The Balancing Act of Skincare
The topic of balancing your skins pH level has become a very hot topic lately, and alkaline water is at the top of that discussion. Supermodel Miranda Kerr swears by it. NBA star LeBron James is a self-proclaimed aficionado about it. But what does it all mean for your skin?
Skin is naturally designed to fight off infections and stressors from the environment. Its ability to perform these functions is affected by its pH level. The pH level of the skin refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. If your skin is too alkaline, it can be more susceptible to acne, dryness, and sensitivity. If your skin is too acidic, it decreases the amount of oil your skin produces and decreases your skin’s ability to protect itself.
Our skin has a protective, thin layer on its surface known as the acid mantle that is made up of oil (free fatty acids) from our glands mixed with lactic and amino acids from sweat to create the pH level of our skin. This mantle has a very delicate balance to maintain and many factors, both internally and externally, can easily interfere with that balance. For instance, throughout our life experiences, our skin becomes more acidic in response to lifestyle changes and our environment. Just think of all the things that come into contact with our skin on almost a daily occurrence (products, smoke, air, water, sun, pollution). All of these factors contribute and interfere with the acid mantle, breaking it down and disrupting the skin’s ability to protect itself.
Alkaline water is capable of rejuvenating and rehydrating your skin. It contains antioxidants that help you fight against the free radicals that cause many of these problems mentioned above. It is known for having a slightly higher pH level (8 or 9) than regular drinking water (7) to help neutralize the acid in your body to ensure your skin’s pH level has a neutral reading.
Drinking Alkaline Water
The benefits of alkaline water are amazing, but consuming enough is a daunting task. Most people find the age-old advice of drinking 8-12 glasses of water per day a difficult goal if they’re not used to it. Start by drinking 3-4 glasses of alkaline water per day (approx. 1 liter). Next, gradually increase your water intake over the next couple of weeks until you can easily intake 8-12 glasses per day (2 to 3 liters).
Ingesting antioxidants in the form of Alkaline water is important, but so is topical application. Topical antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, E and green tea are crucial for helping to maintain the delicate acid mantle. They help to fortify the cells so they’re able to function optimally and protect the cells from environmental stresses and oxidation.
As we go through life, the amount of oil naturally produced by our skin decreases. This decrease disrupts the balance of the acid mantle and its ability to protect your skin. It’s vital through every stage of life to always select good-for-your-skin products (oils, moisturizers, primers) to add to your skincare routine that continuously helps to rebuild your acid mantle and strengthen this vital barrier. Look for ingredients like jojoba, coconut, argan oil and olive oil in your skincare and cosmetic products that work effortlessly with the skin to produce natural oil.
Skin cleansers can be those sneaky skincare products that you have on your counter that are not pH balanced. They tend to be overly acidic and do more harm than good to your poor skin. Always choose a mild face cleanser that is only slightly acidic (about a 5) as this will benefit all skin types in properly maintaining the acid mantle.
The balancing act of skincare is like a rollercoaster. You will find that, as life goes on, your pH level may fluctuate. As such, you will have to modify your skincare routine as you adjust. Just remember to be gentle on your delicate skin and barriers and always choose natural, hydrating ingredients in your skincare products so you can combat those environmental stressors with a gorgeous, balanced complexion.