You’ve heard that you should use a pH-balanced moisturizer.

But why? What does pH have to do with healthy skin?

What Is pH in Skin Care?

In chemistry, pH stands for “potential of hydrogen” or “power of hydrogen. The pH scale is associated with the concentration of hydrogen ions in the solution. Lower values mean the solution is more acidic and higher values mean it’s more alkaline.

This can be confusing if you’re not a chemistry major, though. The important thing is to know that pH is simply a way of measuring whether something is more acidic or more alkaline.

ph-Balanced Body Repair LotionWhat Does pH-Balanced Moisturizer Have to Do with Skin?

On the pH scale, the midpoint between acidic and alkaline is the “neutral” point, which is the number 7.

Anything measuring above the number 7 is alkaline, and anything below that is acidic. Pure water is neutral, with a measurement of 7.

Scientists have also figured out that the normal pH of skin averages around 4.7-5.5 on the pH scale. This means that yes, your skin is slightly on the acidic side of the scale.

The skin’s pH comes from a thin surface layer of sebum and sweat called the “acid mantle.” This creates a barrier that seals in moisture and protects the skin from pathogens.

It also keeps the skin’s microbiome balanced, protecting the skin from environmental assaults and infections.

In general, if the pH level of the skin goes more than a little higher or lower than where it should be, it means that something has disrupted the acid mantle and there are likely to be problems.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a pH-Balanced Moisturizer for Skin?

When skin is healthy, the pH level will remain where it should be and the skin will be at its best. Several factors can alter the pH level, however, including the following:

  • Harsh cleansers containing sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Bar soaps (they are alkaline and can disrupt the acid mantle)
  • Fragrances
  • Drying alcohols
  • Hard water (it can cause the skin to be more alkaline)
  • Harsh detergents (particularly if you use them to wash your face masks)
  • Overwashing your face
  • Exfoliating too often
  • Overusing acids on the skin, like glycolic and salicylic (It’s okay to use low-level acid products daily, but high-level acids can cause peeling, which is a sign of pH disruption.)

If you’re regularly harming your skin with a pH disruptor, your products are unlikely to work as well as they could. It’s like smoking a cigarette and then eating some broccoli. One doesn’t cancel out the other.

That’s why it’s important to be sure that your skincare regimen is not harming your skin’s natural pH balance.

ph-Balanced Calming MoistureWhat Is a pH-Balanced Skincare Product?

When it comes to skincare products, pH-balanced refers to products formulated with a pH that falls in the range of normal, healthy skin.

The ideal range of a pH-balanced moisturizer is a pH between 5-7. That means the product is close to the pH-balance of skin and will not alter it dramatically.

In some cases, certain skin care products have pH numbers that fall outside of this range, like an exfoliant, because there is a benefit—stimulating skin to produce an effect.

The skin can recover its pH level after a disruption like this, and on occasion, this is healthy. But if you regularly use products that are not pH-balanced, it can overtax the skin’s recovery efforts, causing damage and premature aging.

Signs You Don’t Have a pH-Balanced Moisturizer

How can you tell if your skin’s pH is healthy or not? Look for these signs of a disrupted pH:

  • Dry skin
  • Itchy skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Peeling
  • Redness and inflammation
  • Acne breakouts
  • Eczema flare-ups
  • Sensitivity
  • Infections
  • Dermatitis
  • Fine lines and wrinkles

Of course, these issues can be caused by other factors as well—such as using the wrong products or eating an unhealthy diet—but it’s good to know that pH can affect these issues too.

If you notice any of these problems developing on your skin, stop using any acidic products or exfoliators, and immediately apply a nourishing moisturizer that will help repair and balance the skin barrier. (Like our CV Skinlabs products! They’re all created to maintain pH balance.)

How to Find the Best pH-Balanced Moisturizer for Skin

Though many products may say “pH-balanced” on the label, companies usually don’t include the actual pH level.

You may be able to find it on the brand’s website, or you can email the company and ask.

Fortunately, the majority of rinse-off and leave-on skincare products are pH-balanced. Most manufacturers take steps to ensure a balance while they are formulating the products because that also means that they will perform well on the skin.

More good news: research shows that mild disruptions in the skin’s pH (such as using a product that’s got a slightly different pH level) are temporary, as the skin will naturally equalize itself within a short period.

Regularly using highly acidic or alkaline products, however, can cause more disruption than the skin can keep up with. So it’s best to be sure that most of your skincare products will help nourish the acid mantle and won’t disrupt the pH level.

In general, in addition to looking for the words “pH-balanced,” look for products with gentle ingredients. When a product contains gentle cleansers, vitamins, natural oils, and butters, it’s unlikely to break down or strip away the sebum and sweat in the acid mantle. That means it will protect, not disrupt, the skin’s outer barrier, which means healthier, more radiant skin.

We recommend our Calming Moisture and Body Repair Lotion. They are both pH-balanced, so they won’t disrupt your acid mantle. They also help repair the skin’s outer barrier so that your skin can recover from past damage to look its best.

Do you use pH-balanced skincare products?

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