No doubt you’ve seen the words ‘pH balanced’ on a container of moisturizer, as well as on other creams, cleansers, cosmetics, sunscreen lotions, shampoo and conditioner, etc. Have you stopped to consider what that means? It’s supposed to be good for your skin, right?
Well, a little knowledge here is very helpful. And we’ll gladly tell you more about what pH balanced means. Think carefully before you buy any skin product, especially a moisturizer. You want a pH balanced moisturizer to help your skin achieve its best health.
Just What Is pH?
Without going into a science lesson, pH stands for ‘potential of hydrogen’. What does that mean? It’s about measuring how acidic or alkaline something is. Pretty much everything that contains some amount of water can be given a pH measurement on a scale out of 14. That includes your skin and your moisturizer. 7 is the halfway point on the scale, representing an even balance. Plain water is measured at 7 – it is neither acidic nor alkaline. Dropping downward from 7 shows increasing acid content, while going up from 7 marks increasing alkaline content. Battery acid is measured at 0 (most acidic), orange juice at 3, coffee at 5, plain water at 7, eggs and sea water at 8, soapy water at 12, and liquid drain cleaners at 14 (most alkaline).
Remember that 12 for soapy water, by the way.
pH Balance and Your Moisturizer
Does this mean that a pH balanced moisturizer is measured at 7 on the scale? Not quite. It should be at 5.5, actually, which is slightly on the acidic side.
Why is that? Because 5.5 is the pH level of human skin. Therefore, ‘balanced’ should mean that the moisturizer matches the level of healthy skin.
Being slightly acidic enables your skin’s natural barrier to retain moisture while protecting effectively against external factors like ultraviolet rays and pollution. Women’s skin is slightly more acidic skin than men’s, hence it should appear more ‘feminine’ (smoother and softer). When skin’s pH balance is out of whack (usually meaning it becomes too alkaline), it has problems – oiliness, dryness, irritation, acne, mixed color, even rashes and eczema. Skin pH levels go up with age, causing that wrinkly, saggy appearance.
The wrong kind of skin cleanser is too alkaline and will degrade your skin’s natural protective barrier. Remember that soapy water has a pH level of 12? That is very alkaline and can make your skin dry, red, even raw. In response, your skin could become oily as it tries to restore balance. It can take hours for your skin to return to some level of normality.
Therefore, look also for a cleanser with a pH level of 5.5 because it won’t be too harsh.
Your Moisturizer is So Important
If the ideal pH level for your skin is 5.5, enabling it to look its best and perform its functions properly, it makes sense to apply a moisturizer of the same level because it can be absorbed better. The more often you use a pH moisturizer balanced at 5.5 (without using a harsh cleanser), the closer you can bring your skin to its perfect balance.
This is why a moisturizer that uses aloe vera gel as its base liquid instead of water is more likely to assist your skin. The same goes for your cleanser. Aloe vera also has a pH balance around 5.5, whereas water is at 7.
So, now you know. If you’re not sure about your current moisturizer’s true pH levels, toss it out and buy one that is guaranteed to be at the 5.5 level. Your skin will thank you profusely!
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