Posts Tagged 'PH level'

Skin PHacts – Know What The PH Is

Have always been curious what all this chatter about PH balance is about. Have forgotten my chemistry classes long ago and called to my friend, who himself is a doctor, to fish out some facts from him… There is nothing too complicated, really, but still interesting… Here is what I’ve “caught” from the discussion…

PH (potential of hydrogen) is a system, with the scale from 1 to 14, to measure the strength of acids and basis. Water, as a neutral element, takes the middle point of the scale, with the PH number of 7. Everything that is above 7 is categorized as a basis, below – as an acid. The farther the PH number of any substance is from the middle point of the scale, the stronger base/acid it is.

Human skin at birth is neutral (PH7) and then quickly becomes more acidic to resist outside bacteria. At puberty, when human organism is undergoing hormonal changes accompanied with the increased activity of sebaceous and eccrine glands, a thin protective layer, called the “acid mantle” (with the PH in between 4 and 5.5) is getting formed on the surface of the skin.

Acid mantle is a mixture of sweat and sebum (secreted by oil glands of the skin to keep it waterproof and protected from penetration of the environmental irritants) and is mildly acidic to help control the growth of bacteria living on the surface of the skin.

Not all the bacteria are harmful to the skin, some of them naturally associate with skin, help in protecting it from the incoming pathogens and keep its PH balance slightly acidic. These bacteria are referred to as the microflora.

Hint: The bacterium (Propionibacterium acnes) known to be the reason for developing acne – is a resident bacterium that can be found in any person, but on the skin of acne-prone people its amount is greatly increased. The natural solution to prevent bacteria growth (and thus avoid developing acne) is to keep the PH balance of the skin at PH5.5.

With the ageing, the skin’s acid mantle gets thinner as the body’s oil and sweating glands start working worse. As a result, the acidity is reduced and the skin is getting closer to neutral PH again, it makes the skin more susceptible to bacteria and infections and leads to development of various skin problems and diseases.

Note: Most soaps have PH in between 9 and 11 that means they are highly alkaline; it means that they remove acid mantle, kill the natural microflora of your skin and you need the PH balance of your skin to be restored after using them.

Hint: You are able to detect the PH level of any skin care product at home by using simple lacmus paper. Blue litmus paper turns red when dipped into an acid, red litmus paper turns blue when dipped into a base. Color changes: pH 4.3(red) to 6.8 (blue-violet) to 8.1(blue).

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