Face cleanser, cosmetics, etc., could throw your pH balance off…. Use of litmus paper is helpful.
Taking care of balance face with oil and water is common, but we are not fully aware of balance of ‘pH balance’. If your face pH balance is off, your skin is suddenly sensitive, dried, acne or pimples. What is skin pH?
Skin is the first barrier to protect our body from the outside, and ‘pH’ is the core of protection barrier. pH is a hydrogen ion concentration exponent expressed as a number from 0 to 14 indicating the degree of the acidity or alkalinity. Based on the neutral pH of 7, if the number is lower, it is called to be acidic, and if it is higher, it is called to be alkaline.
Ideal skin pH level is at 4.5 to 5.5 as subacidity. The reason why subacidity is ideal is that various ‘acidic secretions’ from the skin’s sebaceous and sweat glands act as a protective film. They block harmful bacteria that harm your body and neutralizes alkaline substances (toxic surfactants, etc.) that irritate the skin.
However, if the skin protection barrier is broken by continuous stimulation, the pH balance of the skin is inevitably off, either. This means that is can be seen as a sign that the skin can be easily damaged in any direction. When the pH balance of the skin is off and it is biased towards either acidity or alkalinity, the skin sends an abnormal signal.
Dr. Sungkyun Cho, owner of Parkview Clinic, explained, “When your skin gets closer to acidity, your skin can be grease by oily condition and skin troubles such as acne can occur. Conversely, as it gets closer to alkalinity, your skin becomes dry and sensitive and skin diseases such as eczema and atopic dermatitis tend to occur.” and “When the pH is lowered by one level, the skin acidity increases 100 times, so pH is very important.”.
There are a lot of factors that break the skin’s pH balance but the mostly it causes by ‘inappropriate lifestyle’ A typical example is that using alkaline cleanser or not suitable cosmetic for your skin pH.
Common cleansers such as soaps and cleansing form that you can get it easily in the market has a high alkalinity the level, pH 9~10 and have strong detergency but if you use it heavily in your daily life, the acidic secretions in your skin will not function as a protective film. It causes skin damage easily by external environment, becomes dried and sensitive skin by removing the useful sebaceous membranes and even affects low immune system.
If you keep your healthy skin condition, it is better to use subacidity cleanser. However, if you have difficulty to use it every day because of weak detergency, you can use it with an appropriate amount of an alkaline cleanser.
If you use cosmetics without considering the pH in the presence of skin problem such as acne and atopic dermatitis, symptoms may worsen. You should use cosmetics with a pH index suitable for your skin condition.
Dr. Cho said, “Before using cosmetics, you need to know the pH. If you understand the level of pH you can decide whether it will be a problem for your skin or not. The best way is to test it with litmus paper. When cosmetics are applied to paper, it turns red when it is acidic, and turns purple when it is alkaline.”
There is a treatment that helps to keep pH balance.
Dr. Cho explained, “Rejuran Healer contains a stimulant that restores the body’s pH and balances the skin while increasing collagen. As you age, your skin’s protective barrier breaks down and your skin becomes more alkaline, as collagen decreases with age. So, if you promote collagen, you can find the pH balance. By stimulating the skin with ultrasound device such as Sonostyler or LDM, collagen can be further stimulated.”
Additionally, he said, “If the skin’s pH is low and oily, you can temporarily control the pH through a peeling treatment. An acid peeling agent such as AHA or BHA or an alkaline peeling agent may be used according to an individual’s skin condition. However, if you take it too often, it can damage the skin barrier, so it should be done in a way that does not irritate it.”
The pH balance, once off, can not be restored in a short period of time, so it is most important to manage it in advance. Dr. Cho advised, “The treatment in a clinic is only helpful when it combined with your skin care. Form long-time perspective, it is good to choose cosmetics that are suitable for you.”