So you might have heard about low PH. You may have even read my low PH rantings on Instagram. #lowphlife
But what the heck is PH, why should it be low and what in the world does it have to do with skin care? Well don’t worry my friend, I’ve got your back.
Do you remember 7th grade science? I don’t really remember much. Mr. McKinnon was my teacher, he was kind of the cool sort-of young teacher. He let us look at weird things under a microscope and one time he made us test the PH of milk, water, lemon and bleach.
The litmus papers would change colors from red to blue and every color in between. This would indicate if something was considered an acid, an alkaline or neutral.
PH is measured by a scale that ranges from 0 to 14. 0 is the most acidic and 14 the most alkaline. To give you some perspective, water is perfectly neutral at 7, battery acid is 1, lemon juice is 2.4, milk 6.5, baking soda 9 and bleach 12.
Okay, so now we have the basics down, let’s talk about why it matters in skin care.
Human skin isn’t PH neutral like you might think. It’s actually slightly acidic hovering at about a 5.5 range.
This slightly acidic range is important to maintain because it protects our moisture barrier and helps us fight the acne bacteria. (Propionibacterium acnes thrives at an alkaline level, it doesn’t do so hot in the slightly acidic environment of 5.5.)
So that is all fine and dandy to know until you find out that most face washes are formulated at a highly alkaline level. And the mere act of washing our faces with these products can raise our skin’s PH level significantly.
So besides maintaining our moisture barrier and fighting acne, what does it really matter? Well if you use any kind of chemical exfoliants or actives in your routine, you are rendering those products much less effective when you put them on skin with a PH that has been raised to an alkaline level.
You see, acids and actives, much like your skin, thrive at lower PH levels. Vitamin C likes a PH level of 2.5 – 3.0 to work its magic, BHA 3.0, AHA 4.0 and so forth. When the skin isn’t near those levels, the actives spend all that active time on your face trying to force your skin’s PH level back down. And as you may know, that active time is a narrow window of about 15 to 20 minutes. I don’t know about you, but I want my actives to have all that time alone with my skin to work its magic.
So to recap, if you want your skin to be healthy, comfortably moisturized, not overly oily, not overly dry, not irritated, naturally resistant to acne bacteria and lovingly receptive to all actives, you gotta think about keeping a low PH level on your skin.
Well the first is to ditch your high PH cleansers. The best way to determine the PH of your cleansers is to test them with your very own litmus paper kit!
Or, you can try to look it up on the internet.
Or, you can trust my recommendations for some well known low PH cleansers:
Cosrx Low PH Good Morning Cleanser* – (even has low PH in the name!) Contains tea tree oil and is perfect for acne prone skin. Sits at a 5 PH level.
Tosowoong Enzyme Powder Wash* – Perfect for travel, this powdered formula contains papain, an enzyme found in papaya that gently exfoliates the skin. This is the perfect foaming face wash for sensitive skin types, perfectly formulated at a 5.5 PH.
Neogen Real Fresh Green Tea Cleansing Stick* – Another travel friendly and spill-free cleanser. This buddy boasts real green tea leaves in its creamy formula. This is slightly high at a 6 PH level, but still acceptable in the Low PH realm. (WARNING: the liquid version of this cleanser is not formulated with a low PH!)
The second thing you can do in addition to ditching those high alkaline cleansers in favor of the #lowphlife is to use a PH adjusting toner after washing your face (especially useful if you are using any actives or acids in your routine to ensure the ideal environment for them to get cozy with your skin).
Some favorite PH adjusting toners:
Mizon AHA/BHA Daily Clean Toner *- Misleading name but does the trick. Don’t be confused – this is not formulated properly to deliver any results in the AHA or BHA front but it sure does lower the skin’s PH level.
Cosrx AHA/BHA Toner* – Much the same as the Mizon, but comes in a handy spray bottle!
So now you know, living that #lowphlife 4ever is no joke, it’s a matter of great skin.
As ever, if this was TL;DR watch the video!
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