Dr. Preeti Savadekar, a leading dermatologist explains all about the skin vocabulary and shares simple yet necessary steps to achieve healthy skin.
Understanding the importance of pH balance
pH value denotes how alkaline or acidic a substance is – pH scale has value 0 -14, any value between greater than 0 and less than 7 is acidic, 7 being neutral (water) and value between 7 -14 is alkaline.
Acid mantle which acts as the protective barrier of skin is slightly acidic with a pH around 5.5. At pH 5.5, skin remains healthy, there is minimum moisture loss, growth of bad bacteria is minimum, also helps in maintaining optimal level of skin and scalp friendly bacteria and supports the natural defense against environmental factors accelerating skin ageing. pH of healthy hair is also in the range around 5.5. That’s why at pH 5.5, the skin remains healthy, glowing and hydrated. At pH 5.5 the hair remains hydrated, silky and lustrous.The natural defense of the scalp against dryness, irritation and dandruff formation is supported at pH 5.5.
How to understand whether your skin is sensitive ?
Most effective way to find out whether your skin is sensitive is by paying close attention to your skin’s reaction. Most common symptoms you will notice are
1. Your skin is reactive
If you have sensitive skin, you probably notice that soaps, detergents, fragrances, perfumes, skincare products, color cosmetics and household products may cause your skin to react whether it may be dryness, itching, rashes appear or redness. In addition, exposure to sun, and wind can trigger flares ups.
2. Your skin is dry
Dry skin and sensitive skin can go hand-in-hand. It can lead to acne breakouts and cracked skin.
3. You develop rashes often
Sensitive skin may react with a red, dry, flaky, or bumpy rash when exposed to a trigger. This is especially true for products that are left on your skin, such as facial creams. You may develop a rash very quickly after contact.
4. You’re prone to breakouts
If you have sensitive skin, you may develop breakouts that look like acne with red bumps .
What suits best for Indian skin?
In India, humidity, dust, dirt, pollution clogs your pores, intense UV rays damages skin leading to pigmentation and accelerates skin ageing. Furthermore if you have a dry skin, combination or acne prone skin, your skin is more sensitive and will get more effected by these external factors . When you have blemishes, acne, dryness, redness etc – your external protective barrier of skin is damaged and is no longer in the healthy range of around pH 5.5
Hence it is important that you understand the importance of ensuring the healthy pH level for your skin which is 5.5
The right way to achieve a healthy skin and hair
A healthy skin not just a dream but can be achieved if one follows a proper routine that’s best suited for his/her skin type. Depending on the skin type and lifestyle, the routine needs to be crafted that compliments one’s day-to-day schedule. Out of all the things to keep in mind, the most important is to use a Paraben and Phthalate free cleansing bar and moisturizer with a pH of 5.5. This skincare routine can further be enhanced by using a Multiprotectant sunscreen, lip defense balm and lifting eye cream to get protection from external irritants. Use a gentle shampoo with pH 5.5 and free from irritants that will cleanse and protect your scalp and hair.
When you use soap or shampoo to wash your skin or hair, the pH is critical because as alkaline soap will impair the skin’s natural defense mechanisms against dryness, irritation and infections, especially in sensitive or stressed skin which is common in India’s harsh climatic conditions. For the hair the pH of a shampoo affects the hair structure But if the pH level is neutral or more so alkaline, it increases the risk for skin and hair problems. Over a period of time you may notice that your skin has become dry, inflamed and blotchy and in the long run this can lead to accelerated skin ageing. The pH of the skin and hair cleansing products should be slightly acidic – same as adjusted to that of that of healthy skin and hair to ensure cleansing without damaging the skin, ensuring skin’s protective layer is intact.
Complementing your beauty routine with a balanced diet
The food one consumes also affects the skin in numerous ways. To maintain healthy skin, it is important to alter some changes in your diet that compliment your skin-care routine. For starters, include a lot of green leafy vegetables, as they contain Vitamin K and folate, which helps in reducing acne and increases the healing process on the skin. Secondly, snack on fresh fruits and nuts instead of opting for unhealthy snacks. Fruits like berries, oranges, bananas are good for your health and skin, as they act as antioxidants that help in flushing out the unwanted toxins from the body. Furthermore, adding foods like carrots, almonds, sunflower seeds, peanuts are high in vitamins A, C, and E, which helps keep the skin fresh and healthy. Last but not the least, ensure you drink at least 2-3 liters of water daily as it helps improve your skin, keeps it hydrated, and gives a radiant glow.