What Is pH & Why Is It Important For Your Skin?

You’ve probably heard the term “skin pH” recently in the news. And it might sound vaguely familiar from high school chemistry class. But what exactly does that mean in terms of your skincare routine?

Well, here’s a quick refresher: pH is an acronym for potential hydrogen, i.e. something’s ability to attract hydrogen ions. A less scientific explanation is that pH is simply the acid/alkaline balance. Your skin’s surface layer is called the acid mantle and is comprised of sebum excreted from your skin’s sebaceous glands. This mixes with the lactic and amino acids from your sweat to create your skin’s pH.

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“Every organ in our body functions at some optimal pH — remember skin is an organ too,” says dermatologist Dr. Mona Gohara. “The best pH for skin is [for it to be] slightly acidic,” she explains. She goes on to note that this is optimal for skin barrier function — keeping water in and irritants out.

So, according to science, maintaining a balanced pH is vital for smooth, hydrated, glowy skin. Seems easy enough, since it’s all handled by your body naturally, right? Unfortunately, just like any other skin function, your system can get out of whack, leading to an imbalance. Gohara says that when the pH is off and the barrier is compromised you can get inflammation, irritation, redness, dry skin, or full-blown eczema.

Fortunately, there is a way to ensure your skin barrier stays in balance and, surprisingly, it involves your cleansing routine. Here are three things you can do for perfect pH.

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When choosing a cleanser, Gohara says that you want to avoid harsh cleansers, over-scrubbing, alcohol-based toners, and some DIY stuff. While it’s fun to create your own masks, if you concoct any that involve lemons, baking soda, or cinnamon, they can “drop or spike the pH in your skin, making barrier function a mess,” she says.

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Cleansing is one of the most important steps in your skincare routine so always, always, always cleanse in the morning to remove overnight masks and debris. At night try a double cleanse to dissolve makeup, SPF, pollution, and sultry summer sweat.

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A gentle, calming cleanser that helps you maintain your skin’s pH while imparting moisture is integral to beautiful skin. Be on the lookout for products that clearly state they are pH neutral and also boast hydrating benefits.

We know how important a balanced pH is, which is why our newly re-formulated Blueberry Bounce Gentle Cleanser is all that and more. This pH-neutral, bouncy textured wash is hydrating and protective, using Hyaluronic Acid and Blueberry extract in addition to AHAs to erase makeup and oil while moisturizing the skin. It gently exfoliates and clarifies without disrupting your skin’s delicate acidic balance. Plus, its microfoam texture preps skin for its next steps, whether that’s a mask, a serum, or a peel.

The next time you hear someone talking pH, now you can say not only that you know what it is, but you know exactly how to take care of it.

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