Should you be using a pH balanced face wash?

Posted by Frownies UK on

A cleansing face wash is an essential part of any basic skincare routine. But just soap and water may not be ideal for the delicate skin on your face. 

The skin on your face is exposed to dirt, sweat, bacteria, and UV radiation constantly on a daily basis. Plus your skin could be exposed to hundreds of other pH-altering chemicals if you wear makeup every day. 

Dermatologists recommend washing your face twice per day. In the morning, a cleansing face wash will remove any sweat, bacteria, and dead skin cells. In the evening before bed, you can use the same pH balanced cleanser to remove makeup, excess oil, dirt, and environmental pollutants your skin may have been exposed to throughout the day.

Whether it is part of your morning or evening skincare routine, a clean face is the perfect palette for the rest of your skincare products. 

Because the skin on our face is unique, it is best to avoid harsh astringents and synthetic fragrances which will only cause irritation to the delicate facial skin. 

What is the Difference Between Face Wash and Cleanser?

You may have heard the term ‘facial cleanser’ and have wondered if that is another way of saying ‘face wash.’ And the answer is subtle.

Most people use the terms ‘face wash’ and ‘facial cleanser’ interchangeably. So, what are the differences between cleansing face wash and a facial cleanser?

The basic functions of a cleansing face wash and a facial cleanser are the same – to clean the skin of the face. Where face washes and facial cleansers may differ is in the ingredients to achieve clean skin. 

In general, a face wash will have a foaming action and bubbly texture that we would expect in a soap. Cleansers tend to lack the soaping feature and offer more hydrating ingredients. 

When cleaning your face, most people should look for a balance between washing away dirt and bacteria and hydrating the facial skin.

Since the terms ‘face wash’ and ‘facial cleanser’ may be considered synonymous, we suggest you look past the name of the product and dig deeper to consider the ingredients in the bottle.

Look for a cleansing face wash or facial cleanser with mild surfactants, gentle astringents, and ultra-hydrating ingredients. Stay away from harsh, stripping synthetic soaps and strong artificial fragrances. Instead opt for clean, plant-based, and non-toxic ingredients. 

In addition to cleaning and hydrating, a premier cleansing face wash or facial cleanser will also be pH balanced specifically to the skin of the face. 

What Does a pH Balanced Cleanser Do?

You probably have never considered that your skin has a certain pH level.

Think back to high school chemistry class. You may remember that pH is a scale from 1 to 14 with a pH of 7 considered neutral, like water, for example. The ideal pH of the surface of your skin is actually slightly acidic, ranging from 4.5 to 5.5. 

There is a specific reason that your skin should be in this acidic pH range – your skin has a protective layer called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is a mixture of sweat and a waxy secretion, called sebum, that coats and protects the surface of your skin. 

This acidic layer of sweat and sebum prevents water-loss, dehydration, and even sun damage; therefore locking in moisture and decreasing signs of aging. 

In addition, the acid mantle protects against harmful bacteria and viruses from penetrating the skin’s epithelial layer. Essentially, the acid mantle functions to keep the “good stuff” in and the “bad stuff” out. 

Oily skin averages between 4.2 and 5.2 on the pH scale, meaning it leans more acidic. In contrast, dry skin tends to rate less acidic, or more basic, with a higher pH greater than 5.5. 

When the pH balance of your skin is outside the ideal range, your skin is susceptible to a variety of annoying and unsightly skin conditions such as acne blemishes, dry patches, and even psoriasis.

A pH balanced cleanser will help restore the ideal pH of the skin of the face to maintain a healthy acid mantle and protect the facial skin from water loss and environmental damage. 

Should You Use a pH Balanced Cleanser?

In short, yes. Everyone should be using a pH balanced cleanser to avoid acne breakouts or dry, flaky skin. 

In fact, long term use of a pH balanced cleanser may slow signs of aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, and crepey skin by maintaining a healthy acid mantle.  

There are many ways you can naturally balance the pH of your skin:

  • Drink plenty of water

For plump, supple skin, you need to be well-hydrated from the inside out. Aim for at least eight glasses of water per day at a minimum. However, your fluid intake to be hydrated will vary on your size, weight, activity level, and the environment where you live. 

  • Exercise regularly

Remember, the acid mantle is made up, in part, by the amino acids found in sweat. Plus, exercise is essential for all your other body systems as well. The American College of Sports Medicine suggest 30-minutes of moderate exercise most days per week. 

  • Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables, especially raw plants, provide the wide range of vitamins and minerals that your skin needs to be its healthiest. 

  • Use a pH balanced cleanser 

Take an inventory of the skincare products that you use. Start with a cleansing face wash that works with your body’s natural pH. For example, a pH balanced cleanser such as Frownies pH Balancing Face Wash is ideal of all skin types – from oily and acne-prone to dry or combination skin types. 

By: Dr. Megan C. Wright, PT, DPT 

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