alter the naturally acidic pH of the skin. Result? Dryness, tightness, cracking, calluses, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, hyperpigmentation, larger pores, increased sebum secretion, breakouts, and disrupted immunity. The more you use the products, the worse the skin becomes. It is a vicious cycle that slowly destroys the ability of the skin to redevelop a healthy acid mantle.
How To Choose The Perfect Cleanser?
A perfect cleanser is a pH-balanced cleanser that harmonizes with a particular skin. If it is too alkaline, the skin will be clean, but its natural oils will be stripped, causing dryness, dullness, and premature aging. Conversely, if it is not alkaline enough, you will not get the desired cleanliness, making your skin prone to breakouts. Hence, opting for a cleanser that is lower on the pH scale is always good. Being slightly acidic, it will not be harsh to the skin’s acid mantle. Instead, it will work with the skin’s natural system to keep it clean and healthy.
Now you know that the term ‘pH-balanced’ written on the label of your cleanser is not at all a marketing ploy. Choose a pH-balanced cleanser and keep your skin happy!
Facial cleansers, essential for skin cleanliness, can impact skin health based on pH levels. Skin’s pH balance, ideally between 4.5 and 5.5, is crucial for a healthy acid mantle. Disrupting this balance with alkaline cleansers (pH 8-10) leads to issues like dryness, wrinkles, and breakouts. Choosing a pH-balanced cleanser is vital for preserving skin health and preventing premature aging. Opting for slightly acidic cleansers ensures effective cleaning without compromising the skin’s natural protective layer.