Introduced back in the early 1900s, pH stands for "potential hydrogen" and is used to describe the acid-alkaline ratio of a substance, which ranges from 0 (the most acidic) to 14 (the most alkaline).
Why should this mean anything to you? Because the health of your body—and skin—is directly linked to maintaining the right balance between acidity and alkalinity.
The skin's barrier, which is known as the acid mantle, is responsible for keeping in lipids and moisture while blocking germs, pollution, toxins, and bacteria. To work its best, the acid mantle should be slightly acidic, at a 5.5 pH balance. When it's too alkaline, skin becomes dry and sensitive; you may even get eczema. You may also experience inflammation, which inhibits the skin's ability to ward off matrix metalloproteinases [MMPs], the enzymes that destroy collagen and cause wrinkles and sagging.
Each whole pH value below 7 is 10 times more acidic than the next higher value. For example, a pH 4 is 10 times more acidic the a pH 5 and 100 times more acidic then than a pH 6. The same holds true for pH values above a 7 (alkaline), with each having the same exponential value.
What this means for the formulation is that the slightest change in the pH of the formulation makes a significant difference in its strength and ability to react with the skin. Merely changing the pH in a formulation by one-tenth of a decimal point substantially increases this. All acids are driven by pH as their primary criteria in formulation.
Please consider the pH balance of your products.
Until next time...
Your Skin Care Therapist