Our skin is the largest organ of our body, and needs maintenance on a daily basis. With an unending variety of skincare products in the market, all carrying different kinds of active and other ingredients, fancy fragrances, and synthetic and advanced chemicals, we may sideline the basics of good skincare, and pH value is perhaps the most core requirement we need to know about!
Nowadays, the trend of evaluating the pH of soap of any kind is doing the rounds. And there is indeed some truth to the matter- so let’s find out why these two letters are stirring up a storm in the beauty world, and are a necessity for you to be certainly aware of!
‘pH’ value- What is it?
The pH (Potential Hydrogen) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity, generally used for but not limited to, of an aqueous solution. The scale ranges from 0-14: 7 denotes a neutral solution; below 7 denotes it’s acidic; and above 7 uptil 14 denotes it’s basic or alkaline.
Your skin also has its own pH, because it is a living part of your body that secretes sweat and oil, and is continuously supplied with blood to keep it healthy and alive. Generally speaking, the skin's pH is mildly acidic at 5.5, but the value fluctuates between 4.5 and 6.5 and differs depending on gender and the region of the body it is covering. But moist areas of the body happen to be more alkaline.
Some factors that can affect skin pH include-air pollution, sweat, acne, antibacterial products, sebum/skin moisture, and change in humidity levels according to the season.
But how and why is pH important in soap?
Our skin and the soap we select for it have one thing in common- the importance of pH value. And, the combination of right values can have rewarding benefits for your skin!
Our skin has what is called the acid mantle- a very thin, slightly acidic film on the surface of the skin that acts as a barrier to bacteria, viruses, environmental pollutants, and other potential contaminants. A healthy acid mantle helps to maintain the optimal amount of beneficial bacteria and flora for skin to remain nourished, balanced, and protected. It can have a pH between 4.5 and 6.2, depending on factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, climate, and body part.
Coming to these bubbly bricks, all soaps are alkaline in nature, whether it is a bath soap, or an exfoliating bar soap. And the pH of soap has to be slightly above neutral, more towards the basic side (that is, above 7), in order to lift the dirt and oils away from our skin. But if the pH level is too high (more alkaline), it will strip our skin, leaving it red and raw, and tight.
And sadly, the typical bar soaps we commonly use can have their pH as high as 10 or 11! Clearly, this results in a greatly destructive mismatch between the values of our skin and our soap, making the effect of soap pH on skin negative in the long run. Apart from the weakening of the acid mantle and exposition of the skin to bacterial and fungal issues, some other harmful effects of a pH mismatch include-
- Leads to chronic dryness, and makes the skin type of a dry and dehydrated kind
- Results into dry skin patches
- Makes skin flaky, peeling and cracked
- Creates irritation, redness, sensitivity and itchy skin
- Leaves skin feeling tight, thus reducing skin elasticity
- Prevents healthy skin bacteria from holding on to your skin
- Aids problematic skin bacteria, e.g. acne bacteria, to breed
So, is there any product to give you the right, ‘balanced’ skincare? YES!
Ideally, your bathing bar should be under the pH value of 5 and soap-free. But practically, anywhere between 5 to 6.5 also serves you well. The closer it is to your skin’s natural pH, the better the results.
A good answer to this search for the perfect soap is a pH balanced bathing bar. When skin is pH balanced, it means that it has a normal, acidic pH of around 5.5 on an average. In terms of skincare, pH balanced refers to how close the pH of the product is to the skin's natural pH having the above value.
Making such a product a part of your daily bathing routine will not only give you a healthy-looking skin devoid of dead cells, it will do so while maintaining your skin’s delicate pH levels and supporting it in protecting itself against harmful bacteria and pollutants surrounding you. While many top-up ingredients, such as honey and aloe vera, can increase the advantages provided by your bathing bar, a pH-balanced bathing bar with coffee can be a great add-on as it helps to tone the skin, fight-off free radicals, and give a boost of antioxidants to the skin!
In the longer run, the general benefits of using balanced pH soaps are innumerable, including some like: keeping the acid mantle maintained and healthy, thus making the skin look healthy; increasing skin’s capacity of skin to lock in moisture, resist irritation and impurities, like pollution particles; reversing signs of ageing; diminishing and preventing fine line and wrinkles due to chronic dryness or a dry skin.
So wash your hands off of your old habits, and adopt more healthy and ‘balanced’ skin care choices to get a nourished, healthy and youthful skin from within!