We don't usually consider cleansers as products that could harm the skin. After all, we rinse them off after 60 seconds. While it's true that cleansers don't sit on your skin for long, like moisturizers, they can still cause premature aging.
Your cleanser is an essential product in your skincare regimen since it prepares the skin to receive other products.
Unfortunately, many popular cleansers fail to clean thoroughly and can also damage your skin, encouraging dullness, dryness, and the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
pH means potential hydrogen- the measure of hydrogen ions in a concentration. It's the measurement of the ratio of acid to alkaline ions and ranges from 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline).
The number "7" is the midpoint.
As with most things, your skin has a preferred pH level where it's at peak health. Your skin's outer layer works best when it's slightly acidic, at a 5.5 pH level.
When this outer layer gets too alkaline, it dries out and becomes sensitive, which can lead to wrinkles, fine lines, dullness, and other skin problems.
Also, skin that is too acidic isn't healthy. It experiences increased breakouts and may feel irritated and sore.
Balancing your skin's pH is an excellent way to delay the signs of aging and keep your skin looking vibrant and youthful. Unfortunately, you might be upsetting the pH balance when you clean your face, encouraging premature aging.
How can you tell if your skin's balance is off? Watch out for these signs:
• You rarely need or use a moisturizer
• Your skin looks greasy
• Your skin is sensitive to products
• Your skin feels oily after cleansing
• Your skin often seems red and feels irritated
• You need to use moisturizer more than once a day
• Your skin rarely appears dewy
• You sometimes get dry and rough patches
• Your skin feels tight and dry after washing
• Your skin may feel irritated after applying products
Knowing which side your skin is on can help you discover where you're going wrong in your skincare.
Why does your cleanser matter to your skin's pH? Because the ingredients that clean skin (surfactants) can easily disrupt your pH. Using a soap that is too alkaline can break up the acid in your skin, inducing dryness. Most soaps are too drying, with pH levels ranging from 9-12. When you disrupt your skin's pH, it can take hours to restore itself, leaving your skin exposed to aging during that time.
These soaps also strip your skin of its natural oils, causing irritation, dryness, dullness, and wrinkles.
However, if you start using the right cleanser now, you will be on your way to radiant, healthy skin.
To tell if a product will clean your skin without damaging it, read the ingredient list.
The biggest culprits are sodium laureth sulfate and sodium lauryl ether sulfate. These are too harsh and drying to the skin due to their high pH level of 10.
Ingredients like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and amino fruit acids exfoliate and deep clean the skin, but they can be overly acidic. They can disrupt the lipid barrier and weaken the skin's natural defenses against environmental pollution.
Also watch out for triclosan, an antibacterial and antifungal agent. Studies link triclosan to numerous adverse health and environmental effects like endocrine disruption, bacterial and compounded antibiotic resistance, skin irritation, contamination of water, and its negative impact on fragile aquatic ecosystems.
Reading the ingredient list on your products will help you choose more nourishing and tender cleansers. Remember, though, that the best gauge for how your products are working is the condition of your skin. If it's red, oily, sensitive, or breaking out, your cleanser may be too acidic, while if it feels irritated, dull, and dry, your cleanser may be too alkaline.
Note: You'll likely notice differences in your skin as you age. What worked in your 20s probably won't do the job as well in your 50s.
The goal is to achieve a delicate balance between you, your skin, and your products. At Sole Toscana Skin Care, we use nourishing plant ingredients that cleanse your skin minus the drying. Our cleanser also includes protective antioxidants and restorative moisturizers.
Try out our perfectly balanced Rosewater Wellspring Cleanser. It cleans and refreshes your skin while helping it appear more vibrant and smooth.
The Sole Toscana Beauty Team