Ok, so you have your handy cleanser that you hope does a great job at cleansing the skin, but let’s take a closer look at what it actually does to the skin surface.
- Skin surface pH goes up by +3 units (even washing the skin with tap water can increase skin surface pH up to +1.0 unit)
- pH recovery requires several hours (as long as 12 hours!)
- Increase in pH reduces natural protective function of epidermal barrier
- Negative effects on skin microflora which reduce natural antimicrobial defence mechanisms due to increase in pH
Repetitive use of cleansers with neutral or basic pH results in skin irritation, dryness, roughness, scaling, tightness, inflammation and itch. In addition, excessive drying of the skin with cleansers makes the skin prone to premature ageing by stripping the skin off of its natural oils and beneficial bacteria. Cleansing molecules interact with proteins in our skin (keratin, enzymes) and change their structure, which plays a role in skin barrier damage.
Acidic nature of the skin discovered over 120 years ago! Discovery of pH of the skin was not until just over 10 years ago
Using skincare products adjusted for the right acidity is especially important for the ageing skin
As the skin ages, pH of the skin increases and the epidermal barrier function decreases. Using skincare products adjusted for the right acidic pH is especially important for the ageing skin. Recent study published by the Journal of Dermatology examined the effects of using acidic pH skincare products in visibly aged skin. Skincare formulated to have pH 4 and 5.8 was used for 4 weeks by those whose skin showed signs of ageing. After the treatment, the skin was challenged to a chemical designed to test the skin barrier. Skincare with more acidic pH of 4 resulted in improved skin hydration, skin barrier, lipid structure and levels. The study concluded that acidic skincare is beneficial for the ageing skin, and improves moisture, regeneration, lipid structure and content.
Kilic, A., Masur, C., Reich, H., Knie, U., Dähnhardt, D., Dähnhardt-Pfeiffer, S., & Abels, C. (2019). Skin acidification with a water-in-oil emulsion (pH 4) restores disrupted epidermal barrier and improves structure of lipid lamellae in the elderly. The Journal of dermatology, 46(6), 457–465. https://doi.org/10.1111/1346-8138.14891
Are your favourite skincare products pH balanced?
As you can see, there’s much more to skincare products than just mixing all the ingredients into a cream formulation or a cleanser. pH balanced skincare is a new and exciting area of research that we will definitely be reading and hearing more about, with more pH balanced skincare options also available on the market in the near future. As a matter of fact, Victoria, founder of Vita Epidermology Center was very fortunate to have met a French beauty guru Joelle Ciocco, who is a pioneering natural facialist and natural skincare formulator. Joelle Ciocco has known the importance of pH-balanced cleansing and skincare long before it started to gain recognition. For more than 40 years she has been working with plant-based, pH balanced skincare, creating it in her own laboratory with high potency ingredients. She has been transforming her client’s skin into healthy, glowing and radiant by supporting the skin barrier and microbiome. Check out her sensitive skin friendly, plant-based, pH balanced cleansers.