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Amabie Beauty Tips: An Easy Way to Understand pH Levels and your Skin

First of all, what is pH?

pH is a scale that measures acidity and alkalinity. 0 is the most acidic and 14 the most alkaline, while 7 is neutral. Skin's natural pH hovers around 5 and to work its best, the skin’s acid mantle, which is your skin’s protective layer, should be slightly acidic, at a 5.5 pH balance. This pH level helps keep out harmful bacteria and free radicals and provides the ideal environment to seal in hydration and exfoliate dead skin cells. Many factors can interfere with the delicate balance of the skin’s acid mantle, both externally and internally. Everything that comes in contact with our skin (products, smoking, air, water, sun, pollution) can contribute to the breaking down of the acid mantle, disrupting the skin’s ability to protect itself. Some of the newest emerging Korean skincare trends are to fight pollution in an effect to better protect our skin.

If your skin is too acidic:

Over using acidic products can over-strip natural oils, which can temporarily disrupt the lipid barrier of the skin. Ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids, retinoic acid, beta hydroxy acids and amino fruit acids, if not used properly, can weaken the skin’s natural defenses to bacterial infection and environmental damage. Note in general, it is less common to buy over the counter items that will actively make your skin more acidic since most of them are buffered, making them suitable for everyday use. However, it is still important to pay careful attention to your skin when using any acidic product and not to over use acidic peels.

If your skin starts to feel irritated or red, if it becomes more sensitive, or if you notice an increase in acne breakouts, you may be using a product too strong for your skin, or you may be applying it too often. If you are experiencing regular oiliness, breakouts, and sensitivity, it is very possible that this is acid overload. Perhaps you are overdoing peeling products in an effort to soak up excess grease but it may be too much of a good thing. It is better to use these products in moderation!

If your skin is too alkaline:

If you’re experiencing chronic dry skin and wrinkling, your skin may be too alkaline. With its protective lipids removed, your skin becomes more susceptible to bacteria, UV rays, and harsh ingredients. It’s important to reassess how you cleanse and moisturize your skin. You need to make sure that your skin can ward off the damaging factors that are making you look older than you should!

To maintain a healthy balance in the skin, it’s best to avoid harsh soaps that have an alkaline pH and instead use neutral or slightly acidic soaps with alpha or beta hydroxy acids. Though the harsher soaps might help you feel squeaky-clean, some soap cleansers can also really dry you out so oil or gel-based cleansers are recommended instead. Also, using a proper toner that will help your skin regain it’s pH balance afterwards.

How to Choose the Right pH Balanced Skin Care:

A lot of companies have noticed that the public is becoming smarter and skin care addicts are more savvy. As a result, they are developing and marketing products that are “pH Balanced,” specifically products that are like your acid mantle, just slightly acidic. Of course if you’re not sold on the marketing of the product and want a more objective opinion, you can now buy pH testing strips. These strips can gauge a body’s general pH while using a product.

Amabie Recommends: Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser by Korean beauty brand Cosrx

Amabie Recommends: Wonder Pore Freshner by Korean beauty brand Etude House

Hope this article helps and now you’ll know what it means to see “pH balanced” on those store shelves!

Article Published: March 29, 2017 is a review site for Korean makeup, Korean skin care, and other Asian beauty products. It's the best way to blog and share your Asian skincare reviews!