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Understanding Your Skin Care Products’ pH

Initiating an effective face care routine requires understanding your skin’s pH levels. pH has now become a common lexicon in the beauty sphere, but consumers forget that it stands for “potential hydrogen” and it indicates a product’s acid-alkaline ratio, which can range from 0 to 14. Lower numbers have less acidity whereas higher numbers signify more alkalinity. Cleansers, washes, and toners all impact your skin’s health, and depending on their pH number, they can be beneficial or harmful for your face. Here’s what to keep in mind when figuring out which skin care products are right for you.

Read the label. When shopping for moisturizers and face washes, look for labeling that says “pH balanced” or “balances pH level.” Those words indicate that the pH is 5.5, which is your skin’s natural magic pH number. 5.5 pH balance means that your skin’s barrier, or acid mantle, is slightly acidic and maintains a healthy amount of moisture while keeping germs and toxins at bay.

Low vs. high pH. Products that irritate the skin or cause dryness and scaling could either have a too high or too low pH number. Cleaners and creams with pH 8 through 14 can make your skin feel soft and buttery right after using them, but in actuality, can wipe away sebum and other natural oils and can even trigger acne. However, the alkalinity can be counteracted with a topical probiotic. Although low pH products are generally safer for the skin, a pH that’s too low can be just as harsh on the skin as a high pH product. Using a moisturizer can help quickly repair the skin after using a low pH wash or cleanser.

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