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Article: Skin pH & Your Acid Mantle 101

Skin pH & Your Acid Mantle 101

Hello, all!


If you're familiar with skincare at all, you have most likely heard the term "pH" when browsing products or reading articles. It's a common skincare term that is sometimes misunderstood, so I wanted to explain what skin PH is, how to maintain healthy skin pH, and some of the best natural products to do that with. Without wasting any time, let's get right to it.


Skin pH 101

pH means "potential of hydrogen" and is a scale that specifies how alkaline or acidic something is. This scale ranges from 0-14. Let's break it down further below.

  • A pH of 7 is considered neutral (pure water has a neutral pH).
  • pH values less than 7 indicate acidity (the lower the number, the stronger the acid).
  • pH values greater than 7 indicate alkalinity (the higher the number, the stronger the alkaline).

When referring to "skin pH", it simply means the level of alkalinity or acidity on the surface of the skin, aka the "acid mantle". The skin's acid mantle is naturally slightly acidic, with a pH typically ranging from about 4.5 to 5.5.

This balance is important because the mild acidic levels help form a barrier that protects skin from harmful bacteria, environmental stressors, and other potentially irritating substances/organisms - which can contribute to a host of skin concerns like premature aging, dry skin, etc. No thanks! Your acid mantle also helps regulate balanced oil production, ensuring that your skin is neither too oily nor too dry.

So, essentially a healthy skin pH is like a protective shield and needs to be maintained with care.


Skin pH disruptors

There is a litany of things that can disrupt healthy skin pH levels. Here are a few of the most common disruptors:

  1. Conventional cleansers often contain harsh astringents that disrupt the skin's natural oil production and can contribute to increased oil production as your skin tries to recover what it lost. These harsh cleansers can also cause irritation and uncomfortable dryness. ​Read more on our skin pH-friendly natural cleansing options for your skin type​!
  2. Speaking of cleansing your face, over-washing your face can also weaken your skin's acid mantle, making it more susceptible to adverse skin conditions and acne. Read more on that here.
  3. Over-exfoliating is another potential pH disruptor. Here at SBA, we are all for a normal exfoliation routine, however, this needs to be done thoughtfully to not disrupt your skin's pH which is easily done if you overdo it with exfoliants. ​Click here to learn about the best natural exfoliants and how much you should be exfoliating for your skin type.​
  4. Your diet and lifestyle can contribute to the breakdown of your skin's acid mantle. Lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of antioxidants, hydration, etc can alter your body's natural mechanisms that help aid your skin's acid mantle. Not to mention they can also alter your hormones that affect the skin's pH balance as well.
  5. Using skincare ingredients with harsh chemicals and toxins. Many skincare ingredients have toxic chemicals that can and do disrupt skin pH. Just another reason to only use pure, all-natural ingredients on your body.
  6. Using skincare products that don't suit your skin type. Each skin type has specific needs, and some skin types don't fair well with certain skincare ingredients, even when using natural skincare products. It is VERY important to understand your skin type and what ingredients will help maintain the best pH balance for your skin needs. Read more here on how to test for your skin type and read this blog about our recommended SBA products for your skin type.
  7. The environment you are in also plays a crucial role in your skin's pH balance. Sure, when your skin is exposed to prolonged extreme weather conditions, like strong winds, cold temps, and excessive sun exposure, your skin may experience a shift in pH. However, I would focus more on eliminating toxic pollutants that can get onto your skin where you can. This means using toxin-free household cleaners and laundry detergent and getting rid of anything with artificial fragrance or pollutants. This could mean perfumes, hair spray, other sprays, etc. We have copious blogs and articles on how to make your own toxin-free products from fluoride-free toothpaste to hair gel, to laundry detergent.
Click the photo above to learn more!


The importance of a high-quality toner for your skin acid mantle

You may have noticed that when we recommend skincare routines for any skin type, the first step is cleansing... and the second step is always a high-quality toner, specifically our Balancing Toner Mist. Why is this? Well, for several reasons.

  1. If any pH balance is thrown off during the cleansing step, a quality toner will help quickly restore skin pH levels.
  2. Toners can be great hydrating agents and can help prepare your skin to properly absorb your serums, moisturizers, and other products. In our ​Balancing Toner Mist​ are humectants like organic white rose hydrosols that help draw moisture to the skin, reinforcing the acid mantle.
  3. Also in SBA's toner are astringents, like organic witch hazel that help to tighten the pores, aiding oil production control. As the pores tighten, potential environmental stressors are also blocked and cannot absorb into and irritate the skin as easily.
  4. Witch hazel, rose water hydrosols, lavender, and frankincense have a soothing and anti-inflammatory effect on the skin. Because of this, our toner can help reduce redness and inflammation, making the skin appear toned and even.


It's important to note that SBA's toner contains no alcohol or fragrances, unlike other popular "natural" toner products. Many conventional toners can do more harm than good depending on their ingredients. Be careful!


Head over to the website to read more benefits + reviews of our Balancing Toner Mist. There's a reason this product is so beloved!


Happy misting,

Brier C. & Chelsea Henderson (CEO & Formulator)

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