If you’ve been self-diagnosing your everyday skin issues, you’ve probably done a lot Googling and have come across the concept of pH-balanced skin. Videos of people using strips of litmus paper to test pH levels of both Western and Korean beauty products are all the rage on Youtube. Apparently, using skincare products with low pH levels are the secret to flawless skin.
First, let’s define pH. It stands for potential hydrogen. Simply put, it’s a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of water-based solutions. The scale goes from 1 to 14, with 7 being the mid-point or neutral. The numbers from 1 to 6 indicates acidity with 1 as the most acidic. On the other hand, numbers from 8 to 14 represents the basicity or alkalinity of substances with 14 as the most alkaline or basic.
Water, in its purest form, has pH level of 7. This means that when water is applied to the skin, this does not affect the pH level of the skin surface. The surface of the skin, affected by most of the beauty products you use, is called the acid mantle. It has an ideal pH level of 5.5.
This protective layer is slightly acidic for a couple of reasons. One, it blocks dirt, pollution, germs, and bacteria from penetrating the skin. Second, it prevents moisture and lipids from escaping.
What happens if your skin’s pH Level is left unbalanced?
Acne and blemishes can erupt on skin that’s stripped of its natural barriers. As the protective acidic layer becomes more basic, bacteria and dirt can easily penetrate it, causing skin irritation. The skin becomes dry as lipids and moisture seep away. Serious skin diseases like psoriasis and eczema can be exacerbated by pH imbalance.
The goal of every pH-balanced skincare product is to achieve and preserve the correct pH level of the skin. Traditional soap is very alkaline and its levels are too harsh for the skin, especially the face area. That’s why modern skincare products emphasize their low pH formulas to let customers know that these are safe for the skin.
What are the different low pH products out in the market?
There are many low-pH skincare products available for each step of your skincare regimen. Here are some samples:
Facial Cleansers – Clean skin is a fundamental in skincare. As soaps are too alkaline, facial cleansers are a must. Look for gentle cleansers like COSRX’s Good Morning Gel Cleansers to clean your face. The low pH formula preserves the optimal pH level of the skin and that means the skin retains its natural moisture and acidity.
Toners – Toners need to be neutral or at least slightly acidic. More importantly, they should not contain alcohol. Alcohol dries out the skin really quickly and is especially bad for acne-prone skin. Toners should act as a pH-balancing agent with the correct ingredients such as AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) and BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid). These types of toners gently exfoliate skin and help bring down the pH level of the skin.
Moisturizer – Unbalanced skin pH levels do not just cause acne breakouts but wrinkles and aging skin as well. If skin becomes too alkaline, the skin’s natural oils and moisture seep out, causing dryness that leads to wrinkles over time. It’s important to check the pH levels of your day, night, and eye moisturizers to make sure its well below a 7pH level.
As you can see, there are now options for low pH skincare products. So do away with that bunch of litmus paper—just switch to these products for better skin.