Understanding pH in Skin
At Karuna, we’re all about getting your skin back to its most balanced place. When it comes to achieving healthy-looking, radiant skin, one crucial factor that often goes unnoticed is pH balance – one of the easiest ways to boost your skin barrier and offset common skin concerns like dryness, irritation, and breakouts. Let’s take a look at what it’s all about!
What is pH Balance?
pH stands for "potential of hydrogen," and it is a measure of acidity and alkalinity – often reflected on a scale that ranges from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. A pH of less than 7 is considered acidic, while a pH of greater than 7 is considered alkaline or basic. The ideal pH level for healthy skin is slightly acidic, ranging from 4.5 to 5.5.
Did you know…your skin’s natural moisture barrier is also referred to as the acid mantle, which helps to keep the pH level of the skin slightly acidic?
The Importance of pH Balance in Skincare
Maintaining the natural pH level of the skin is super important for healthy skin function and appearance.. The skin's barrier (aka acid mantle) acts as a barrier to external irritants like pollution and viruses, and if it becomes disrupted, your skin can become dry, itchy, and prone to breakouts or premature signs of aging. Similarly, using skincare products that have a pH level outside the skin's natural range can compromise your barrier, leading to all those previously mentioned concerns.
For example... using products with a high pH (alkaline) level like soap can strip the skin of its natural oils, leading to dryness, irritation, and inflammation. On the other hand, products with a low pH level (acidic), like some exfoliating acids, can lead to over-exfoliation and cause skin damage and increased sensitivity.
Finding The Right Balancing in Your Products
When you’re shopping around for products that will keep your skin barrier and natural pH happy, there are a few things to take into consideration:
- Take your skin type into account! Oily skin tends to have a lower pH level than dry skin. This is why you’d often find cleansers and treatments that are intended for oil control or breakouts to be a bit more alkaline
- Water-based products like toners, cleansers, and serums tend to have a lower pH level than oil-based products like moisturizers and face oils.
- Cleansers are the products that most commonly disrupt the skin's natural pH balance. For example, traditional bar soaps can have a pH level of 9-10 (super alkaline!) and can strip the skin of its natural oils.
- Exfoliating acids like glycolic, lactic, and salicylic acid can have a pH level of 3-4 which true to their name, is acidic. These acids help to exfoliate the skin by breaking down dead skin cells, but overuse can lead to over-exfoliation, dryness, and skin damage, so make sure you're always following the usage instructions!
Not sure where to start? Try our Cleanse, Target, Moisturize method for daily balance and don’t forget to boost your routine during the week with a mask. Here are some of our go-to's:
What are your go-to products to keep your skin barrier and pH in balance? Let us know below or tag us on Instagram @karunaskin to share your thoughts – we love hearing from you!