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Skincare 101: What pH Balance Is & How It Affects Your Skin

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Is your skin always breaking out? Do you see wrinkles and face dryness even after getting all the right products and eating the right food?

While factors like climate, hormones and hygiene play an important role in giving us clear, problem-free skin, there is one more aspect that needs to be considered. The key to good skin is having the right pH balance. But what is your skin’s pH balance and why should any man care about maintaining it? Let’s answer these questions: 

What Is pH Balance?

Let's go back to science class in high school for a second. The pH scale is a numerical scale that determines whether something is acidic or alkaline. On a pH scale of one to fourteen, seven is neutral, below seven is acidic, and above seven is alkaline.

Oil glands (sebaceous) and sweat glands (sudoriferous glands) maintain the health and flexibility of our skin. The "acid mantle" is an acidic layer in our skin that resists microorganisms that try to infiltrate our skin. A healthy skin pH level is between 4.2 to 6.2, and it should be acidic rather than alkaline.

ph balance scale © MensXP

A high or low pH level can lead to acne, irritation, eczema and even early signs of ageing like wrinkles. Even though many men are actively trying to create a skincare regimen, it is important to understand the role pH plays in all this. 

The pH of your skin is different for different parts of your body. The buttocks, armpits, and genital area, which are less exposed, tend to keep their natural acidity. Your face, chest, and hands, on the other hand, are more alkaline. The latter portions of the skin are more exposed to the elements, resulting in such inequalities.

What Influences the pH of Your Skin?

On a daily basis, a variety of elements affect your skin's pH levels and make it more sensitive to injury, including:

1. Ageing

ageing © iStock

Our skin loses collagen (elasticity) over time, which causes our pH levels to decline. Taking care of your skin with the correct products and sticking to a daily regimen can help you retain its health over time.

2. Changes in Climate

skin © iStock

Seasonal and climatic fluctuations are unpredictable and have a negative impact on the health of the skin. To minimise further damage, it is critical to adjust your skin care products in tandem with changes in the weather.

3. Using Wrong Products

face serum © iStock

Using or experimenting with unfamiliar items that aren't right for your skin can create allergic responses and make your skin more sensitive. Consider whether a skincare product will suit your skin type before using it so that you can avoid depriving your skin of its natural oils, triggering allergic responses, and further sensitising your skin.

4. High-Alkaline Products

right product © iStock

Soaps and strong cleansers with alkaline levels ranging from 9 to 14 can cause your skin's natural pH levels to be disturbed. Acute allergic reactions create more damage and aggravate existing skin problems, resulting in dryness.

Signs Of Unbalanced pH Level:

If your skin's uneven pH levels aren't handled right away, they tend to damage and tear down your skin's natural barrier. Here are some of the consequences of failing to correct an imbalanced pH level in a timely manner:

Bacteria, fungus, and other aggressors can invade your skin, making it vulnerable to illness.Due to the skin's inability to retain any moisture, it rapidly cracks and gets injured.Due to continual barrier damage, acne outbreaks, rashes, and other skin sensitivities are common.

pH balance © iStock

How To Fix Your Skin’s pH Level?

The best way to maintain and fix your skin’s pH level is by choosing cosmetics and skin care products that have the right pH level. 

There are a few other ways as well:

1. Avoid Harsh Ingredients

The first step to getting your skin back on track is stepping away from harsh ingredients and making the switch to pH-balanced products. Many men's skincare products carry a pH level of 8 – 10, which means they're going to dry your skin out. These high levels, combined with tap water are a recipe for disaster.

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The first step is to avoid harsh cleansers and soap. Avoid skincare ingredients like SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), parabens, fragrance and perfume, BHT, and alcohol - all of which dry out your skin.

2. Don't Forget To Moisturize

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Dry skin is wrinkle-prone skin. Always use a face moisturizer after cleansing to keep your skin hydrated and avoid anything with artificial fragrances because this can dry out your skin.

3. Look For 'pH Balanced' On The Label

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Look for men's grooming products that specifically state they are "pH balanced." If your product doesn't say this - there's a good chance it's not going to be good for your skin.

4. Fix Your Shaving Routine:

Many men face skin irritation after the shave. This can happen in many different ways like redness, flakes, razor-burn, dryness, sensitivity. But there’s one basic factor to blame for all of these problems: An off-balance pH. 

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The soap, hot water, abrasive towels and harsh chemicals involved in the daily shave can raise skin’s pH and cause dryness, breakouts and more. Always use mild, pH balanced shaving creams and aftershave balms.

5. Feed Your Body With Alkaline Greens: 

green veggies © iStock

Keeping your insides slightly alkaline helps keep your skin in balance. Incorporating green vegetables and vegetable juices into your diet over several weeks will aid digestion, boost immunity, and improve skin. If your diet is too acidic, acne and signs of ageing may surface as your cells won’t be getting enough minerals and oxygen.

To Wrap Up

While all this might seem intimidating, maintaining the skin's normal pH begins with a good skincare routine. It doesn't have to be very complicated. Just remember to eat clean food and be aware of your skin's limitations, including what it likes and dislikes. That's how you'll be able to keep your skin happy for the rest of your life.

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