We hear it all the time, pH this, pH that, but what really is pH and what does this have to do with our skin? Well, it’s actually more important than you might think. pH balance has a huge impact on how your skin feels and looks and that includes us men.
What is pH?
First, let’s talk about pH and pH balance. pH is the measurement of the acidity of something. The scale ranges from 0 to 14, 0 being the most acidic and 14, being the most basic. According to Healthline, the best pH range for your skin is at the weakly acidic level—that’s around 4.5 to 5.5.
What is pH balance?
Do we men have pH balance as well? Yes, we do. It’s a universal thing that affects all of us. But don’t worry, the pH range isn’t necessarily strict. You can still be outside the range but just make sure you don’t go too far and here’s why:
The main reason your skin is slightly on the acidic side is that the acidity helps your skin combat harmful microbes and free radicals that could come from literally anywhere—your bed, your hat, even the air!
It’s unavoidable even in the comfort of your own home and if your skin isn’t acidic enough, these things could quicken your skin’s aging process or at worst, irritate your skin causing so much more problems.
Now you know why your skin is slightly acidic, but what happens if it’s too acidic? The acidity will become too much for your skin and will instead irritate your skin. This could lead to a significantly higher chance of acne formation, or worse, it could cause more concerning skin conditions like eczema.
In short, maintaining skin pH balance is extremely essential if you want your skin to be healthy, at the very least. Now to do that, let’s first look at what’s affecting your skin’s pH balance in the first place.
Factors affecting your skin pH balance
Every liquid has its own pH level and each of these, when coming into contact with your skin for an extended period of time, can cause your skin's pH to lose its balance. Some come naturally while others can be external.
- Sebum and Skin Moisture
- Age and Genetics
- Skin Conditions
- Stress and Hormones
- Detergents and Soaps
- Skincare and Facial Products
So what are the symptoms of an off-balance pH? If your skin is too acidic, this could cause inflammation, meaning red spots or areas on your skin, and acne. This is typically seen on oily skin. On the other hand, if your skin is too alkaline, your skin becomes dry and irritated, also seen as red spots or areas on your skin but dry. In this case, you’ll feel some itchiness on those spots.
Although some of these factors are out of your control, there are still ways to balance your skin’s pH. The short answer is skincare. Let’s discuss it further.
How to Balance Your Skin pH?
The best way to balance your skin’s pH is to plan out a simple but effective skincare routine that will let you take control of your skin health. Always keep in mind what your skin needs and what type of skin you have so you can achieve the best results.
Use gentle cleansers
The best cleanser to use on your skin is those with pH 4 or lower but not too low. Although not all products have that listed on their package, some still do and it would benefit you to know.
It’s important to note that water is part of the equation here and water has a pH level of 7.0. On that note, you should go for more acidic cleansers to help maintain the balance of your skin pH. More alkaline facial cleansers could strip away your natural skin barrier.
Use a skin toner
Skin toners are usually between pH levels of 5.0 to 7.0. This is to help neutralize any alkalinity on your skin which could be a result of any of the other factors. Basically, skin toners are great to help top off your routine just to avoid a high pH level.
Do note that there are some people who shouldn’t be using toner if this isn’t already said by your doctor. People who have rosacea may experience more sensitivity and dryness depending on how much toner is applied. In such cases, it’s better to consult with your skin care professional first before proceeding with its use.
Some could also opt for astringents. The main difference is astringents contain alcohol which is harsher on your skin while toners are usually water-based. More often than not, it’s better to use the gentler option, a.k.a. the water-based solution rather than the other at the risk of causing an imbalance to your skin’s pH.
I find that Mantisfy’s Facial Moisturizing Toner does the trick. It’s gentle on the skin but is still enough to keep my skin pH balanced. Not only that, it’s super easy to apply — just spray it on your face — and you can have your skin feeling moisturized anytime, anywhere.
With the use of high-quality ingredients like Salicornia, the product gets a strong moisturizing ability and is sure to last all day long.
A staple to every routine is a moisturizer, and only rightfully so. Moisturizers come in many forms: oils, lotions, gels, and creams, and sometimes are made to combat specific climates or seasons. Not only will this keep your skin hydrated, but moisturizers also act as an extra barrier protecting your skin from harmful particles floating around or on surfaces.
Skin hydration goes a long way in slowing down your skin’s aging process and keeping it smooth. Certain petrolatum-based emollients are especially good at this specific purpose and most, if not all, moisturizers contain these. Just make sure to read the product properly to see if it’s the best match for you.
Once a week. That’s the usual and most optimal interval when exfoliating. Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the top layer of your skin to reveal new and young skin cells, leaving you with smooth and healthy skin.
That is also why you shouldn’t do it too often. If you exfoliate faster than your skin forms a new layer of skin cells, you’ll expose the inner layers of your skin which shouldn’t be exposed. In doing so, your skin becomes prone to more problems like irritation and inflammation.
Gentle exfoliants should be enough as an addition to your general skincare routine. The type of exfoliation could change depending on what skin type you have too. For that, it’s best to consult with an expert or you can try researching and you should be able to easily determine your skin type.
Skin pH affects you way more than you might think. When your skin’s pH is not in the optimal range, you will start noticing it right away when it manifests in many forms including but not limited to inflammation, irritation, and acne.
It’s hard to tell what happens throughout your day so the best way to deal with this is to take control. Having a proper skincare routine can help you manage your skin’s pH balance and you can learn more about it here. The usual routine consists of a cleanser and a moisturizer but it may vary depending on what your skin needs.
You can also add a dose of sunscreen daily to protect your skin from the ultraviolet rays coming from the sun. Though you don’t see it, it actually also affects your skin a lot especially when it is exposed for an extended period of time.