We talk often about pH balance and how absolutely critical it is to maintain a value of around 5.5 on the surface of your skin. But what about when your skin’s pH is too acidic or too alkaline? There are different effects of each extreme. Let’s explore them.
Alkaline? Acidic? It’s All Greek to Me.
To understand the dangers, you need to understand exactly what we mean by alkaline vs. acidic. A pH of 9-14 is considered alkaline, while the overly acidic range fall between 0-4. pH 7 is perfectly neutral (this is the pH of tap water, to give you an idea), and our skin’s perfect pH environment slides in right at 5.5. If you didn’t know already, our skin needs to be slightly acidic to maintain our natural defensive barrier. Learn more here.
Having skin that is too alkaline is more common than overly acidic skin because soap is generally alkaline, formulated a pH of between 9-11. High alkalinity is detrimental because it depletes your skin of vital, natural fats (or “lipids”). Lipids are a core component of your acid mantle, which protects your body from microbe invaders.
When you use alkaline washes and soaps, it literally begins to erode your skin’s structure, demolishing hydration that is crucial to your skin’s health. This is the foundation of many skin disorders, like psoriasis and eczema. The barrier breaks down, leaving your skin open to infection without proper hydration to self-repair.
Even if you don’t have a skin problem, you can still tell if your skin is too alkaline if it is dry, tight and/or dull in appearance. If you always seem to have dry skin no matter how often you moisturize, this is also a big sign.
Too Much Acidity
What about if your skin is unhealthily acidic? Having skin that’s too low on the pH spectrum is a lot rarer than over-alkaline skin. Many times, acidic skin can result from using a cleanser made with acidic solutions like lemon juice. This is common in DIY cleansers.
At any rate, the danger of this is first and foremost acne. When skin is too acidic, it becomes red, oily and pimply. It will often appear greasy, feel irritated and react sensitively.
Balance is Key
Obviously, staying pH balanced is important in avoiding the frustrating symptoms of either extreme alkalinity or acidic skin. Keep your skin at a value of 5.5 by using skincare cleansers like Sebamed’s Liquid Face & Body Wash and going soap-free for good!