Facial cleansers are known to keep our skin squeaky clean by removing all dirt and grime. But being packed with harsh chemicals, the effects of such products might actually be deeper. To be more specific, it is the ‘pH’ of your cleanser that 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 the whole thing a bit further:
What Is pH Level?
You might already have heard a lot about the ‘pH balance of the skin’ and wondered what it actually means. Well, 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 basically a measurement of its acidity or alkalinity by calculating the number of hydrogen ions present in it. The acid-alkaline ratio mainly falls in range lying between 0 and 14, where ‘0’ stands for ‘the most acidic’ and ‘14’ stands for ‘the most alkaline’. ‘7’ is considered as the ‘mid-point’ of the scale and depicts the concentration to be neither acidic nor alkaline. Basic water has a pH of 7 and hence, is termed ‘neutral’. Elements lying under 7 on the scale, such as orange juice, lemon juice, vinegar, stomach acids, battery acid, etc. are acidic in nature while those lying above 7 like baking soda, milk of magnesia, liquid drain cleaner, oven cleaner, soapy water, etc. are alkaline in nature.
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What Is Skin’s pH Balance?
According to experts, the health and vitality of human skin are directly linked to the ratio of acidity-alkalinity. Hence, it is of utmost importance that we maintain the right pH balance in order 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 not only shields the underneath layers from pollution, germs, and toxic substances but also keeps them moisturized. It is even covered by a natural and extremely fine protective film called ‘acid mantle’, which is formed by moisture, sebum, amino acids, fatty acids, lactic acid, and water. This ‘natural barrier’ of the skin functions the best when it is a little acidic with pH lying between 4.5 and 5.5. In case the pH becomes too high or too low, the acid mantle gets disrupted causing excessive damages to the skin.
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If it becomes too alkaline, the skin turns too dry, sensitive to weather, dull, flaky, patchy, tight, inflamed, and itchy, which eventually speeds up the process of 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 in order to choose the skin care products based on their pH-balancing capabilities as well as 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 of the cases. A cleanser can turn out to be too acidic or too alkaline for one’s skin based on its components, which takes the acid mantle apart and makes the skin vulnerable to severe damages. When you wash your face with the cleanser early in the morning, it tends to set the stage for aging by messing up the pH balance of the skin. Most of the cleansers available in the market are highly alkaline (pH ranges anywhere between 8 and 10) by nature and hence, they alter the naturally acidic pH of the skin. Result? Dryness, tightness, cracking, calluses, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging, hyperpigmentation, larger pores, increased secretion of sebum, 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.
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How To Choose The Perfect Cleanser?
A perfect cleanser is basically a pH-balanced cleanser that is in harmony 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 enough alkaline, you will not get the desired cleanliness, which will make your skin prone to breakouts. Hence, it is always good to opt for a cleanser that is formulated to be lower on the pH scale. Being slightly acidic, it will not be harsh to the acid mantle of the skin. Rather, it will work with the natural system of the skin to keep it cleanse as well as 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!