Posted on February 25 2018
How many time have you seen a skin care product that "balances" your skin, without truly understanding what exactly this term means. If you've been wondering whether you have balanced skin and what you could do to achieve it, then this story is for you.
SKIN BALANCE IS ALL ABOUT SKIN pH
Remember chemistry class and pH levels? Well all that information is going to come in real handy in understanding how to get your skin looking its best. Simply put, pH stands for "potential of hydrogen" ie it helps us gauge hydrogen ion concentration in a substance. The most highly acidic substance will have a pH of 0 while the most alkaline will have a pH rating of 14. Pure water is considered neutral, with a pH of 7
WHAT IS THE IDEAL pH FOR YOUR SKIN?
The skin has a thin protective barrier on its surface called the "acid mantle". This barrier keeps pollutants and irritants out while keeping good things like lipid content and moisture in. By the virtue of its name this barrier is slightly acidic in nature and a pH of 5.5 is considered the ideal level for healthy, happy skin.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IF YOUR SKIN IS MORE ALKALINE?
Skin that has a pH more than 7 is considered to be alkaline in nature. Dermatologists say that skin that is too alkaline may be more pre-disposed to acne related concerns since acidity levels of the skin inhibit bacterial growth. If the acid mantle of the skin is not intact it also makes the skin more prone to sun damage and inflammation thereby showing earlier signs of ageing such as fine lines and crow's feet.
And yes it is possible for our skin to be too acidic, although that is rare. if you over indulge in too frequent peels your skin pH can tip too much towards the acidic side. When that happens, skin becomes red and inflamed and may be prone to sensitive breakouts.
HERE'S HOW TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY pH LEVEL FOR YOUR SKIN
The key lies in using the right products that help your skin reach and stay at the healthy 5.5 pH level. The biggest culprit in this regard is the product used to cleanse your face. Most commercially made soap bars are alkaline in nature. They strip the skin of your face of its natural oils and leave it exposed to external aggressors. Use cleansers that are effective without leaving your skin feeling dry and tight. Look for skincare products that are rich in vitamins and antioxidants as well as having properly balanced pH levels.
EAT YOUR WAY TO A WELL BALANCED SKIN
An interesting paradox of our bodies is that while our skin is happiest in a slightly acidic environment, our internal pH needs to be slightly on the alkaline side for cells to function optimally. This is best achieved by eating foods that have an alkalising effect such as leafy green vegetables and other anti oxidant rich foods such as tomatoes, broccoli, carrots and avocados. Also helpful is to consume low sugar fruits (such as apples, lemons, berries and pomegranate), nuts , grains (quinoa, oatmeal, amaranth), and seeds such as chia, flax and pumpkin. Limit acid forming foods such as sugar, dairy, red meat, processed grains, yeast, alcohol, and caffeine.