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The pH Of The Skin Is Important Why?

The skin is the protective barrier between the body and the outside: this is why the skin’s pH is important. Its optimal values ​​range between 4.7 and 5.6 and can vary according to gender and at different times in life. And when it is compromised, it can cause imbalances that affect the appearance of the face, its hydration, and important defense function.

The skin can become sensitive, hypersensitive, or dry when the pH is altered.

The Factors That Regulate The pH Of The Skin

Several external factors can negatively affect the pH balance:

  1. humidity and temperature changes
  2. alkaline-based cosmetics
  3. the pollution
  4. the chemical agents

In particular, chemicals with too-alkaline pH can harm the skin; they damage the cell structure, break down the protective barrier, and put the skin under stress. Then there are the internal factors which, in the same way, can affect the alterations of the pH of the skin:

  1. genetic factors
  2. biological age
  3. hormones

How To Favor The Ideal pH

Because the skin’s pH is important, the best way to ensure optimal value is to adopt a healthy lifestyle, engage in a regular beauty routine and use products that respect the natural pH without negatively affecting its protective barrier. Our treatments, such as the exfoliating one, which works on eliminating dead cells and cell renewal, have among their objectives precisely that of restoring the cellular pH so that the face can be better prepared and become even more receptive in the specific treatment phase.

Factors Affecting The pH Of The Skin

Numerous internal and external factors of the organism can influence the skin’s pH (particularly the stratum corneum). Age, gender, ethnic origin, and genetic predisposition are all individual characteristics that can make a difference. For example, darker skins are more acidic on the surface than lighter skins. This feature is associated with greater integrity of the stratum corneum and more pronounced barrier functions. 

Newborn skin tends to have a neutral pH, around 7, probably due to the peculiar composition of skin lipids. After a few months, however, the skin has a higher acidity, similar to that of adults. Without prejudice to the differences above in the various body areas, between the ages of 18 and 60, the skin’s pH tends to remain constant. Still, with aging, we can see an increase in both men and women. Other factors that influence the pH of the skin are:

  1. Humidity.
  2. The secretions produced by sebaceous glands and sweat glands (respectively, sebum and sweat, whose pH is around 5.5) and the activity of specific molecules.
  3. The so-called “proton pumps” control the passage of specific elements (such as sodium and hydrogen) at the cell membrane level.

Finally, washing and using a cosmetic product can also affect the skin’s pH. Detergents, creams, deodorants, and antibacterial for topical use influence skin acidity and, for this very reason, if used improperly, can exacerbate some dermatological problems. In particular, detergents that have soap among their ingredients are basic (their pH is around 10); for this reason, they can irritate the skin more than a detergent that does not contain soap. 

Just think of what happens to the skin of hands washed with soap: its pH increases by an average of 3 units and remains altered for the entire hour and a half following washing. Detergents with an alkaline pH (thus higher than 7) can be associated with skin irritation.

How To Know If The pH Of The Skin Is Altered

To measure the pH of the skin, an instrument (called a pH meter) is used, equipped with an electrode inside which there is a liquid; when placed in contact with the skin, the pH of this liquid varies according to that of the skin, and the instrument detects the variation, providing a measurement of the skin’s pH. The pH meter allows for a simple, non-invasive measurement, which is also possible in some pharmacies.

How To Maintain The Right pH Of The Skin

An adequate beauty routine is essential for the well-being of the hydrolipidic film that covers the skin’s surface. Also, some cosmetic products can help maintain the normal degree of acidity typical of healthy skin. Let’s start with the detergents used to clean the skin: to prevent problems associated with skin pH alterations, such as dermatitis, acne, and candida infections, it is best to use non-aggressive products with a pH of around 5.5 ( 4.5-6.5).

The same trick can be useful if you are already dealing with these conditions; following the doctor’s advice in these cases is advisable. A classic Vaseline-based emollient cream, possibly without perfumes or preservatives, can be particularly useful for maintaining the right skin pH. Once applied, emollients of this type become trapped in the stratum corneum. On the other hand, more modern formulations based on ceramides can also have their advantages. Compared to petroleum jelly, they penetrate deeper, entering the keratinocytes (the most abundant cells in the epidermis). 

From here, they can be secreted into the spaces between one cell and another of the stratum corneum, restoring the barrier function. Finally, the stratum corneum can be acidified with topical products containing alpha-hydroxy acids, for example, lactic acid. These molecules significantly increase the production of ceramides by keratinocytes, consequently promoting an improvement in barrier functions. This is why they are particularly useful in cases of atopic dermatitis, generally associated with reduced levels of ceramides.

ALSO READ: GUIDE TO THE STEPS FOR A COMPLETE FACE SKINCARE

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