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Skin pH - the fountain of youth?

"THE PH OF THE SKIN IS THE "thermostat" that regulates the overall health and beauty of the skin, and the effectiveness of cosmeceutical products used on the skin. While the meaning of pH is generally misunderstood and seldom talked about, it does play a vital role in regulating the skin's aging process, and should be considered for every skin care regimen.


Having the perfect balance between the body's internal pH and the skin's external pH is key for normal cell function and optimal health of the skin and body. Because pH protects the skin from environmental stressors such as sun damage, smoking and pollutants, accelerated aging of the body and skin can occur when it's out of balance. This imbalance can result in poor skin and muscle tone, sagging skin, poor internal organ function, rough skin texture and large pores. A person's pH can be altered minute-by-minute through daily activities such as sleep and exercise, as well as environ­mental factors such as pollutants, drinking water, stress and using skin care products that are not pH balanced. In order for skin cells to function properly, the body's pH should be between 7.35 and 7.45, and 4.5 +/-1.0 for the skin. The unique pro­teins in the skin and body are affected by the tiniest pH changes of the skin and body, and must maintain a specific geometric shape in order to function.


As a person ages, the pH of their skin changes. At puberty, the body begins to produce more hair, activating sebaceous glands and altering the skin's pH. The hormones that control sweat also become active, and the whole surface of a teenager's skin transforms from that of a child to a young adult. This is the body's way of increasing its defense sys­tem against injury from the environment.


In one's late teens to early 20s, the acid mantle is well developed, and provides good protection against potentially harmful external environmental factors. The skin usually looks healthy and heals from injuries quickly at this age.


With increasing age, however, the skin's pH becomes more neutral and susceptible to bacterial growth. This reduced acidity kills fewer bacteria than before, leaving the skin susceptible to bacterial growth and infections. As a result, the skin weakens and begins developing problems, such as loss of firm­ness and elasticity, wrinkles, dryness and longer healing time.


The simple act of using ordinary soap to clean the face increases the pH of the skin, removes its protective acid mantle layer and kills the "good" bacteria responsible for maintaining the acidic pH of the skin. Therefore, using pH adjusted skin care products is recommended for a youthful, healthy appearance. Skin care products that are pH balanced have increased Lascorbic acid and retinol that has been scientifically proven to improve skin texture, reduce brown spots and decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.


So look no further, the Fountain of Youth may already be in your pH balanced skin care products. "


 Source:  by Lawrence Samuels, M.D., Les Nouvelles Esthetiques June 2013