There are so many products out there in the market that brand themselves as pH balanced. Ever wondered what it means? It’s important to understand what pH means and how does it affect our skin.
The pH level of the skin refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. The pH scale starts from 1 which is the most acidic and up to 14 which is the most alkaline and 7 being a neutral reading for your skin pH level. If this neutral pH level is not maintained your skin is prone to become too alkaline or acidic which can cause skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, and rosacea, however, the human body has a natural defense. The acid mantle.
The acid mantle is a thin protective layer on the surface of the skin and is made up of sebum which is excreted from the sebaceous glands. This acid mantle can be easily disrupted by various factors such as changing lifestyles, age, diet, air pollution, and even the sun. Over time, excess exposure to these external and internal factors may result in the breaking down of the acid mantle and reducing its ability to protect the skin.
How to maintain the acid mantle?
1. Syndet over soap: Most of the cleansers and soaps in the market are too alkaline and strip away the natural oils of your skin leaving your skin dry and prone to itchiness. Skin that is too alkaline can easily be susceptible to acne and other skin conditions. Use a syndet or a mild cleanser with a neutral pH which benefits all skin types and helps to maintain your acid mantle.
2. Moisturizers: Moisturizers are extremely important in retaining your skins natural look and sheen. As we age the amount of oil or sebum production starts to reduce drastically, breaking down the acid mantle. Regular use of moisturizer helps to rebuild and maintain this barrier.
3. Sunscreen and Antioxidants: Sunscreen defends the acid mantle from harmful UV rays of the sun and increases the skins ability to protect itself. Water-based sunscreens work much more effectively and hydrate the skin from within. Topical Antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, and E help in maintaining the acid mantle that help fortify the cells and also protect the cells from environmental stresses.