Your skin has a thin protective layer called the acid mantle that’s made up of amino and lactic acids that mix easily with fatty acids (oils) from the sebaceous glands. These glands secrete oil that protects your skin.
The pH level of the acid mantle on our skin is about 5.5 which is slightly acidic. The pH scale ranges from 1-14, with 7 being neutral, 1 being acidic, and 14 being alkaline.
The sebaceous glands are concentrated mostly on the face and scalp, where the skin is delicate and exposed. When you wash your hair and face with soap, you wash away not only the dirt that’s clogging your pores but also the oil that protects it. So you no more have a natural protection for your skin. It gets dry easily and leaves it more vulnerable to skin breakouts and other skin problems like eczema.
The reason soap-based, chemical products strip the oil away from your hair or skin is because they’re extremely alkaline and they act as surfactants. It’s also better to choose products that match your acid mantle i.e slightly acidic.
Three-Step Daily Skin Care Routine
The first step is to ditch cleansers entirely. Sounds counter intuitive and wrong? But the key word here is OCM or the Oil Cleansing Method. The science behind this method is that oil has no pH level, because it’s insoluble in water and therefore, it doesn’t affect the pH level of your skin.
The fact that it’s insoluble in water is why it makes for a good cleanser – oil is lipophilic or simply, oil dissolves in oil. When you use oil depending on your skin type to cleanse your face, you dislodge the dirt that clogs your pores and wipe it away without removing the sebum from your sebaceous glands and the acid mantle that protects your skin.
The second step is to make toners your best friend. They are like the acid mantle of our skin -slightly acidic. Alcohol free Witch Hazel is the basis of most toners. It has a pH of 3, but a 1:1 solution of witch hazel and hydrosol has a pH of 5. The benefit of using toner many times a day is that it not only cleanses your face but also supports its pH balance.
The third step is to get into a routine for cleansing, toning, and moisturizing. You should only cleanse in the morning when you wake up, and to get your makeup off in the afternoon or evening. If you do it more than that, regular wiping can dry out your skin. Tone several times a day, and moisturize later, but not at night, so that your skin can breathe.
While you follow this daily routine, it is also equally important to eat well. It’s worth considering the possibility that alkalizing foods like fruits, vegetables, raw nuts, and soy could help your skin at least by providing your body with a ton of nutrients that actually maintain the pH level of your blood.