pH Levels and Why You Should Care
(Acidic) 0 ——————— (Neutral) 7 ——————— (Alkaline) 14
The higher the pH level, the more irritating and stipping a cleanser becomes. But if you have one with a much lower pH level, then your cleanser basically does nothing for you. Our faces rest comfortably at a 5.0, so the idea is to find a cleanser that best matches this slightly more acidic pH level.
As much as I adore TheFaceShop’s Chia Seed line*, their Jeju Volcanic Lava Pore Scrub Foam is one product I would never recommend to anybody. There are a few reasons for this:
- It has a high pH level – I believe somewhere around 8.0!
- It has alcohol in its ingredients, making it even more drying and stripping on your skin. (A face cleanser absolutely does not need alcohol to do its job!)
- It contains tiny beads (seen on the right in the photo above) which can actually cause microscopic tears on your skin, leading to greater issues in the long run, such as irritation and signs of premature aging. (Fun fact: St. Ives received a lawsuit for this very reason regarding their once-beloved Apricot Scrub product.) If you feel it’s absolutely necessary to exfoliate, trust me, there are better and safer ways to do this!* These microbeads found in many face cleansers are not only a potential harm to yourself, but they are also harmful to the environment as they contribute to the ever-growing plastic waste found in the ocean.
- It gives you that “squeaky clean” feeling. In hindsight, this may sound like a good thing, but that “squeaky clean” feeling is actually the result of harsh ingredients and a high pH level.
- Once more for good measure: It is extremely drying and stripping!
Another fun fact: If you’ve been keeping up with my posts, you’ll remember that I ditched my Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Stress Control Power-Cream Wash for many of the reasons listed above – the most predominant reason being its too-high pH level. And now you know why!
You never know the beauty of having an amazing face cleanser until you make the switch. You were probably brought up to believe that the squeaky clean, tight and burning sensations were all “proof” that your face cleanser was working. Now, I hope I’ve shed enough light on this issue to show you that this is definitely not the case at all! All of those sensations you feel is your skin’s own way of telling you, “Stop! I don’t like this on my face!”
Now that I use CosRX’s Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser, I no longer have to worry that I’m stripping my skin of its natural oils and causing premature aging. But there are many reasons why I adore this cleanser:
- It has a pH level of 5.5, perfect for your face’s naturally acidic pH level.
- It contains tea tree oil, which is an ingredient that has been shown to effectively treat acne. (Side note: Never use 100% pure tea tree oil on your face until it is properly and thoroughly diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, otherwise you risk burning your skin!)
- It also contains evening primrose flower extract, which is another ingredient beneficial for those of you with acne-related issues.
- It makes my skin feel clean, but not dried out or tight.
- It is very affordable! ($11 CAD from Chuusi, and $11 USD from Soko Glam.)
*Stay tuned for reviews on my favorite Chia Seed line by TheFaceShop!
*Learn about the different (and better) ways to exfoliate your skin in a future post.