The skin is most healthy when it’s within a certain spectrum of environment – it’s pH level. The ideal pH is 5.5. The pH scale starts at 0 (most acidic) and tops out at 14 (most alkaline). When the skin is sitting at a pH of 5.5, it’s at it’s most resilient. This way, it maintains the right level of natural oils, moisture and bacteria. These factors create the acid mantle.
It’s when the skin strays too far away from 5.5 that things start to go downhill. The skin being too oily, dry, flaky, itchy or inflamed indicates that it’s unbalanced. Similar to the gut, our skin has natural good bacteria that help to keep it balanced.
Over-cleansing or over-exfoliating are two huge culprits of an imbalanced pH. For example, using classic soap (yes, even if it’s organic) is far too alkaline for the skin. It strips the skin of it’s natural oils, damaging the acid mantle. This is also why DIY skincare that you find on Pinterest is almost never a good idea. Skincare products are tested for pH levels during the formulation process. Household items are not.
Eating a balanced diet, double cleansing with the right products, and not using products that are too astringent can all help to balance the pH.