When I was a teenager, I was far more concerned with banishing the zits from my face than balancing my skin’s pH level. But looking back now, I wonder how much better my skin would have been if I had paid more attention. Instead of fighting against my biology, what kind of success would I have had if I kept my skin balanced and happy. Would this have decreased all the spots I had over the years?
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It’s easy to look back and identify all the things I should have done differently. These days I’m more focused on bringing balance to my skin and staying focused on my skin’s pH level. I now know just how happy my skin is when it’s balanced and calm. I’m finally making informed decisions that keep my acne at bay and using natural products that I love. Doesn’t your skin deserve some balance?
Your Skin’s Biology
Honestly, I think we could all stand to know more about our skin and the biology of it. If we’re going to pick and choose potentially dangerous products to slather all over our skin every day, we should at least understand what our skin is and how it’s put together so we don’t unknowingly harm it in the process. Of course, that’s a biology lesson for another day. Right here and now, it’s most important to understand the epidermis.
Our Body’s Protection
The epidermis is the outer later of the skin. When combined with the bottom-layer dermis, they form the 4-5 layers that comprise your skin. When it comes to skin care, most products target the epidermis. Melanin (skin pigment) is located in the epidermis. Pores too. Most of our skin concerns happen in the epidermis so this is what we’re targeting with all of those skin care products. But another very important aspect located in the epidermis is your skin’s acid mantle.
Your Skin’s pH Level
This acid mantle is what balances our skin’s pH level, which sits between 4.5 and 6.2, making it acidic. Most contaminants are alkaline in nature (meaning their pH is higher than 7) so our skin being more acidic helps neutralize the threat. Yes, you heard me right. Our skin is equipped to protect itself against contaminants and bacteria before we even get involved.
Why does this matter when it comes to skin care? Well most cleansers are alkaline, meaning they strip the skin of it’s acid mantle. This actually allows bacteria to attack your skin. That’s right..those awesome acne washes you’re using are actually allowing more bacteria to get in and clog your pores!
We try and establish the perfect skin care routine but more often than not, we’re choosing the wrong products. These products wreck havoc on a system biologically designed for success and cause more issues than we fix.
The Dangers of Cleansing
Most soap is highly alkaline (with a pH of 12) so it wrecks havoc on our acidic skin mantle (with a pH of approximately 5). While we all know and love the “clean feeling” of a good soapy rinse, it’s actually neutralizing the skin’s surface and washing away all of our natural defense mechanisms. This is why it’s so important to know the pH of any cleansers, moisturizers, makeup and other skin products you use. This knowledge will help you protect the acid mantle of your skin.
However cleansing is important because you need to remove the build up of dead skin cells at the surface of the skin. So when choosing skin care products it’s important to balance the acid and alkaline maintenance of the skin. This can come through the use of specific cleansers and toners that work together to balance things. Maybe your cleanser is more alkaline to clean things up, but you choose a toner that brings you back down to a pH level of 5 so your skin is protected again. With a little careful planning, you can find the perfect products that do exactly that.
My Product Recommendations for your Skin’s pH Level
There’s a long list of natural products that will bring balance to your skin’s pH level. Especially since natural products get the job done without a lot of frivolous ingredients. This allows you to really understand the pH level of the products you choose and make sure you end up in the correct zone (between 4.5 and 6.2) before the end of your routine. Below are some of the cleansers and toners I personally recommend to get the results you want and finally balance your skin.
- Castile Soap – This soap is made from vegetable oils like olive oil and coconut oil and is the perfect soapy base for any cleanser or cleaning recipe you want to make. However, it is more alkaline (with a pH of about 8.9) than our skin prefers. It’s recommend using this soap in a DIY that ends up more neutral or acidic by the end to keep your skin squeaky clean, but happy. Want to get some? Buy it on Amazon!
- Honey – Who doesn’t love honey? This golden elixir is amazing for so many purposes, especially cleansing! Chock full of antibacterial properties, honey is amazing at cleaning your skin and leaving it clean and moisturized. Even better, the pH level of honey sits on the acidic side and can range anywhere from 3.4 to 6.1 (depends on the flowers used to make it). I recommend you get raw local honey for more benefits.
- Carrier Oils – Oil cleansing is becoming all the rage lately. And for good reason! Depending on the oil you choose, you’ll clean your skin with the antibacterial properties and melt away make up. Not to mention the moisture it brings to your skin which is always appreciated while typically remaining on the acidic side. With so many different oils to choose from, there’s no end to the possibilities for your skin!
- Witch Hazel – A natural astringent, witch hazel is a staple in my natural skin care routine. It’s brought such balance to my oily acne prone skin and has even lightened a lot of my scars. I use it every day and credit it with the improvement of my skin. Especially since it’s pH level is on the acidic side (3 to 4) which will restore your skin’s acid mantle while dissolving dirt and bacteria. This is my favorite brand (with that amazon prime shipping!)
- Apple Cider Vinegar – This natural acid has so many awesome qualities from the alpha hydroxy acids that resurface your skin and give you a glow to antibacterial properties that keep your skin clean. It’s pH level sits more acidic than most (around a 2.8) but combined with water to dilute it, it should balance your skin wonderfully. Apple cider vinegar is a must for any skin care and wellness routine. Buy it on Amazon.
- Rosewater – The pH level of rosewater sit’s incredibly close to our skin’s acid mantle, which makes it the perfect choice for a facial toner. Not to mention rosewater is incredibly nourishing and heals the skin, keeping redness and inflammation at bay. Anyone with sensitive skin would benefit from the use of rosewater in their routine. I’ve begun using it for my newly combination skin and I’m loving it. Get yourself some!
In reality, your whole skin care routine should work together to bring balance to your skin. No one product should throw your skin so out of wack that you end up with more symptoms than solutions. But with some experimentation and a careful eye on your skin’s pH level, you can craft the perfect routine.
Let me guess, you’re a skin care lover like me?
You’re in good company around here! Why not stay a while and read about some more? Here are some of my personal favorites: