How does pH affect our skin’s barrier?
It all begins with the skin’s acid mantle. Put simply, this is a mix of natural sebum and acids, dead skin cells, and sweat that sits as a fine film on the skin’s surface. This delicate mix creates a healthy barrier for your skin, and works to protect it from bacteria, environmental pollutants, and trans-epidermal moisture loss. If the pH levels of the acid mantle change dramatically too far to either end of the scale, then the skin’s protection is compromised.
How do you know if your pH levels are out of kilter?
Some indicators that your pH levels have been compromised are:
- Dry and flaky skin
- Abnormal sensitivity
This could be due to using products which are not balanced, over exfoliating, eating too many foods which have thrown off your internal alkaline as well as environmental factors.
What pH level should we be aiming for?
A healthy skin thrives at pH levels between 4.0-6.5, with its happiest place being around pH5.5. You can actually test the pH levels of your body with testing strips which can be purchased at pharmacies and health shops. A dermatologist will also be able to accurately test the pH levels of your skin.
How can we maintain the ideal pH5.5p?
The key is to maintain overall body pH levels. What you put inside is just as important as what you use outside, hence the rise of alkaline diets to tackle both gut and skin inflammation.
pH balancing tips for flawless skin
Eat alkalising foods: Including leafy greens and fermented vegetables, avocado, lemons, limes, nuts and seeds, coconut oil and ancient grains to name a few.
Avoid harsh soaps and detergents: Especially the ones that contain Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) which can damage the skin’s barrier and cause irritation.
Drink purified water: If possible avoid tap water and opt for purified water instead which has a higher pH level and less chlorine and contaminants.
Invest in some pH testing strips: A good way to track the pH levels in your body is to regularly test with test strips.
How to perfect your skin’s pH
Incorporating AHAs into your routine will help give the skin the acid that it needs to rebuild and repair. AHAs increase cell turnover, help to fade discolouration in the skin and increase hyaluronic acid content. They can, however, increase photo-sensitivity, so we recommend using a SPF50+ every day when using all AHAs.