Soteri products are all about establishing the optimal pH. But what is pH and why is it so important to skin health?
Many important factors go into keeping your skin soft, glowing, and healthy. But knowing where to begin when developing a quality skincare routine can be challenging when so many products, fads, and recommendations are urging you to take a different approach. However, if you’re struggling to maintain the health of your skin despite all the washes, serums, and moisturizers you use daily, you may be neglecting one of the most critical elements of healthy skin; maintaining an optimal pH.
But what, exactly, is pH, and why is it so crucial to overall skin health? Below, our team of passionate skincare professionals from Soteri Skin will explore the essentials of skin pH and its impact on your skin’s overall health and appearance.
Related: The Basics: Skin 101
The Basics of pH: What You Should Know
pH (short for the power of hydrogen) is a scientific scale used to specify the acidity or basicity (alkalinity) of a solution. But what does it actually mean for something to be acidic or basic? Here’s the short and scientific answer: acidic solutions have high concentrations of hydrogen ions, and basic solutions have low concentrations of hydrogen ions. Acidic substances also tend to taste sour (e.g., lemon juice), and many basic substances tend to be slippery (e.g., soap).
The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with lower numbers being more acidic, higher numbers being more basic, and around seven being neutral. According to years of research within the realm of health and beauty, healthy skin’s pH is acidic and has a pH of approximately 4.5-5, with 4.7 being the standard for “normal” skin.
The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14
The idea that healthy skin is supposed to be acidic may sound slightly strange to some people, if not outright contradictory, when we think about what’s good and bad for our skin. But the need for our skin to have a slightly acidic pH level to maintain an optimally healthy state actually makes a lot of sense when you break down the role that acidity plays in keeping our skin safe.
In short, an acidic skin surface protects us against harmful microbes. Also, many critical skin enzymatic reactions have evolved to thrive in this acidic pH. So if our pH levels are disrupted- becoming too low or too high- our skin defense and many crucial enzymatic reactions become compromised.
Related: Ceramides, Clarified
Skincare and pH
Disruptions to our skin surface pH levels happen all the time, but we are usually unaware of them. Every time we hop in the shower, wash our hands, or even apply cosmetics, we challenge our skin and temporarily disrupt the pH balance. Healthy skin is relatively unaffected by these pH fluctuations. But when these disruptions are prolonged or repeated, our skin pH moves too far away from the optimal acidic pH and doesn’t have an opportunity to bounce back. Over time, this can significantly affect your skin health.
Leave-on skin care products (lotions, creams, and serums) stay on your skin for several hours and can cause a prolonged shift in skin surface pH. This is why using products with optimal pH (like Soteri) for your skin is critical, especially if you have dry or eczema-prone skin. Unfortunately, many current products on the market aren’t formulated at skin-optimal pH levels, and those don’t always list pH values. Many skincare products don’t even consider skin pH, despite it being a vital player in making or breaking the overall health and quality of people’s skin.
That said, people need to remember that improperly formulated skincare products that don’t consider skin pH are not the only negative factor impacting overall skin health. Skin pH is affected by several other elements, including;
- Sun exposure
- Antibacterial products
- Air pollution
- Humidity levels
- Season changes
- Skin moisture
Even using regular tap water to clean your skin can negatively impact your skin’s pH levels.
Because of this, if you have extra sensitive skin, you should pay attention to the conditions that your skin comes into contact with, and use pH-balanced products to help regulate your skin's health.
Are you looking for a way to achieve perfect skin pH? Soteri Skin can help!
How Do You Check the pH of Your Skin?
It is hard to measure your own skin pH without specialized equipment. However, you can and should check product labels for pH designations. While product pH labels don't indicate how long the pH correction lasts, it's a good start.
Also observe how well your skin retains moisture, and how often your skin gets irritated for a general sense over time.
Lastly, try Soteri products. We have a built-in feedback mechanism. If your skin pH is off-balance, you will experience a tingling sensation. Over time, as your skin begins to maintain the correct pH on a more regular basis, the tingling will fade.
Alternatively, people can obtain a general idea of their skin pH by observing their skin over time without relying on a test kit or dermatologist. While this won’t provide the most exact results, it can still give people a good idea of their overall skin health. For example, if someone observes a lot of acne, redness, irritation, or dry areas, they likely have high skin pH that’s more alkaline than it should be.
Skin pH and Problematic Skin Conditions
Aside from letting you keep an eye on the overall health of your skin, monitoring your skin pH can also help people learn more about and combat common problematic skin conditions, such as Eczema and acne.
Skin pH, Eczema, and Acne
Eczema, or Atopic dermatitis, is a relatively common condition that causes the skin to become dry, raw, itchy, and sensitive while producing red to brownish-gray patches and tiny bumps that can sometimes leak fluid. According to research, those with Eczema have higher, more alkaline-based skin pH than others (usually ranging from between 0.1 and 0.9 pH units higher than average). While there is no cure for Eczema, taking steps to lower the skin pH of those with the condition can help reduce the severity of symptoms.
Similarly to Eczema, those who suffer from acne often exhibit higher, more alkaline-based skin pH levels than those who don’t experience common issues with acne. Experts recommend that those with acne consider more acidic skincare products to help reduce their overall skin pH level, which can be especially helpful for those with a skin pH of 6 or more.
Related: 5 Tips for Managing Itchy, Flaky Skin from Dermatologist Xiaoxiao Li, MD
General Ways to Maintain Healthy Skin pH
Now that we’ve covered the basics and understand the role pH levels can play in common skin conditions; let’s explore some of the best methods to leverage to maintain an optimal skin pH.
Use Gentle Cleansers
It’s essential to use gentle cleansers to help protect the health and integrity of your skin.It’s better to simply use less cleanser, since less is more. Using too much cleansing product can be harsh on skin, and wash off many of the essential lipids your skin needs.
After washing your face with a quality cleanser, be sure to leverage a quality moisturizing oil, lotion, cream, or gel. These products will help prevent dry skin and additional irritation, especially during dry seasons where your skin can benefit from access to more moisture. Products like BALANCING ACT and GIMMIE MORE are great options for restoring the skin’s natural acidic barrier.
Use a Minimalistic Routine
Less is better for skin health, and that's especially true when working to maintain a healthy skin pH. Use products with a minimum number of ingredients that are all good for the skin.
Don't use products that use many filler ingredients that don't do anything for the skin. Research is key, sometimes identifying the best products takes a bit of research to verify what's in the bottle.
Our Solution: Soteri Skin
Science has shown that maintaining the right skin surface pH levels (4-4.5) is key to healing and maintaining healthy skin. Soteri Skin sets and maintains this ideal pH level. At that level, your skin’s microflora and enzymatic reactions can function well, naturally leading to healthy, comfortable, and beautiful skin. And in the end, that’s why we created Soteri Skin: so everyone- even those with sensitive skin or eczema- can love the skin they’re in.
Soteri Skin can help you correct your skin pH today!