We spend a lot of time and energy pursuing a “balanced” life – In work, finances and family time. But when it comes to men’s grooming, we often overlook a balancing act that’s key to wellness – Balanced skin! Balanced skin is achieved when skin maintains the ideal pH of 5.5. At this slightly acidic pH, the skin is optimised to seal in hydration while protecting us from free radicals, pollution and environmental irritants. The result is skin that’s perfectly hydrated and clear of eczema, acne, chafing and premature signs of ageing. Skin with a balanced pH appears healthier, slightly moist and has a healthy glow.
The proof on pH is clear, and reported in more than 130 clinical studies. A study published in British Journal of Dermatology by Greg Hillebrand, PhD, showed that people’s skin was too alkaline (AKA, their pH balance was too high) developed more fine lines and crow’s feet than those with acidic skin (AKA, their pH was balanced). Researchers have also discovered that traditional soap (which is alkaline, not acidic) strips the skin’s acid mantle and causes skin pH to rise, making skin susceptible to outside (allergens, irritants, weather, infection) and internal (stress, hormones, diseases) factors that trigger skin inflammation.
To keep the skin scale tipped in your favour at a balanced pH of 5.5, follow these easy tips:
- Don’t wash skin with soap and hot water: They may seem innocent, but traditional soap bars can have a pH of up to 9, leaving skin with a dry, tight feeling. Hot water is also irritating to skin’s protective barrier, and without proper hydration following exposure, skin is left vulnerable to damage. For your face, ditch the soap and switch to Sebamed Liquid Face & Body Wash ($19.95), an ultra-mild gel cleanser that’s soap and alkali free, and cleanses and moisturises all in one while adjusting skin to its ideal pH of 5.5. Wash your face with lukewarm water, and pat dry with a soft cloth instead of scraping skin with an abrasive towel. And on the body, use Baxter of California Invigorating Body Wash Bergamot and Pear (£17.00) with its refreshing and invigorating formula designed to wash away dirt and debris whilst maintaining the skin’s moisture levels and correct pH balance. Made with gentle cleansers derived from Coconut and skin-softening agents; Aloe Vera Gel and Jojoba Oil, skin is left soft and smooth.
- Use at-home peels, in moderation: Glycolic peels can help the skin maintain acidity, while also providing exfoliating benefits. To avoid irritation and toomuch acidity, opt for peels or masks with a neutralising ingredient like seaweed, which regulates the pH of Glycolic and Kojic acids to deliver the brightening and exfoliating benefits while eliminating the risk of sensitivity. Use only at the dermatologist recommended intervals and stop immediately if your skin becomes dry, red or flaky.
- Feed your face with alkaline greens: Keeping your insides slightly alkaline helps keep your skin in balance. Incorporating green vegetables and vegetable juices into your diet over several weeks will aid digestion, boost immunity, AND improve skin. If your diet is too acidic, acne and signs of ageing may surface as your cells won’t be getting enough minerals and oxygen.
- Repair and soothe skin after sun exposure: The sun’s rays are drying and damaging to skin. Whether rain or shine, wear a daily sunscreen with broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and an SPF of 30 or higher to prevent burns and premature ageing. Reapply every two hours if in the sun and nothing is waterproof even if it claims to be. Take note that after a day in the sun, using harsh anti-ageing eye and face creams with retinol or AHA’s may exacerbate peeling and irritation. Save your skin by using a simple sensitive skin cream like Sebamed Moisturizing Face Cream ($14.95), which protects delicate skin as the epidermis rebuilds its protective barrier. You’ll still be able to reap anti-ageing benefits – The cream is filled with Vitamin E, which naturally guards against ageing free radicals.
- Shave the right way: Seventy-eight percent of guys experience shaving irritation, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. This manifests in many different ways – Redness, flakes, razor-burn, dryness, sensitivity – But there’s one basic factor to blame for all of these problems: An off-balancepH. The soap, hot water, abrasive towels and harsh chemicals involved in the daily shave (and daily workout, daily shower, etc.) can raise skin’s pH and cause dryness, breakouts and all those dreaded irritations. After a shave, bring skin back to normal with a pH balanced after shave like Billy Jealousy Shaved Ice (£25.00)
Ape to Gentleman would like to thank By Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, Board Certified Dermatologist and Chief Medical Spokesperson for Sebamed, for her expert words above.