Anti-ageing role of pH balance in skin: How to maintain optimal skin function | Health - Hindustan Times
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Anti-ageing role of pH balance in skin health: How to maintain optimal skin function

ByZarafshan Shiraz, New Delhi
Aug 24, 2023 01:55 PM IST

Maintaining an optimum pH balance is important to keep the moisturise levels of the skin intact and retain a proper barrier function. Here are tips by experts

The natural skin surface pH is around 4.7 and using products which maintain this pH and protect the skin is very essential as products that make the skin pH acidic or alkaline make the skin red, inflamed and irritated. Maintaining an optimum pH is important to keep the moisturise levels of the skin intact and retain a proper barrier function and for this, skincare experts recommend that it is better to use products close to the skin’s natural pH of 4.6 to 5.5.

Anti-ageing role of pH balance in skin health: How to maintain optimal skin function (Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash)
Anti-ageing role of pH balance in skin health: How to maintain optimal skin function (Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash)

In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Niranjana, Co-Founder of YCDC in Bangalore and Trivandrum, explained, “The pH of the skin indicates how acidic or alkaline it is. The Ph of skin varies but is often about 4.7, which is more on the acidic side. The proteins, lipids, and free fatty acids found in the skin's top layer work together to biologically maintain the pH of the skin. The acid mantle of the skin typically maintains the Ph and is autonomous, so it doesn't need any specific outside influences. However, several skin barrier disorders, like eczema and atopic dermatitis, can result in a compromised skin barrier, which changes the skin's pH. Additionally, some skincare products, such as soaps, cleansers, and cosmetics, may alter the skin's pH, especially if they are harshly alkaline.”

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She elaborated, “This can result in a compromised skin barrier, erythema and irritation of the skin. Since the skin's pH is slightly acidic, it also aids in the skin's inherent anti-microbial characteristics; a change in pH can, therefore, change the cutaneous microbiome and make the person more prone to infections. The usage of soap-based cleansers can prove to be a little harsh on the skin when it comes to regulating the skin's pH because of their alkaline pH. Contrarily, Syndets, which are synthetic cleansers, might end up being more advantageous because of their pH, which ranges from neutral to slightly acidic and is practically identical to that of skin. As a result, it is claimed that the skin barrier is only minimally disturbed by syndet as compared to soap-based cleansers but both types of cleaners are effective at cleansing and have anti-microbial qualities.”

According to Dr Mikki Singh, Dermatologist, Cosmetologist and Founder of Bodycraft Salon Spa and Clinic in Bangalore, healthy human skin typically has a pH of about 4.5 to 5.5, which is slightly acidic. She shared, "This acidity is due to the presence of an "acid mantle" - a thin, protective layer on the skin's surface composed of sebum excreted from the skin's sebaceous glands, which mixes with lactic and amino acids from sweat to create the skin's pH. If the skin's pH balance is disturbed, and it becomes too alkaline, it can become dry and sensitive, making it prone to signs of aging and sun damage. If the skin is too acidic, it can become prone to inflammation, which can lead to conditions such as acne and dermatitis. Therefore, maintaining a proper pH balance is vital for overall skin health."

She highlighted the role of pH Balance in skin health as:

  • Barrier Function - This acid mantle plays a key role in shielding your skin from environmental factors like pollutants, bacteria, and other
  • Moisture Retention - The pH level of the skin also influences its ability to retain moisture. When your skin's pH is balanced, it can effectively hold onto moisture and prevent dehydration, leading to smoother and healthier-ooking skin.
  • Skin Renewal - The skin’s pH plays a role in cell turnover, the process where new skin cells replace old ones. This function is optimal at the skin’s natural pH and any disruption can lead to skin conditions like dryness, irritation and premature ageing.

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