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Skin101: pH

Your skin talks, and we're here to translate. This is your ultimate guide to everything from skincare to skin health, and everything in between.

pH - Everyone's talking about it these days, and not just in science class. With the sudden buzz around alkalinity, to be in the know is to be concerned with balancing your pH. So what is pH exactly? What does it have to do with skin, and how can you know whether your skin is balanced or not? Don't worry, we've got you covered. Learn more below.

What Exactly is pH?

pH stands for a latin term meaning potential hydrogen and compares the strength of acids and bases in a substance. It's a measuring system that ranges from 1 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline-- or basic) - 7 being neutral. But there's no one size fits all when it comes to what's considered a normal pH level. That's because different substances have different optimal levels of pH. For example, water typically ranges from a pH level of 6.5 to 8.5, while gastric acids function best at 2.

What Does pH Have to Do With My Skin?

To be healthy, each part of our body needs just the right balance of alkalinity and acidity. There are varying pH levels within our bodies, each specific to our digestive tract, blood, saliva, etc.

So while some people may mistakenly promote maintaining an alkaline state, our skin actually functions best when its pH level ranges from 4.5 to 5.5. Attaining this pH level means having your acid mantle, the thin outermost protective layer of the skin, better absorb antioxidants, fight off acne and infections, and delay aging effects such as wrinkles or fine lines. Unfortunately, there are quite a few seemingly harmless factors like over-exfoliating or using harsh cleansers that prevent us from maintaining this optimal level. So be careful!

How Can I Measure the pH Level of My Skin?

Unless you have pH testing strips handy, the next quickest way to check the pH level of your skin is by looking in the mirror and seeing for yourself. Dry patches, flakiness, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone are all common signs of skin that is too alkaline (or basic), while oily skin that's prone to acne, irritation, redness, and blemishes can indicate skin that's too acidic. If your skin has an even skin tone and texture without feeling too dry or too oily, your skin pH is in balance - alright, go you!

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