Make sure you ✓ the pH box before you put a product on your skin.
pH is a measure of how acidic or basic a product is and it is measured in a range from 0 to 14. Low pH values represent acids and high pH values represent bases, pH 7 is neutral … like pure water. Your skin's optimal pH is between 4.5 and 5 – and here it should stay.
The acid mantle is your skin’s first line of defence. Its pH needs to stay in the correct range (acidic) – because your microbes like it that way!
The microbes that you want on your skin thrive at a pH of between 4.5 and 5. Not many microbes can grow at a pH this low. At pH levels closer to neutral, pretty much all microbes can thrive, so your resident skin microbes no longer have an advantage. Aggressive, pathogenic microbes rush on in and things start to get messy, whether you notice it or not.
If for some reason the pH is shifted up (like if you use soap), it will take about 18 hours for your skin to return to the correct level. What brings it back in line? Your good microbes! They produce acidic substances such as lactic acid that slowly nudge it back to a healthy pH. For the average person who washes their face twice a day with a high pH product, the skin remains in a constant state of stress and there is a higher risk of bigger issues.
The most common culprit in skin pH disruption is soap – especially bar soaps. Very few bar soaps are pH balanced. Even organic bar soaps have a very high pH. If there’s only one take home message here it should be this – BANISH THE BAR. Banish it for your whole body, it’s not only the skin on your face that wants to stay balanced.
Although bar soaps are the biggest offenders, many skincare products do not pay enough attention to the importance of their pH. They contain all the actives to make their claims and preservatives to keep them fresh but they neglect the importance of what pH means for skin – and the microbes living on and in it.
Put your microbes first, consider their needs and you’ll have a skin you love.