Beauty 101: Cleanser and pH
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If you frequent Reddit Asian Beauty like yours truly, or a devout user of Korean skincare routine (that 10 steps shizz), you probably have already known that great cleansers are the one with low pH.
The vast majority of cleansers are high in pH (pH above 6 is considered high), and they will give you the squeaky clean feeling. In fact, if you feel your skin tightened and dry after cleansing your face, there’s a high chance that you’re using an alkaline cleanser.
So what’s wrong with high pH cleanser? The alkaline cleanser will strip your natural face oil as well as disrupt the natural protective moisture barrier and the good skin flora (microbiota – those tiny bacteria and fungus that helps your skin to be healthy) leading to that tightening and drying feeling. Without the skin natural protective barrier, the skin could not protect itself from the UV rays, free radicals and moisture loss.
This is why lower pH cleanser are so much better on the skin. The skin functions in naturally acidic environment (but not too acidic, the skin acidic mantle is around pH4 to 7). It’s generally milder and hydrating as it does not strip the natural oil on the skin. In fact, the skin absorbs AHA, BHA and Vitamin C treatment better when it’s in acidic environment.
Still need to use high pH cleanser for whatever reason? Make sure the cleanser have glycerine to hydrate the skin and use it only in the evening. Follow up with a pH balancing toner (I love Innisfree Green Tea Balancing Skin with pH 4-5) to help your skin recalibrate, as well as moisturizer to rehydrate your skin.
If you’re changing to a lower pH cleanser, these are my favorites:
- - FRESH Soy Face Cleanser: It has a refreshing smell and takes off makeup well. It is also very mild on the skin. RM55-RM155 at Sephora
- - COSRx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser: It has tea tree oil that helps with blemishes. RM39-RM44 at Hermo
- - Innisfree Anti Trouble Bija Cleansing Gel: Another favorite with healing properties and smell super fresh. RM32 at Hermo or Innisfree stores.