If there’s one thing I can tell you that will make the biggest difference in your acne treatment or taking care of your skin …that will be choosing the right cleanser. The right cleanser is one that won’t alter our skin pH or damage our skin barrier.
Under normal condition our skin pH is between 4.5 and 6.5 depend on the region.
For simplicity, pH is the measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution or defined system. The pH range is from 0 to 14. On this scale, pH 7 represent neutrality, above 7 is alkaline (or basic), and below 7 is acidic. Using something that’s too low or too high on the pH scale will burn your skin, so be careful!
Our skin pH is determined by the substances present in the skin barrier (also known as the hydrolipid film or acid mantle). Fatty acids present in our skin is responsible for the essential acidity of our skin.
There are many bacteria and fungi that’s naturally live on our skin. They do not cause illness and they help keep the harmful germs under control. They are our skin’s normal flora. The flora on the skin surface is different than the one inside our hair follicle. Staphylococcus epidermidis is normal preside on our skin surface whereas Propionibacterium acnes are found in the hair follicle and deep in our pores. Blockage of the follicle can cause P.acnes to grow and multiply. The inflammation cause by P.acnes can makes our skin more susceptible to infection by other opportunist pathogen.
If our skin pH become alkaline it will help these bad germs proliferate and many substances present in the skin barrier will also be destroy. Excessive sweating and the use of alkaline detergents can really help spread these germs. Factors that alter skin pH include but not limit to cleansing and environmental attacks.
Therefore, to keep our skin happy, we should only be using mild cleanser with pH prefer less than 7 or better yet close to our skin pH of 4.5-6.5. It doesn’t take much to keep our skin clean; we don’t have to exfoliate every day or clean aggressively.
And how do we know the pH of our product? You might ask. Well I’m glad you ask! We can test the pH with our trusty pH strip 🙂 we don’t need any expensive pH probes like the one use in the lab. Here’s the one that I currently use. I’m going to get the one with wider pH range the next time.
You can also get the Hydrion pH paper here. But in my opinion they are not as accurate.
Stay tune for my favorites cleanser!