If you don’t work in the sciences, you might think that you would be able to forget all about pH scales after your required science classes. But if you’re trying to take good care of your skin, it might be time to dust off those textbooks.
When it comes to skin health and developing the best skincare routine, your skin pH matters. We’re going to dive into everything you need to know about the pH of skin and how you can take care of yours.
What Is pH?
Before we dive into how exactly the pH of the skin can affect your skin health and your skincare routine, let’s do a brief refresher on pH itself.
pH is a scale from 1-14 that measures how acidic or alkaline (also known as basic) something is. The lower the number, the more acidic, and the higher the number, the more alkaline. That means something with a pH of 1 is highly acidic, whereas something with a pH of 14 is much more alkaline.
What Is the Ideal Skin pH Level?
When your skin is healthy, it has a pH level of about 5.5. Considering that a pH of 7 is neutral, healthy skin falls just on the acidic side.
The pH of the skin can stay within this healthy range when the protective barrier on your skin, also called the acid mantle, stays intact. The acid mantle is made up of sebum, sweat, and dead skin cells, and it helps protect your skin from pollutants and bacteria. If the acid mantle is disrupted, your skin is more prone to bacteria and acne.
How Can I Know My Skin pH Level?
While you could get at-home pH test strips or go and see a dermatologist, you can get a good idea of your skin’s pH by how it feels. Your skin will always have ways of telling you that it’s upset, so you just have to listen.
If your skin starts to get red or scaly, or even blistery, then you know that something is off. Any sort of irritation or acne are all signs that your skin pH might be higher than the ideal range.
If you’re just feeling like your skin is too oily or too dry, that might be a different issue altogether. Look here for more about what to do when you have dry or oily skin.
Can I Fix My Skin pH With Skincare?
While certain products that you use can affect your skin’s pH levels, it’s mostly best to leave it alone. Maintaining the pH level on the surface of your skin is something that your skin tends to do all by itself. If you try too hard, you might be making it worse.
Most importantly, you should be trying to use products that help support optimal pH levels and skin health. This means choosing products that aren’t too acidic or alkaline. They should either match your skin’s pH levels at around 5.5, or they should be pH neutral.
Put Those Products to the Test
Now that you know about the importance of skin pH, make sure that your products are standing up to the test. Remember, your skin can mostly take care of itself, but you want to make that job as easy as possible.
If you found this post helpful, make sure to check out some of our other lifestyle and health posts!