The Regimen

Proper pH Is The Formula for pHlawless

Proper pH Is The Formula for pHlawless


You’ve probably seen those two little letters, “pH,” a million times. You’ve been told it’s important to keep your pH balanced. But do you know why? How? Or even what pH actually is? Here, in a nutshell, is everything you need to know about the puzzle piece that is pH.



What is pH?

pH is a scale for measuring acidity and alkalinity. It ranges from 0 (the most acidic) to 14 (the most alkaline). Your skin is at its healthiest at 5.5, just slightly on the acidic side. At opposite ends of the pH spectrum, lemon juice is highly acidic with a pH level of 2. Bleach is highly alkaline with a pH level of 12. Water is right in the middle at 7. That’s neutral.



Why does it matter?

To understand the significance of pH, you have to understand your skin’s acid mantle, the superfine layer of water (your sweat), plus oily and acidic secretions that act as skin’s natural moisturizer and keep the skin barrier functioning properly. The water helps with hydration, acids inhibit bacteria, and enzymes break down excess sebum. 


If your pH balance is out of whack, your acid mantle is disrupted, and you will notice changes in your skin. Breakouts, redness, irritation, dry skin and wrinkles are all part of the unbalanced pH package.



What causes an imbalance?

Harsh ingredients like detergents found in many cleansers or bar soaps, DIY treatments like baking soda (super alkaline), or over-scrubbing your skin will strip the acid mantle and push your pH toward the alkaline side of the scale. Skin that’s too alkaline will be dry, irritated, inflamed, and more prone to signs of aging. Too much alkalinity can also cause breakouts because stripping the acid mantle reduces skin’s ability to resist bacteria.


Low pH, too much acidity, means oilier skin, breakouts, irritation, inflammation, and more chance of chronic conditions like eczema, rosacea, and psoriasis. Overuse of acids and enzymes can be a cause. This is why you definitely should not put things like lemon juice (just one step up from battery acid on the pH scale!) on your face.


Regular exfoliation with products containing alpha hydroxy acids is important for cell regeneration and clearing impactions from the skin. The trick is determining which one is best for your skin type and at what percentage. Lactic acid is very gentle, while glycolic would be on the more aggressive side. Mandelic is somewhere in between. AHA percentages range from 3% to 15% in home care products. It’s always best to start on the lower end and work up.


The good news is if things get out of alignment, your acid mantle can recover in about two weeks. Examine your skin care routine and rebalance where necessary to get pH back to its optimum level and your skin back to pHlawless.


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