Debunking the myth of pH balance in your skincare products
The pH scale is used to test the acidity and alkalinity of aqueous solutions. pH means potential of hydrogen (pH scale of 1-14 measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance – most acidic being 1 and most alkali being 14, with 7 as neutral pH).
The outermost layer of our skin, the stratum corneum is slightly acidic because of sweat and salt deposits. The acidic mantle on our outermost layer of skin helps to fight off bacteria, germs and acts as our skin’s natural immunity.
Some commercial skincare products market themselves as pH balanced or achieving a pH level closest to our skin at ph. It’s utter nonsense! pH is defined as the negative logarithm of the hydrogen ion activity in a solution. Trying to measure the pH of a solid is like trying to measure the length of a liquid. It simply is not measurable and need not be measured.
Truth is: It does not matter how much companies claim their shower gel/cream pH level to be closest to the acclaimed skin’s pH at 5.5. During shower it mixes with water that contains chlorine and various minerals, depending on how hard your water or clean or contaminated is, its pH will hardly be the same pH it started off in the bottle! (again water content is different in different countries. You can have well water, river water, hot spring water etc and pH levels will differ in different contexts.)
It is also a scientifically known fact, that dilution with water will always affect the pH. Simply put, it will make an acidic solution less acidic and an alkali solution less alkali. The pH of an acid will go towards pH 7 (pH 7 is pH of neutral pure water) and pH of an alkali will also go toward pH7.
Furthermore, our skin naturally goes back to its acidic state 15 minutes after you shower. The pH of skin care products will not change the natural pH of skin secretions. Skin secretions will always be acidic.
What's the Big Deal about pH balanced cleansers?
So what's all these nonsense about pH balanced cleansers?
With the return to natural and organic products, after a major health crisis amongst Americans, commercial companies in an effort to combat the exploding natural handmade soap market, make the claims that soaps which are alkali are bad for skin. A real marketing war has ensued with the claim that “pH balanced” cleansers are better for you. With all these claims and marketing gimmicks, companies are doing all they can to boost their sales and profits.
It is not about pH levels, it is about the ingredients - what allergens and harsh/harmful chemicals there are in the cleanser that you need to educate yourself about! So asking what pH level is the product is probably the wrong question to ask and with that you will not get the right answers. Something can be pH 5.5 but that does not mean it is good for your skin!
Let me give you an example: I can mix a highly acidic corrosive substance eg. like battery acid (pH 1) with a base/alkali eg. Ammonia (pH 11) and try to balance it to achieve a pH of 5.5 (slightly acidic on pH scale), but I don't think you will want to bathe in that end solution! :)So it really is not about pH levels. It really is about what the mass-produced cheap synthetic chemicals that are in the cleansers/soaps that can damage your skin and potentially harm your health!
So now, why would anyone trade off a naturally handmade soap with a pH balanced soap/cleanser that is loaded with harmful chemicals like Parabens that can potentially disrupt your hormonal system or other allergens or sulphates that your skin can be sensitive to and which are drying for the skin!
The Soap Haven Highly Moisturising Soap Bars
At The Soap Haven, we have a range of GMO-free organic, vegan soap bars and goat milk soap bars. Our GMO-free goat milk bars contain as much as 25% fresh goat milk in a bar (no commercial cleanser will give you that much and our goat milk is not powdered stuff too!). There are many benefits of goat milk in a soap bar.
We have had so much feedback and many reviews from our customers who have switched from their chemical cleansers to our soaps and their skin feels softer, more supple and moisturized!
Many of our customers with eczema who after years of using chemical cleansers, switch and start using our best selling Goat Milk Oatmeal Honey (GMOH), Organic Shea Oatmeal Honey (OSOH) and Himalayan Salt Soap (HSS) tell us how it has helped control their eczema and prevent flare-ups!
LET YOUR SKIN BE THE TRUE JUDGE! That's what our skins are for. They feel. You don't need to; your body keeps track of and balances pH on its own. You'll just be obsessed about it and it will probably do more harm than good trying to 'fix' it constantly. Yup, don't worry about that, it's your body's job!
Not All Handmade Soaps Are Made Equal
Soap-making is an art, and it is also a science. One handmade soap can highly differ from one soap that is made by another. In the same way 2 persons with the same recipe will always end off with 2 completely different plates of food, not just in looks but also in the taste and flavor!
There is harsh commercial soap and there is real proper handmade soap which is gentle and mild for our skins. A proper handmade soap made with sodium hydroxide (NaOH) or Potassium Hydroxide (KOH) or lye (common term for NaOH) which has the alkalinity pH of 12-14, does not have any sodium hydroxide/lye left after the fatty oils is mixed and allowed to react fully, hence forming a good gentle soap bar. It no longer is lye heavy as all the lye is used up in the process called saponification. The ones to avoid are commercial soap bars which can sometimes be lye heavy as the excess lye is allowed to preserve the bar for a longer time. So if you intend to make your own handmade soap, it is important that you know how to do it right too, so that it is not too alkali in its pH.
There is also no such thing as a soap not made with lye. All real soap has to be made with sodium hydroxide/lye for the oils to be saponified. By the time the oils react with the lye, and is cured, there is no lye/sodium hyrdoxide left in the soap bar. Good handmade soaps like ours are super-fatted with more oils to ensure there is no remaining lye, and the excess oils act as emollients in the soap which moisturise the skin.
That is why our truly premium quality soaps made with premium ingredients come at a higher price than commercial "soap-free" cleansers or soap bars made with cheaper, low quality ingredients.
Now you know, pH is really not the problem!