What does pH-Balanced mean?
Hearing pH-Balanced is probably giving you flashbacks to high school chemistry class with little strips of paper that change colors unless you own a pool. If so, you’re not far off. At its simplest form, potential hydrogen (pH) is a measurement of acidity from a level of 1 to 14. Everything has an optimal level of acidity verse non-acidic (alkaline). It can be potentially dangerous to the ecosystem that supports whatever is being measured when you throw off that level. And that, ladies and gentleman, is as far as my memory will take us. I’ll leave the rest of this blog to the experts.
How does pH-Balanced affect the skincare market?
If you’re a beauty maven or skincare professional, you will likely have heard of how pH-Balanced is essential to the products you use. The real question is, are pH-Balanced products all that they're cracked up to be, or simply another marketing tool to hook customers? The short answer, it’s important. Really important.
In a recent article by Allure, Dr. Nazarian answered the age-old question, what does it even matter regarding pH balance in skin? “Too high of a pH or too low throws the [...] "microbiome" of skin off, and causes inflammation and irritation when the natural oils and natural bacteria on the skin are disrupted.” She adds, “The connection between pH and bacteria comes from shifting the pH so far in either direction that the good bacteria are no longer able to keep inflammation and “bad bacteria” in check.” Even topical skincare products can have significant effects on your skin and the dichotomy of acidity on it.
What level of acidity should your skin have?
Below is a great chart that explains the skin pH scale. As you can see, there is wiggle room for healthy acidity levels, and your levels can fluctuate throughout the day due to several factors such as diet, airborne chemicals, and the elements they are exposed to.
That said, according to plastic surgeon, Anthony Youn, MD, “[t]he pH of your skin is normal at 4.7,” he continues, “The thought is that if you alter that pH, you’re altering how healthy the skin is.” By using products that help maintain an acidity level of 4.7, you can keep your skin looking radiant. If you’re interested in measuring your skin acidity, you can buy home kits that are easy to use. Make sure you measure your skin acidity and not your urine or saliva (the most common kits).
Obtaining your skin goals
There are many different strategies you can use to maintain your skin goals:
- Invest in a water filtration system for your shower
- Avoid other harmful chemicals in products: alcohol, parabens, phthalates, and fake dyes
The idea behind this is that you have to treat your skin well from all angles, not just it’s pH-levels. If you binge eat a tub of ice cream, you can’t just eat some broccoli and expect that your body will thank you. When shopping for skincare products, make sure you’re aware of all the ingredients and making informed decisions.
- Use products that are pH-balanced
When shopping in a store or online for that perfect skincare product, make sure you’re conscious of the pH levels. Luckily enough, most packaging will now be advertised if it has been appropriately balanced. Don’t forget that all products can change the pH balance of your skin, hand wash, creams, cleaners, etc.
Be aware and happy shopping!