Clear skin truly starts from the inside. What you eat can entirely affect the pH balance of your body and skin. And then what you apply topically can start to make a difference once you’ve balanced your internal pH.
What is a pH Scale?
In case you need a recap on middle school biology, the pH scale is a measurement of the hydrogen ion concentration [H+] in a liquid/object. Hydrogen ions are essential to our health because they assist in cellular processing within our body (serving as electron transporters).
The Difference Between an Acid and a Base
Acids can give a hydrogen ion (or a proton), while bases obtain a hydrogen ion. H2O, or pure water, is the most neutral substance because it has a concentration of 7 (or 10 to the power of -7) hydrogen ions. It has the ability to act as both an acid and a base, thus making it the perfect neutralizer for our bodies. However, if you were to mix something acidic (like vinegar=pH of 2.4) with water, it can bump up the pH to 2.7, making it more neutral.
The Perfect Balanced Skin
Your surface layer (a.k.a the “moisture barrier”) is slightly acidic and has a pH between 4-7. Kerry Thompson and Coco Park, co-authors of Korean Beauty Secrets say:
Healthy skin tends to have a pH of 4.7 to 5.5, while higher pH levels are often accompanied by sensitivity, acne, and even eczema.”
When your skin is too basic/alkaline, it tends to get dry, sensitive, and flaky. Too acidic, and that’s when those horrible, deep pimples come in and things become really painful.
The human stomach is already pretty acidic, which is why eating high-alkaline foods and lots of water help to balance it out. This means, less stress on your body and your skin to try and compensate for unbalanced pH levels.
How to Test Your pH
You can easily pick up some pH paper/strips from Amazon.com or Walmart. You can test your body’s pH by dipping a strip in your urine or saliva. You can also test your products pH levels by dipping a strip in them, or (especially with your cleanser) mixing it with some water and rubbing a pH strip against the solution.
An ideal reading for your internal pH is 5.5. For products, it’s the same. I finally did this science project on my skin and products and these were my results:
Most of my cleansers that work with water were 6.0 by themselves.
My DIY toner and oil-based products were in the perfect 5.0-5.5 range.
Overall, I think this isn’t too bad of a rating. I could be eating less sweets and purchasing more mild cleansers. One recent recommendation I’ve heard about is the Su:M37 Miracle Rose Cleansing Stick which is made with fermented rose petals and has a perfect 5.5 pH level.