Balance: you’re not unfamiliar with this word. After all, you’ve been talking about seeking “work-life balance” whenever you talk about what you do for a living, and when it comes to your food, you enjoy it when you find the taste “balanced”.
Guess what – the same can be said about your skin too. Whatever your skin type, and whether you suffer from regular breakout or are susceptible to wrinkles, there’s probably only one reason why your skin is what it is: its pH level.
Apparently, our skin needs to be pH-balanced in order for it to be functioning its best (and as such, looks its best too!) If you remember anything from your chemistry classes when you were in school, pH stands for “potential hydrogen” and it’s used to describe how acidic or alkaline a substance is. Substances that are of pH 0 are the most acidic, and those that are of pH 14 is the most alkaline.
What’s the optimal pH level of our skin?
We know that substances that are “neutral” are at pH 7 (that’s also the pH level of water), however, before you misunderstand, this is not the pH level our skin should be at.
Majid Mousavi, Managing Director of MUDMASKY explains, “Skin is at an ideal pH when it is in a slightly acidic state, with a pH of 5.5 considered healthiest.”
And Mousavi is certainly the best person to ask about achieving pH-balanced skin. This is the brand philosophy of MUDMASKY, an indie skincare brand from the Netherlands, was built upon: to use all-natural ingredients in their range of facial masks that help you achieve pH-balanced skin.
Mousavi says that problems arise when the pH level of our skin isn’t optimal. These problems include acne, visibly bigger pores, dry or oily skin, wrinkles, and sagging skin.
“It’s safe to say that 90% depends on the pH of the skin. The other 10% is not controllable – think of genes,” he says.
What changes the pH level of our skin?
“There are three important reasons your skin’s pH gets thrown off balance,” Mousavi explains.
1. The environment: Pollution combined with UV-lights on a sunny day depletes your skin’s naturally occurring protective antioxidants rapidly. Your skin is trying “to keep up” by producing more oil and your skin becomes more alkaline than it should be.
2. Poor diet: Sugar, Alcohol and fats are terrible for maintaining a healthy pH.
3. Products we use: Harsh cleansers and soaps can strip off the skins protective barrier.
How do you get your skin back to its optimal pH level?
Mousavi recommends a few way of reaching perfect pH, but emphasises that it takes “persistence and effort”.
“We always tell our customers to start with an alkaline diet that has antioxidant rich foods such as leafy green vegetables as a base,” Mousavi shares.
These vegetables can include broccoli, kale, spinach, and bell peppers.
“Low sugar fruits such as apples, bananas, berries, lemons (add it to water) and pomegranate, nuts like almonds, walnuts and chestnuts, and seeds including flax, pumpkin and sunflower are great. I personally wouldn’t advise chia seeds.”
Mousavi also advises that we protect ourselves against the sun and use pH-balanced skincare products.
pH-balanced products to try
1. MUDMASKY Facial Detox Purifying Recovery Mask
This mask improves skin’s pH by getting rid of all the toxins and bacteria, while retaining skin’s natural moisture. As skin’s pH value is “reset” close to 5.5, the risk of new infection also reduces dramatically.
The interesting thing about this MUDMASKY facial mask is that it’s suitable for all skin types. However, how long you leave the mask on varies according to your skin type: seven minutes if you have dry/dehydrated skin, nine minutes if you have normal/combination skin, and 11 minutes if you have oily skin.
Formulated with Premium Montmorillonite Clay, Moroccan Lava Clay, Indonesian bamboo, raw uncut Japanese Matcha tea, and other premium ingredients, the mask helps to refine pores, eliminate toxins, and hydrate skin, while delivering anti-ageing and brightening benefits. Your skin will feel softer, smoother, and fresher.
The MUDMASKY Facial Detox Purifying Recovery Mask retails at €69,00 (about SGD100) and is available at their online store, with free worldwide shipping and a 30-day money back guarantee.
2. Winter Organics Chamomile Natural Facial Cleanser
Unlike most cleansers that are typically more alkaline, this cleanser by Winter Organics is at pH 5 to ensure your skin’s pH level won’t be upset. Made with 100% natural ingredients (and 85% of them are certified organic), this cleanser is also fortified with antioxidants and vitamins that help fight against inflammation and signs of ageing, and provides hydration.
The ingredients include Aloe barbadensis Leaf Juice, Seabuckthorn, and Chamomile Flower Extract, and together they offer a soothing floral scent that also helps you relax as you massage the product onto your skin.
The Winter Organics Chamomile Natural Facial Cleanser retails at SGD22, and is available at their online store, with free shipping within Singapore.
3. Vichy pH Balancing Thermal Water
The most iconic product of Vichy, this facial mist is made with 100% thermal spa water from the volcanoes in Vichy, France. Said to contain rare minerals, including iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, and silicon, this facial mist is loved for its soothing and regenerating properties.
You can use it after cleansing by spraying it 30cm away from your face, leave it on for a few seconds, and then dry it gently with a tissue paper. You can also use it to set your makeup or refresh your skin anytime during the day.
The Vichy pH Balancing Thermal Water is available at all major drugstores.