What is pH & why should I care?
PH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a logarithmic scale. In other words, everything that is water-soluble has a pH that ranges between 1-14. A neutral pH is in the middle at 7, acids are below 7, and alkalis are above 7. Here are some examples, water has a neutral pH of 7, while coffee is acidic and cabbage is alkaline.
PH & the acid mantle!
The acid mantle is our skin’s defense system, a very fine slightly acidic film produced in part by our outermost layer of skin (or the Stratum Corneum) where it contributes sebum (oils, waxes, esters) and sweat (water, salt). The acidity develops when the bacteria on our skin (don’t worry, this kind of bacteria is our friend, and he’s awesome!) breaks down these oils into fatty acids and glycerol. The average pH of the acid mantle of healthy skin is 5.5. Depending on your age, gender, skin type etc. this number can change.
Simply put, the acidic environment of our skin is regulated by the so-called ‘acid mantle’.
What are the three important functions of the acid mantle?
- It acts as a barrier against bacteria, viruses, dirt harmful pollutants
- It helps regulate oil-production levels
- It helps our skin retain its own moisture
Studies have shown that an increased imbalance in the pH of our acid mantle affects our skin and can cause a chronic state of instability in our outermost layer of the epidermis. It can either dry our skin and make it dehydrated or cause it to be more prone to acne. Acidity also plays a key role in activating certain enzymes in our epidermis which are involved in the synthesis and maintenance of an effective skin barrier.
In other words:
- When your skin is in an acidic state, the following will occur:
Acne (adult, cystic, hormonal, rosacea, etc.), Oily Skin (clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, etc.), Redness & Inflammation. In other words, your skin will produce excess oil that will clog pores, leading to the various forms of acne, inflammation & sensitivity.
- When your skin is in an alkaline state, the following will occur:
Dryness, Sensitivity, Redness, Inflammation, Sun Damage & Wrinkles. The skin's ability to retain its own moisture is further hindered the more alkaline it is, leading to the "dry skin" problems.
A balanced and great looking skin would fall between 4.5 -6.5.
At Labothécaire, we make sure that our products are pH balanced themselves to help you attain and maintain a pH balanced skin, i.e. a healthy & radiant skin! To shop Labothécaire products click here.
Stay Tuned! In our upcoming articles in the pH Series, we will discuss how our products' pH levels affect our skin and what we can do about it!
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