Restore the pH Balance of your Skin + QUIZ!
Posted on February 15 2018
Finding balance in your life can feel like and endless process. We may not have the recipe for success when it comes to balancing your life, but what if we told you the key to balancing your skin? Really though, take our quiz to find out if your skin's pH level is out of balance, as this could be causing a variety of skin conditions including acne and wrinkles. After you've identified whether you're too acidic or too alkaline, read on to learn how to restore the pH balance of your skin.
What is pH level?
Your pH level is referring to how acidic or alkaline your skin is. The scale operates 1 to 14, 1 being the most acidic and 14 being most alkaline. If you fall in the middle at 7, it’s considered a neutral reading. The acid mantle (a thin, protective layer on our skin’s surface) is comprised of free fatty acids that are excreted from sebaceous glands all over our skin. The mixture of those acids with the amino and lactic acids we sweat create your individual skin pH. The ideal level is slightly acidic around 5.5.
Generally skin care products fall between 3 and 8 on the pH scale, most falling in closely between 6 and 7. The idea that using products with similar level of acidity to our own skin’s pH level just makes sense. Using products that are too alkaline can cause skin to be sensitive and dry, even leading to skin conditions like eczema. Skin that tends to be overly acidic is more prone to breakouts.
How to test pH level
If you’re unsure about your pH level and would like to find out, consult your healthcare professional who can perform a routine test using a pH meter. There are also saliva pH test strips available to purchase. Using your saliva is an easy way to test your skin’s pH level at home.
You may also be interested in testing your products to see if they complement your skin’s pH levels. Purchase test strips that will provide an accurate reading.
- Since you generally don’t put a cleanser right to your skin without mixing it with a little water to get it nice a lathery, this is how you’ll want to test your product.
- Put a small amount in the center of your palm and add a small amount of water. This will dilute the acidity, so be mindful of the ratio.
- Once the cleanser is mixed with the water in your hand, simply place the pH test strip over it.
- Be sure your hand is dry prior to starting this process to ensure the most accurate results.
- Using the same principle as the cleanser, mix a small amount of your exfoliants with a small amount of water in the palm of your hand.
- Place the test strip over the product and water mixture and watch the colors appear.
For more help, watch this video from The Doctors to learn how to test the pH of your products:
Skin pH Quiz
Ask yourself these 8 questions to help determine your skin’s pH level. Take note of how many As, Bs, and Cs you answer.
1. Does your skin look moist and plump?
a. Almost always
c. Plump, yes. But more greasy.
2. Is your skin prone to breakouts and/or excessively oily?
3. Does your skin look red and irritated regularly?
b. It burns a little after applying products.
4. Has your skin become sensitive to products including makeup?
a. No, just normal.
c. Yes! It seems to react to everything.
5. How often does your skin develop dry, rough patches?
b. Every once in a while.
c. Yes, usually.
6. Does your skin have more lines and look duller in the morning?
b. Yes, it usually does.
c. Sometimes, but not very often.
7. How regularly do you moisturize your face?
a. At least twice a day: morning and night
b. Once a day or so
8. After washing your face, how does your skin feel?
a. Smooth and soft.
b. Dry and tight.
c. Not thoroughly clean.
Answer mostly a’s? Your skin’s pH is just right! While you may not be immune to the occasional breakout or noticing a few fine lines starting to form, you’re in good place with your skin. You’ve worked hard by treating your skin with great care and it shows! Continue on the right track.
Answer mostly b’s? Your skin’s pH level is too high! You may notice the dryness and developing wrinkles and wonder what you’re doing wrong. You’re too alkaline and your skin needs hydration stat. Consider how often you’re cleansing, scrubbing, moisturizing and what products you’re using. To balance your skin, find products that compliment your skin’s pH level.
Answer mostly c’s? Your skin’s pH level is too low! Oiliness, breakouts and sensitive skin are key indicators of a low pH level. Maybe you’re overdoing it on the products; there can be too much of a good thing. Consider using products in moderation that are complimentary to your skin’s pH level and see the difference it can make.
What determines your skin pH?
There are lots of factors that contribute to an individual’s personal pH level. Our skin becomes more acidic as we age, it also responds to environmental factors and lifestyle. Think about all the things that come in contact with your skin: smoke, air, water, sun, products, and pollution. All of these contribute to breaking down the acid mantle therefore interfering with the skin’s natural ability to protect itself.
What you eat is another important component of your internal and external pH levels. Some foods that are more acidic before digestion, such as lemons, become alkaline inside the body. Animal products tent to be more alkaline prior to consumption then become acid forming in your body. To keep our internal body at an optimal level, we need to avoid our bodies becoming too acidic by leaning towards a diet of more alkalized foods like tomatoes, carrots, citrus and green veggies.
How do I choose the right products?
These products tend to be more alkaline, causing them to strip away natural oils and moisture and leading to dry and irritated skin. More alkaline skin tends to be susceptible to acne breakouts because the skin needs a certain level of acidity to fight off invading bacteria. Find a cleanser that is gentler and a toner that is slightly acidic, sticking close to a 5 on the pH scale to benefit your skin’s overall balance.
You may see products with the word ‘acid’ in the title or list of ingredients like retinoic acid, hydroxyl acid, amino fruit acid, and alpha hydroxyl acid. These products can also cause problems by stripping away natural oils and interfering with the skin’s free fatty acids weakening the skin’s protective barrier against environmental damage and infection causing bacteria. If your skin tends to look dry and red after using one of these products, it may be a good idea to try something else.
Oils and Moisturizers
Finding the right oil or moisturizer for your skin’s pH can be tricky. Try these natural face oils to hydrate your skin, or consider coconut, argan, olive and jojoba oils. It’s especially important that we find the right balance of moisture as our skin naturally becomes more acidic with age.
Sunscreen and Topical Antioxidants
If you use sunscreen or topical antioxidants as part of your skin care routine like vitamins A, C, and E or green tea, then you are already working to maintain the skin’s acid mantle. These work to strengthen cells and encourage optimal function. They also protect skin’s cell from oxidation and environmental stressors. Sunscreen acts as a barrier to protect skin cells from damage from harmful UV rays.
BALANCE YOUR SKIN's PH LEVELS
Try implementing these simple steps to help balance your skin’s pH levels:
1. Eliminate the use of harsh cleansers and soaps
These products tend to be more alkaline, around 9-12 on the pH scale. The irritation can dry out the skin and lead to wrinkles and overly dry, flaky skin.
2. Consider using diluted apple cider vinegar as a toner
It’s a natural product that is devoid of any harsh chemicals or processed ingredients that can be too acidic for your skin. Reduce your skin’s risk of attack from bacteria that lead to breakouts by keeping acidity levels in check.
3. Use lukewarm water to rinse your face
Hot water tends to be more drying and harsh and water that is too hot can cause redness and irritation. Lukewarm water will help to accomplish the task at hand with minimal side effects.
4. Choose products rich in vitamins and antioxidants
It’s no secret that our natural skin has a tendency to respond better to more natural products. Even some products containing natural elements with vitamins and antioxidants have benefits to restoring skin’s health.
5. Avoid hidden chemicals
If you don’t know what it is or how it got there or what it does – don’t use it. Harsh chemicals are often damaging to the skin’s natural ability to regenerate skin cells and can lead to skin problems like eczema, psoriasis, and other skin disorders.
6. Choose gentle products with natural ingredients
Look for products that contain powerful natural ingredients instead of harsh chemicals. This Anti-Aging Foaming Facial Cleanser has been tested to be safe, even for sensitive skin, when it comes to your pH levels.
Naturally Balance your pH
If you’re looking to invest in some key ingredients to try testing different products at home and even create some of your own concoctions, here are some important ingredients you’ll need to get started:
An exceptionally effective carrier oil and the best for anti-aging. Loaded with Vitamin E to replenish moisture and nourish the skin, almond oil is super affordable and can be added to any product recipe that calls for ‘carrier oil’. Not to mention, it’s great for every skin type.
Another important oil with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that are perfect for calming the skin. It helps to sooth an irritated complexion and adds moisture to dehydrated skin. Plus it smells amazing and can be added to just about anything.
This can be purchased relatively inexpensively and is used to lower the pH levels of your product making it more acidic. The acidity makes it more difficult for bacteria to develop and grow. This ingredient will be used most commonly in cleansers.
Used to bind water and oil, it will help to thicken your cream and is used in lotions.
If a recipe calls for water, always use distilled. All the minerals have been removed and it will prolong the shelf life of your products.
There are so many different types, but consider these the top 5 when it comes to skin care:
- Lavender Essential Oil – it smells divine and has anti-inflammatory properties that are calming. It can be used on any skin type and will also help keep your products free from growing bacteria.
- Peppermint Essential Oil – another amazing scent, this will wake your skin up and brighten your complexion from the first application.
- Frankincense Essential Oil – ideal for any anti-aging recipe because it firms your skin gently.
- Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca) – generally used for oily skin, its effective in killing bacteria but not eliminating the good stuff.
- Geranium Essential Oil – for all skin types, geranium oil increases circulation and helps to even out skin tone.
DIY Balancing Recipes
Moisturizer: Mix 1 tbsp emulsifying wax, 6 TBSP carrier oil, 2 tsp. essential oil and 1 cup of water.
Cleanser: Mix ½ cup coconut oil, 1 tbsp. almond oil, and 10 drops essential oil of your choice.
It may seem like an overwhelming task to try and restore your skin’s proper pH, but if you know what you’re looking for – it’s easier than you think. After you've made the lifestyle and shopping changes discussed above, try our Anti-Aging Clarifying Face Toner to soothe and balance your skin: