The case for pH-balanced face-washes

You drink plenty of water, apply sunscreen before stepping out, remove all traces of makeup on reaching home, moisturize your face, and do just about everything right. But in the morning you are still greeted by that dry, flaky look, breakouts and skin that makes you see red and go grrrrrr!

What could be going wrong?

It’s very simple – your skin might have a pH imbalance and that might be throwing everything out of whack. What should you do? Before coming to that, here’s a throwback to school-time Chemistry.

What is pH balance?

pH is a scale that measures the acidity and alkalinity of a substance. On this scale, zero is the most acidic and 14 the most alkaline. In between, seven is neutral (which is where water falls). Your skin is naturally slightly acidic in nature at around five. This acidic mantle supports the growth of the skin’s natural bacteria and fungi, which is necessary for proper skin health. When your skin has a normal pH, its protective moisture barrier keeps it soft and supple. Moreover, the slightly acidic exterior means your skin is able to keep off the harmful UV rays of the sun, as also free radicals.

But when your skin goes from acidic to alkaline, things happen. Bad things. Your skin can no longer protect itself as well as it should, and you end up with dryness, irritation, and itching.

What causes the pH imbalance?

The most common cause of the skin losing its acidity and turning alkaline is the use of harsh face cleansers. Harsh soaps and face-washes tend to be overly alkaline, stripping your skin of moisture. It takes your body at least 12 hours to recoup and regenerate the moisture lost by the use of strong face-washes. During this time, it is quite likely that your skin will go into the mode of over-production of oil. Or it could simply remain dry. Either way, you suffer. You either get oily skin or dry skin.

Other factors that cause the pH balance to be upset are pollution, stress, hormonal imbalances, dietary changes, insufficient nutrition and aging.

How can you maintain your skin’s pH balance?

Keeping your skin at the right pH level enables you to absorb skin care products optimally. Make it a point to use pH-balanced products. The lower the pH of a product, the more bio-available its ingredients are, which means more of it will be absorbed by your skin.

Start off by using cleansers, cosmetics and skincare products that have the right pH level. Choose a mild face-wash with a pH balance of 5.5. Check the label to make sure you are buying the right product. Besides, use an alcohol-free toner post washing your face to restore the acid balance of your skin.

Drink sufficient water, eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and go for food items that contain alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), such as apples, blackberries, tomatoes and citrus fruits.

In the end, examine your skin care routine and your diet, and take corrective measures, if needed.


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