Have you ever wondered what exactly pH is? Because surely you have heard it on numerous occasions: products with a neutral pH, benefits and harms of having a high or low pH in our skin, differences in the pH value in men and women… Our goal in writing this post is for you to learn the basics, not only about what this recurring concept is, but also so that you can use them, both when choosing the products you use for your hygiene, and the food you eat daily.
What is the pH level of the skin?
The pH value of water is the concentration of hydrogen it has, and it can only be found in aqueous substances. It is measured on a scale of 1 to 14, with 7 being the average value or neutral value, which we can find in distilled water.
A pH value below 7 will cause us to call that aqueous liquid, acid; while it will be alkaline or basic if it has a pH of 8 to 14. The skin’s pH forms a protective layer, known as the acid mantle, on the surface. It is composed of free fatty acids, mixed with lactic acid and amino acids from sweat.
The Ideal pH level of the skin
Your skin should be slightly acidic, with a pH range between 4.5 and 5.9. Most of the studies carried out agree that the ideal level of pH in the skin is 5.5.
The main reason for these data is that, between the dermis and the epidermis of the skin, there is a tissue called the “acid mantle” with a slightly acidic pH level that, on the one hand, protects the skin from harmful bacteria, fungi and viruses. , and on the other, it helps maintain moisture and the healthy bacteria that live in it.
If this skin protection does not have a natural balance and the pH progresses to alkaline values, we will find ourselves more vulnerable to possible diseases or skin reactions such as acne, psoriasis or dermatitis. And of course, let’s not forget that a balanced pH maintains the softness and suppleness of your skin.
Factors influencing pH levels
There are internal and external factors that will establish the pH level and its evolution:
Internal factors: genetics, age, gender, and even the colour of our skin
- Genetic inheritance is a determining factor in this and most levels and measurements of our organism.
- The pH level of the skin changes with age, and over the years it becomes more alkaline and is exposed to disorders ranging from wrinkles to pigmentation.
- Young men show higher hydration (lower pH levels) of the skin than women of the same age. However, while hydration stabilises or even increases in women throughout life, in men it progressively decreases after the age of 40.
- People with white skin have a higher pH than people with black skin.
External factors: contamination, temperature, use of alkaline products or food
- The acid mantle of our skin is exposed to its decomposition, and therefore, to its lack of protection as it comes into contact with environmental pollution and tobacco; This same effect is produced by natural factors such as air, sun or water. And others not so natural such as detergents, soaps and cleaners.
- A crucial external factor when it comes to balancing the pH of our skin is food. Foods that are considered acidic before digestion, become alkaline in the body. And most animal products, which are alkaline before digestion, become acidic.
An ideal diet would be one composed of a large number of alkaline foods such as vegetables, citrus fruits, fruits and vegetables.