The pH is the abbreviated form of ‘Potential of Hydrogen’ which refers to the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. On a scale from 0 to 14, the pH, or "potential of hydrogen," measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance with values below and above 7 denote acidic or alkaline nature respectively while a pH of 7 is regarded as neutral. Although, there are several variables at play when trying to achieve a healthy and vibrant skin or hair but a crucial aspect that often goes unnoticed is their pH level. In this blog, we will explore the importance of maintaining a proper pH balance on our skin and hair and how this usually ignored aspect impacts their health and appearance.
What Is The Ideal Skin pH?
A healthy skin should be slightly acidic. This acidic nature of skin is vital for its defense mechanism against the bacteria and fungi. Normally, an ideally healthy skin has pH ranging from 4.7 to 5.8. This pH of skin influences several factors contributing to its overall health. From vexation, uneven tone, to acne, the pH situations can either resolve or can further harm your skin. Recognizing factors that alter skin pH and concluding for products that can save its acid mantle is of high significance.
Why Does pH Matters in Skincare?
Numerous factors can intrude with the delicate balance of the skin’s acid mantle, both externally and internally. As we age, our skin becomes further acidic in response to our life and our terrain. Everything that comes in contact with our skin (cosmetic products, smoke, air, water, sun, pollution) can contribute towards the breaking down of this important acid mantle, dismembering the skin’s capability to protect itself.
It is of utmost importance to cleanse the skin without disturbing its delicate pH balance and over-stripping it of its natural oils. However, the trick is to use a gentle pH-balanced product to maintain our skin’s integrity. Any skin care product that is “pH balanced” simply means that it has a pH matching with that of skin and should be around 4.5 to 5.5.
Maintaining the acidic pH of the skin is crucial, as it helps to:
Preserves the Epidermal Barrier: The acid mantle helps retain moisture in the skin, preventing dryness and dehydration. It also keeps the skin supple and resilient, reducing the risk of irritation and sensitivity.
Balance the Microbiome: The skin is home to a diverse community of beneficial bacteria that help maintain its health. A slightly acidic pH creates an environment that supports the growth of these good bacteria while inhibiting the proliferation of harmful ones.
Enhanced Skin Defense: The acidic pH of the skin inhibits the growth of certain pathogens, reducing the risk of infections, and promoting general skin health.
pH and Hair Health: Similar to the skin, our hair also has a pH balance. The natural pH of healthy hair typically ranges between 4.5 and 5.5, slightly acidic like the skin.
Maintaining the appropriate pH level in the hair is essential for:
Hair Cuticle Health: The hair cuticle, the outermost protective layer of each hair strand, consists of overlapping scales. An acidic pH helps seal these scales, preventing moisture loss, improving shine, and reducing frizz.
Minimizing Damage: High pH levels in hair products or hard water can cause the cuticle of the hair to open, making the hair more prone to damage from heat styling, chemical treatments, and environmental factors.
Scalp Balance: The pH of the scalp plays a role in maintaining a healthy environment for hair growth. Unbalanced pH can lead to scalp issues like dryness, itching, and dandruff.
Maintaining the Proper pH Balance:
It's essential to choose skincare and haircare products that are pH-balanced for maintaining the health of our skin and hair.
Cleansers and shampoos that are too alkaline can alter the natural pH, while products with a slightly acidic pH help support the health of the skin and hair.
Additionally, avoiding harsh chemical treatments, excessive heat styling, minimizing exposure to hard water and using pH Balanced Shampoo can also help maintain optimal pH levels of the hair.
How to balance skin pH
Below are numerous ways to help maintain healthy skin and a balanced skin pH.
Wash Your Face With Gentle Cleansers
Alkaline facial cleansers removes essential oily layer along with dirt hence making your skin more prone to irritation. However, acidic cleansers may help combat acne, which may even clear it up and make your skin’s pH levels reach below 6. Further, acidic skin care ingredients may also help maintain healthy skin conditions by exfoliating the dead cells of the skin’s outermost layer while bringing a healthy shine of freshness. So it is pertinent to look for skin care products with a pH of 5.5 or lower to help maintain your skin’s youthful look.
Apply skin Toner
Skin Toners generally have a pH between 4 and 5, which in turn can help neutralize any remaining alkalinity that could negatively affect your skin’s optimal pH balance. Generally Calendula Toner is considered the best skin toner to maintain pH of your skin.
Moisturize Your Skin
You can choose from moisturizing oils, gels, and creams according to seasonal and your skin requirements.
For some, exfoliating with gentle exfoliant can be a good idea as part of skincare routine. However, the type of exfoliation and frequency varies depending on your skin type and needs. Maintaining healthy skin may also be supported with the help of chemical peels that removes the upper dead skin layer through chemical exfoliation.
pH plays an important role in the health and appearance of our skin and hair in technical aspects. Keeping the pH balance slightly acidic helps preserve the protective epidermal barriers, support the growth of beneficial bacteria, and minimize damage. By choosing pH-balanced products and adopting healthy hair and skincare practices, we can promote the well-being of our skin and hair, ensuring that they remain beautiful and resilient.