Acne begins well before a breakout appears, and a variety of factors contribute to pimples. The main culprits are bacteria, excess oil and pores becoming clogged with dead skin cells, but wait; there’s more. If you really want to understand why your skin may be more pimple-prone than others’, let’s break it down with chemistry.
What is pH? pH stands for "power of hydrogen" and measures the ratio of how acidic or alkaline a substance is. Anything below a 7.0 is considered an acid & anything above 7.0 is considered an alkaline.
Ever heard of an acid mantle? The acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of human skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin. It is secreted by sebaceous glands. The pH of the skin is between 4.5-6.2, so healthy skin is acidic. These contaminants and other chemicals are primarily alkaline in nature and the skin's moderate acidity helps to neutralize their chemical effects. Disrupting the acid mantle can have adverse affects and lead to inflammation, dry skin, dehydrated skin (skin that's oily & dry at the same time), acne & sensitivity. Cleansing is the most damaging step in skincare because it has the potential to disrupt the acid mantle by stripping skin of it's natural oils.
In order to determine if a cleanser is playing nice with your acid mantle, you can gauge your skin after cleaning. If after cleansing, your faces feel tight or as if it might crack when you smile, your acid mantle is most likely being affected. The feeling of being squeaky clean is not what’s best for healthy skin. After cleansing, your skin should feel clean but also moisturized and nourished. As always, how your face feels and how your skin looks, is going to be more important than what is on the label of the product or what the reviews are saying.
If you would like more personalized help finding your perfect cleanser we offer 1:1 Skin Consultations & customized facials!