My first blog post ever is on a topic I find to be very important. Also, a topic I don’t feel gets discussed nearly enough. It’s about pH levels, especially in washes for our skin.
Even I didn’t think about this topic at all a little over a year ago. But after my skin felt dry, itchy, flaky and dull I decided to figure out why. Since switching out all the washes in my routine everything improved drastically and that means I have to share, of course.
What is pH level?
So let’s rewind a little and get back to basics. “PH level, what is that really?” You might think. Or if you are like me, you just get horror flashbacks to chemistry class. PH stands for Potentian Hydrogen and is used as a scale to measure acidity and alkalinity. If you go to the most acidic end of the scale you are at zero, and then on the most alkaline end of the scale, you have 14. So water, which is a 7 on the scale, is therefore neutral. However what most people don’t know or seem to forget is that the natural pH of your skin is actually around 5, which is slightly acidic. Therefore the products we use on our skin should also be at a pH of around 5.
What using the incorrect pH does to your skin
Why does it matter, you might ask? Trust me, it does. When you constantly use products with the incorrect pH, it throws off the balance of your skin. For some people, problems with using incorrect pH might not appear until you have used them for a long time, or you might think it’s something else causing the problems. When your skin is at its natural pH level, it can keep doing its job correctly like: keep your skin hydrated, keep harmful UV rays and free radicals out, and also protect against germs and bacteria. When you use the incorrect products, your skin can get irritated, dry and itchy. They can also cause sagging of your skin or leave it too oily, which then often leads to acne.
There have been tests done on women with the wrong pH, and they tend to develop more fine lines and are also more prone to sun damage than those who used the correct pH. Haven’t we all used a cleanser that leaves your skin feeling like a shirt that is two sizes too small and you can’t wait to throw on some moisturizer? This might be because your cleanser has the incorrect pH level.
Why companies make products with incorrect pH
“All cleansers have a pH of 5, right? Why would companies create products bad for our skin?” Oh, I wish this was the case. But no, there are many reasons why companies create skincare products with incorrect pH. These products often lather better than cleansers with a lower pH, which leads consumers to believe that they are more effective and therefore preferred. Cleansers with a higher pH often remove dirt and oil effectively, which consumers believe means that the cleanser is doing a fabulous job even though this may be bad in the long run. A high pH level is also common in acne washes since those cleansers often dry out active acne for the time being but contribute to more acne in the long term.
How to incorporate low pH cleansers in your routine
I know it’s a lot of information. Don’t panic, let’s keep it simple. You could just invest in a facewash of the right pH, or if you already have a facewash you love you could incorporate a toner which helps to restore the right pH balance. And as I mentioned, a lot of people have a strong skin-barrier that can handle being washed with a pH slightly off even though it can lead to problems later down the road.
But mostly I recommend changing out your washes for all my dry and itchy people out there, cause boy do I feel you. Every shower used to be like torture for me. All those long hot showers drying out your skin and then a body wash with the wrong pH on top of that. My whole body would itch like crazy and I needed coconut oil the minute I got out of the shower. But now I have found all the washes that work for my skin. And yes I say washes, as in plural.
Low pH products I recommend
I use the Cosrx Goodmorning low pH gel cleanser and love it dearly. It has helped the balance of my face a lot. For my body, I use the Eucerin pH 5 Skin-Protection wash lotion in the unperfumed version, and thanks to this I can come out of the shower and just relax (even though I still have to moisturize my skin, it’s always going to be on the dry side). As for moisturizer, I use Neutral body lotion which works great for my dry skin and has a pH of 4.4-4.9. Lastly, I also have the Sebamed Intim-wash gel with a pH of 3,8. And yes I’m talking about feminine wash, so if that makes things awkward for you then just take my three first recommendations 😉
But yes, your feminine parts are actually of an even lower pH than the rest of your skin. That’s why I use a wash that tenders to that. But actually our lady parts are really good at balancing the pH level, which is why a separate feminine wash isn’t necessarily a must.
So to sum everything up, your body is amazing at doing everything it’s supposed to do, but with the correct pH your skin gets a much easier time. And yes, for some a wash with the incorrect pH isn’t going to affect your skin that much, but for some, the difference might be huge. These are products that work for me, but I recommend everybody to do their own research. Other than that, I hope this blog post helped some of you out and that you try products with a lower pH. Best of luck with your skin.