Having great conditioned skin is important not just because it makes us look and feel better, but because it’s our bodies first line of defence against the elements, providing a barrier against micro-organisms, wind and pollutants.
What is skin pH and what level should it be?
PH is also known as the Acid Mantle and it’s a measure of the acid or alkaline level of a substance – our normal skin surface pH ranges between 4 and 6.5.(1) The overall condition of our skin is directly influenced by its pH level. Well-balanced skin that sits within the optimal pH range is better able to balance moisture, process nutrients and stay clean and healthy.
What affects our skin’s pH level?
As skin is absorbent, everything it comes into contact with will influence its pH level. Environmental factors such as traffic pollutants and harsh cleaning products are going to stress the skin which is why it’s so important to expose your skin to fresh, clean air when possible. Likewise, what we choose to put on our skin will also affect it so opt for gentle, well balanced skincare products that will help keep your skin’s pH levels balanced too.
Why is skin pH so important?
Too high, or too low a skin pH level can upset our skin’s natural balance and trigger conditions including acne and breakouts, reactive and inflamed skin. An acidic pH can dehydrate and cause skin irritation and bacteria growth by stripping away the healthy natural oils from our skin’s surface layer.(2)
Our skin’s pH is incredibly susceptible to the external environment and continued exposure can build up and cause an even greater unbalance. Impurities, toxins and bacteria will increase on our skin until they are removed. If they are allowed to overrun the friendly, natural bacteria, it will cause them to become inactive while simultaneously encouraging bad bacteria to multiply and saturate the skin.
How to keep your skin’s pH balanced
Keeping your skin’s pH well-balanced largely comes down to three factors – diet, the environment and your skincare routine.
Both our internal health and our visible external health are strongly influenced by what we eat. A study by the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology suggests diet has a strong connection to skin health. Eating fresh, natural, unprocessed foods introduces more vitamins and nutrients to our diet, which in turn, feed our skin with the beneficial ingredients it needs to stay in good health. In particular, aim to eat plenty of dark green leafy vegetables, which provide a rich source of nutrients to keep our skin healthy.(3)
Environmental toxins and pollutants can build up on our skin, leading to dryness and inflammation. Avoid heavy pollutants where possible and adopt a good skincare routine to physically remove any build up on your skin. Making sure your skin is properly moisturised is important too as drier skin can disrupt pH levels. Products that have a lower pH and work with your skin’s natural pH level can do wonders for your skin – creating healthy looking skin inside and out.
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