What is pH balance and should men care?

Like any good tightrope walker will tell you, balance is the key to success.

Your skin is healthier and happier when it has a balanced pH level.

A quick search online brings up thousands of articles on the topic. Unfortunately, a lot of these are confusing and full of pseudo-science.

In today's blog, we explain - in clear terms - what pH is and why it matters. 

pH levels

What does pH balance mean?

pH stands for potential hydrogen and it's used to describe the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.

The pH scale is measured from 1 to 14. 7 is neutral and the lower the number, the more acidic and the higher, the more alkaline.

Every part of your body has an 'optimum' pH level and maintaining this balance of acidity and alkalinity protects you from bacteria and toxic substances.

Do guys have a pH balance?

Yes - and as much as we may not want to admit it - our skin is just as delicate as women's.

The outer layer of your skin has a thin coating made up of a combination of oil and acids called the acid mantle. Put simply - this coating, or barrier - should keep moisture in and bacteria out.

According to a 2006 study published by the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, the average pH level for your skin is just below 5, which makes it slightly acidic (needed to kill bacteria).

Other studies have shown the "optimum" pH level is 5.5 - so anything between 5 and 5.5 is what we consider "balanced."

What happens when a man's pH balance is off?

If your skin's pH is too high (alkaline), it is not producing enough sebum, and you may experience symptoms like:

  • Dry skin and flakes
  • Fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increased sensitivity

 

Your skin's acid mantle is breaking down at these levels, making your skin more susceptible to bacteria and damaging UV rays.

If your skin's pH balance is too low (Acidic), it is producing too much sebum, and you may experience symptoms like:

  • Breakouts
  • Inflammation
  • Dermatitis
  • Pimples

How can I test my skin's pH level?

Take this quick test: How does your skin feel after cleansing?

a) Oily and unclean b) Clean and smooth c) Dry and tight

How often do you moisturize your face?

a) Never b) Every morning and evening c) Once a day

Do you suffer from dry, flaky skin?

a) Usually b) Never c) Sometimes

Have you recently noticed your skin becoming more oily?

a) Yes b) No c) Sometimes

Does your skin often look red and irritated?

a) Yes b) No c) Sometimes

Answers:

  • Mostly As: it sounds like your skin's pH is too high (alkaline).
  • Mostly Bs: congratulations, it sounds like your skin pH levels are on-point. Make sure you're using natural and organic men's skincare products and stick to your routine.
  • Mostly Cs: It sounds like your skin's pH is too low (acidic).

 

How can a man balance his pH levels?

Now that you've established your skin's pH level, you can take action to correct it or maintain it.

1. Avoid harsh ingredients

The first step to getting your skin back on track is stepping away from harsh ingredients and making the switch to pH-balanced products.

Many men's skincare products carry a pH level of 8 – 10, which means they're going to dry your skin out. These high levels, combined with tap water (which has a pH level as high as 8.5), are a recipe for disaster.

The first step is to avoid harsh cleansers and soap.

Avoid toxic men's skincare ingredients like SLS (sodium lauryl sulfate), parabens, fragrance and parfum, BHT, and alcohol - all of which dry out your skin.

2. Don't forget to moisturize

Dry skin is wrinkle-prone skin. Always use a face moisturizer after cleansing to keep your skin hydrated and avoid anything with artificial fragrances because this can dry out your skin.

3. Look for 'pH Balanced' on the label

Look for men's grooming products that specifically state they are "pH balanced."

If your product doesn't say this - there's a good chance it's not going to be good for your skin.

4. Always opt for natural ingredients

Try adding any of these natural ingredients to your daily routine:

  • Aloe Vera Leaf Juice - nourishes and hydrates your skin.
  • Shea Butter - a natural anti-inflammatory that soothes, tones, and tightens your skin
  • Coconut Oil - softens your skin and helps it retain moisture.
  • Kakadu Plum Fruit Extract - rich in Vitamins C and E, folic acid, and carotenoids which reduce the symptoms of aging
  • Vitamin C - try a Vitamin C Face Serum!

 

Summary

Maintaining a healthy pH balance doesn't have to be complicated. Choose the right, natural men's skincare products for your skin, get a routine and stick to it. You'll soon have clear, healthy, youthful-looking skin!

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