When we’re born, our skin is the most neutral that it will ever be in terms of pH. The body has a natural alkaline reserve to counteract excess acidity, but it declines with age. As adults, the skin becomes more acidic as it’s exposed to lifestyle and environmental factors.
Some cleansers, like tradition bar soaps, are too alkaline for the skin because they’re packed with skin-stripping ingredients that cause dryness. If the lipid layer of the skin is damaged, skin will become stiff and tight, taking up to four hours to rebound. This is why it’s important to use a pH-balanced cleanser.
What you eat also has a direct impact on your body and skin’s pH levels. Because of our environment, we need our diets to be less acidic, otherwise we become too acidic internally. Excess acidity can be neutralized with minerals, but if there aren’t enough minerals in your diet, the body will pull what it needs from the bones, which can lead to osteoporosis.
Finally, sun damage, smoke and air pollution all contribute to the breakdown of the acid mantle, making the skin more alkaline and eventually drier. The more you can avoid these things, the better.