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One of the most common complaints regarding skin care is that it can be incredibly frustrating and difficult to balance the skin. If you have this problem, you are far from alone and there is a way that you can remedy this situation. Restoring balance and moisture to your skin takes some minor adjustments that will lead to major improvements. Keep reading to find out how to balance your skin and how to restore moisture.
To effectively restore balance to your skin, you need to think back to your high school science classes and the lessons on pH levels. Not sure exactly what pH levels are? In the early 1900s, a Danish chemist devised the pH scale. The pH stands for “potential for hydrogen,” which really isn’t that helpful when you’re trying to balance out your skin. What you need to know is that the scale ranges from zero, which is the most acidic, to 14, which is the most alkaline. Water has a pH level of seven, which is considered to be neutral. “Skin with a balanced pH appears healthier, is slightly moist, looks plumper and has a healthy glow,” explains dermatologist Howard Sobel, M.D., the director of the New York Institute of Aesthetic Dermatology and Laser Surgery.
Your skin has a barrier, or acid mantle, that is formed by secretions from sweat and sebaceous glands in addition to the breakdown of fatty acids due to beneficial microflora. The acid mantle acts as a barrier to keep good things in your skin while keeping bad things out, and pH plays a fundamental role in your skin’s barrier. Slightly acidic skin is most balanced, and the optimal pH level is around 5.5. “You need some acidity to inhibit bacterial growth on the skin, which is why skin that’s too alkaline, for example, may be more susceptible to acne.”
To keep your acid mantle intact and your skin balanced, you want to get rid of soap for facial cleansing. “Soaps are very alkaline so using them can increase skin alkalinity above its natural levels,” advises Sobel. Immediately switch to a cleanser that is gentle, but appropriate for your skin type. If you have oily skin, look for a cleanser that is either a gel or foaming formula, and if you have dry skin look for a cream or milky cleanser. Glycolic acid is a beneficial ingredient that acts as a gentle exfoliant to help restore balance.
Restoring both balance and moisture to your skin can be helped significantly by maintaining a healthy diet full of vegetables, and by drinking plenty of water. It is important to feed your body healthful foods because what is happening on the inside of your body is what appears on the outside of your body. With a proper diet in place, your skin will have more naturally balanced pH levels and more natural hydration and moisture. However, you still want to use a moisturizer to add to your skin’s hydration levels. Lactic acid is an excellent ingredient to look for in your moisturizer because it exfoliates and at the same time, it adds moisture to your skin. Hyaluronic acid is another ingredient to check for because it is a humectant. Humectants draw moisture out of surrounding air and keep this moisture locked in deep layers of your skin, so you stay hydrated for longer periods of time.
When it comes to restoring balance and moisture to your skin, it may sound incredibly complicated and overwhelming, but don’t let all of the chemistry terms and numbers frighten you. Eating a diet that contains plenty of fresh vegetables will help your body maintain a more alkaline pH, which helps your skin balance its own pH to slightly acidic levels. Use gentle cleansers designed for your skin type, drink plenty of water and add hydration to your skin with ingredients like lactic and hyaluronic acids. While you can buy pH strips to get an exact number for your skin and body, the most effective way to balance your skin and body is to simply pay attention to it. When you feel good, and you look good, you’re doing something right.