What is pH?
pH refers to the ‘potential of hydrogen.’ It is the scale used to measure the acidity or alkalinity level of water-based solutions. The pH scale ranges from 1 – 14 where 1 is most acidic, 14 is most alkaline, and 7 is in the middle and is considered neutral. Traditional soaps and foaming cleansers are generally alkaline and will sit around an 8 or higher, while lemon juice for example, sits at 2 and is very acidic. Our skin naturally has a slightly acidic pH between 4.5 and 5.5, and the skincare we apply has a direct effect on the pH of our skin.
The pH Scale
Why is the pH in Your Skincare Important?
The skin has its own naturally occurring, slightly acidic protective shield called the acid mantle which plays a vital role in protecting the skin’s surface and lower layers from external threats. The combination of water, sebum, salt, and various acids making up the acid mantle determine the skin’s pH. This also plays a role in keeping the skin’s delicate mix of bacteria – known as the microbiome – on the surface of the skin, balanced. An acidic microbiome makes it more difficult for harmful bacteria to multiply, allowing beneficial bacteria to flourish.
Repeatedly disturbing the skin’s natural pH with stressors like unprotected UV exposure or overuse of heavily acidic or alkaline products can seriously compromise the skin’s protective barrier, stripping away essential moisture and oils, and allowing other stressors such as dirt, bacteria, and pollution to enter the skin. This can lead to irritation, inflammation and even breakouts. Respecting the skin’s naturally occurring pH is important in maintaining this protective shield, and for long term, overall skin health.
The Liquid Gold Difference
While maintaining a balanced pH is important for our everyday skin health, it can actually be beneficial to temporarily challenge the skin; periodically taking it out of its comfort zone and giving it a ‘workout’.
When we intentionally alter the skin’s natural pH it fights to restore itself, setting off a wave of stimulation through its lower layers and Accelerating beneficial functions such as the production of Collagen and the formation of fresh, plump new skin. One of the most effective ways to do this is exfoliating with a chemical exfoliant like Liquid Gold.
But wait – not all exfoliants are created equal! The pH of Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) determines their strength and bioavailability (how much the skin can actually utilise). Alpha-H’s Liquid Gold is formulated at a uniquely low pH of 2.8- 3.0, ensuring rapid delivery of bioavailable AHA hero Glycolic Acid. This unique pH allows the formula to get to work loosening dead skin build up quickly to create a firmer, smoother and more radiant complexion. Glycolic Acid is renowned for its small molecular size, which coupled with our low pH delivery system ensures deeper penetration ability and effective, superior exfoliation.
Supporting Your Skin's pH
Everything in moderation is key here. While it can be beneficial to intentionally and periodically disrupt the skin’s natural pH, it’s equally, if not more important to also bring balance back into the skin.
Choosing a daily cleanser that respects the skin’s natural pH is the first step to maintaining healthy, resilient skin. Our cleansers are all formulated around a pH 5.5, keeping the skin happy and maintaining the naturally occurring pH level.
Keep active ingredients such as Glycolic and Salicylic Acids, and Retinoids spaced out in your routine. Liquid Gold for example is most beneficial when used 3 nights per week with a day in between – try Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Step up your routine with nutrient rich nourishers, hydrators, and protectors. Our Vitamin Serums bring essential antioxidant protection to skin, while our daily SPF50+ moisturisers offer broad spectrum protection from harsh UV rays.
The best advice? Listen to your skin! If it begins feeling stressed or irritated, take a step back from actives, and allow your skin a few days to restore balance before slowly reintroducing these products back into your routine.