Ask Dr. Anna:
What is pH and why is it so important?
Here’s your new summer mantra: beauty is in the balance (the pH balance, that is).
Imagine water in a pool. It has a delicate pH level. If it’s off, it will burn your eyes and even cause the metal to corrode. Now imagine your skin. Your skin has a delicate pH level, too, and if it’s off, it can cause breakouts (microbial imbalance), dermatitis, and inflammation (“sensitive skin”).
An often overlooked quality with skin and skin health, pH stands for ‘potential of Hydrogen’ which is the measure of acidity or alkalinity of water-soluble substances. pH is measured on a numbered scale and balanced skin is usually between pH 5-6. Skin is fairly acidic and for good reason; it forms a layer of amino and lactic acids (know as the ‘acid mantle’) that acts as a barrier to protect the skin against environmental factors like pollution, and the body’s own cholesterol, enzymes, and hormones.
However, if the skin’s pH is unbalanced (known as too alkaline or acidic), it can break out and cause significant damage. Using the wrong products on your face can trigger this delicate balance. Gratefully, there are products on the market that factor in the skin’s pH levels.
Here’s what to look for:
- Vitamin C serum is a skin-calming, melanin blocking antioxidant. There are many Vitamin C serums available on the market and of course my personal favorite is the one we create here in the clinic. Stop by and pick a bottle up for yourself.
- Have you ever washed your face with soap and felt that dry and tight feeling? That’s because that soap is alkaline (pH 8-9) and it upsets your skin’s pH levels. I like to keep it simple and use a microfibre cloth with or without a gentle pH balanced cleanser. Dove Sensitive Skin Soap is great for the body and suitable for all skin types.
- A few spritzes of a non-toxic toner (witch hazel or rose water based) is a quick way to minimize irritation when your natural oils and bacteria are disrupted.
- Never overprocess with peels, chemicals or harsh exfoliants. “Don’t overwash or over-exfoliate your skin” – is one of Dr. Sandy Skotnicki’s, the author of Beyond Soap, golden rules. Over-washing skin strips natural oils and disrupts the body’s own processes. Washing your face once a day with a gentle non-toxic face wash is enough! Try Dr. Anna’s face wash and see the difference.
Ask Dr. Anna
A new blog series where she provides information to empower women to make better choices.
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Dr Anna Medical Aesthetics
#322 – 1964 Fort St, Victoria, BC. V8R 6R3