Skin pH: Level Down, Not Up
by Natalise Kalea Robinson
The human body is beautiful. And a foundational part of that beauty is your skin. We are able to interact with the world with our skin; others can see it and touch it; and we can feel it. Through our skin, we experience the world, and it is no wonder that we often have a unique bond with this organ -- our largest by surface area.
When it comes to skin health, it is important to be aware of skin pH because it indicates how resilient your skin is, especially to pathogenic bacteria and other microbes. Skin pH is also correlated to skin hydration.
pH is short for potential Hydrogen and it represents acidity. The standard pH scale has fixed values ranging from 1 to 14 in which 7 is the neutral number. Below 7, the pH is considered acidic and above 7 it is alkaline (or basic).
The sebum, or natural oil, in your skin combines with lactic acid and amino acids from sweat to form your skin’s pH. The pH of healthy skin is slightly acidic and ranges from 4 to 5. If your skin consistently has a pH of over 6, it may indicate that your skin is extremely dry and/or inflamed, which can cause premature aging. Needless to say, skin pH is vital to your overall skin health and wellness.
How to maintain your skin pH:
- Say yes to a mild, microbiome-friendly cleanser:
We recommend investing in a mild, microbiome-friendly cleanser. The main goal of a cleanser should be to clean clogged skin pores and make them dirt-free and pollutant-free, while maintaining oil and microbial balance. Using a mild cleanser is essential. Harsh cleansers wipe away all the sebum and leave a dry, damaged and unbalanced skin pH. So we prefer clean skin care products that are free of toxic chemicals and powerful surfactants.
- Toner can be a winner:
For the right skin types, toner can make or break your skin game. Toners not only feel luxurious, they can also maintain your pH level. Use a clean, microbiome-friendly toner after cleansing to remove any remaining dirt or impurities. Very popular in K-beauty, toner can restore the natural pH of your skin and give it a silky, smooth texture. Just put a few drops of your toner on a cotton pad or in the palm of your hands, and glide the toner over your face to get glowing and refreshed skin.
- An effective, hydrating moisturizer:
Moisturizer is an essential step in your skin regimen. No matter which skin (or skin microbiome) type you have, moisturizer can help keep your skin hydrated properly. People with oily skin might think that moisturizer is unnecessary, but the right moisturizer can help prevent inflammation and promote anti-aging. There are different varieties of moisturizer -- lightweight, heavy, non-comedogenic, water-based, oil-based, etc. Your skin microbiome type can help you understand which moisturizer with which ingredients are most appropriate. The right moisturizer can help restore your skin moisture and keep your skin pH level low (acidic).
4. (Optional) Exfoliation from time to time:
If exfoliation is right for your skin microbiome type, an exfoliant with a balanced pH level can help in restoring your skin’s natural pH level. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells and promotes rejuvenation with refreshed, radiant and glowing skin. Choosing a mild exfoliant with natural herbs, oils, and some beneficial ingredients with zero toxic chemicals is key. However, you should only use an exfoliant according to your skin microbiome type, and only when you need to, otherwise, it can create imbalance in your skin microbiome.
Things that can negatively affect your skin pH:
Our daily routines have a huge role in maintaining the health of our skin. Our habits and diet all affect our skin directly and indirectly. Here are a few considerations:
● Avoid harsh skin care products
● Opt for organic or natural products
● Exfoliate as needed; do not over exfoliate your skin
● Microbial imbalance can disturb your skin pH
● Pollutants disturb your skin pH
● Your tap water can also change your skin pH
● Regular use of certain makeup products can also change your skin pH.
Discovering your skin microbiome type, pH level, and hydration are all important ways to understand your overall skin health. If you’re interested in learning more, sign up to join the Parallel community. All members receive access to personalized skincare products, as well as skin microbiome testing opportunities.
A parallel world lives amongst us: the microbial world. This world impacts not only our lifespan, but also our healthspan.
Our mission is to empower people with real science to make meaningful decisions to improve their healthspan.
Parallel is a microbial diagnostics and next-level skincare company that aims to revolutionize skin health by providing deep insight and true personalization, through best-in-class testing and targeted, clean microbial formulations.