pH is an important part of the health of your skin. Skin care products must be formulated at the correct pH to ensure that it does not negatively affect skin health. The pH level of CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser will determine whether this cleanser is a good fit for your skin.
What Does pH Mean?
pH means “the power of Hydrogen”. It refers to the acidity or alkalinity of a substance.
It is measured using a scale from numbers 1 – 14.
The lower the number, the more acidic something is. This means that the solution or chemical has a greater number of hydrogen ions.
The higher the number, the more basic or alkaline it is. This means the solution has a lower number of hydrogen ions.
There are a specific set of standard solutions in which we know the pH of and use to determine the pH of other chemicals.
For example, hydrochloric acid would be considered to have a pH of 1. It is extremely acidic and can burn skin upon contact.
On the other end of the spectrum, sodium hydroxide is very basic. It has a pH of 14.
Knowing the pH of certain chemicals can be beneficial as it tells us characteristics about the substance.
This can help determine whether it is safe for use in humans or how different environments affect the normal pH of chemical formulations.
This is especially important in cosmetic and skincare formulations to determine how effective the product will be when applied to the skin.
Choosing The Best Cleanser
Cleansers are an important topic to cover when it comes to pH. These are often branded as harsh and drying.
It is true that cleansing the skin can dry out the skin immensely if you choose the wrong cleanser.
However, it is also true that you can choose a gentle cleanser at the correct pH that will be an optimal cleansing agent that won’t irritate your skin.
All skincare formulations should be researched by the user to determine whether they are a good fit for them.
Product safety and usefulness is incredibly important and should not be overlooked. There are quite a few factors that will affect the efficacy and safety of your cleanser.
Minimal and Effective Ingredients
It is best to search for a cleanser with minimal ingredients.
Preferably, your cleanser contains less than 30 ingredients. A lengthy ingredient list allows for three things to occur.
One, a minimal ingredient list will lessen the chance of your skin becoming irritated to one of the ingredients. The fewer the ingredients, the less likely your skin will have an issue with one of the ingredients.
Two, having a minimal ingredient list can avoid irritating interactions among the ingredient pool. Often, cleansers and other skincare products contain a long list of ingredients that may interact poorly with each other or affect the pH of the solution immensely.
And lastly, long ingredient lists may mean that there are “hidden” ingredients – more room for fragrances, essential oils, harsh preservatives, and irritating dyes. All of these can clog the skin and cause breakouts. They can also weaken the skin barrier and increase overall inflammation in the skin.
Surfactants are an essential component of all cleansers. These are the cleansing agents that work to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from the skin.
While it is important to choose a cleanser with surfactants that actually work, you want to ensure that they are as gentle as possible.
Harsh surfactants can wreak havoc on the skin. They can actually weaken the skin barrier, disrupt the skin’s pH, cause dehydration, and contribute to inflamed skin.
All of these factors can lead to poor skin health. It’s surprising that a cleanser that is only on the skin for a couple of minutes can cause all of these negative reactions to occur overtime. But it’s true – a cleanser only needs a short contact time to either nourish or ruin the skin.
That is why it is incredibly important to choose gentle surfactants with your cleanser of choice. Gentle surfactants include ones like cocamidopropyl betaine.
Low pH cleansers can do wonders for your skin. While the other factors listed above are important as well, thinking about the chemistry of the skin is equally as important.
As touched on earlier, a low pH refers to a solution that is more on the acidic side. Specifically, this means a solution that is below a pH of 7. A pH of 7 can be considered “neutral”, like water.
The skin’s barrier is naturally acidic.
This allows the skin to fight against bacteria and maintain homeostasis.
Therefore, using skincare products that mimic the skin’s pH can be beneficial for the health of your skin.
pH Level of CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser
CeraVe’s Hydrating Cleanser is an incredible cleanser that is gentle on the skin.
Due to its ingredients, it imparts a hydrating effect on the skin. This helps the skin to maintain water and prevent it from drying out.
This helps to reinforce the skin’s barrier. In turn, it helps to reduce inflammation and irritation that is seen with so many other cleansers.
The pH of the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is 5.5.
For reference, the skin’s natural barrier sits at around 4.5 – 6. This makes the CeraVe cleanser an ideal choice as its pH falls within this range.
Is the pH Level in CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser balanced?
As mentioned above, the skin’s pH sits between 4.5 – 6. But what exactly does “pH balanced” mean?
Well, cleansers that have a certain pH need to incorporate pH adjusters to ensure that the pH stays around that specified number.
Otherwise, certain ingredients can change the pH of a product overtime.
Considering the ingredients in the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser, dipotassium phosphate is an ingredient known as a buffer. Buffers work to maintain the pH of water-based solutions.
This is especially important in skincare as it helps to maintain the pH level of this cleanser.
Buffers work by neutralizing hydrogen ions. Buffers themselves can resist changes to pH and instead work to maintain the pH of the solution.
Why Is pH Important in Skincare?
Now that we know that the CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser is at the correct pH and is considered to be pH balanced, let’s look in detail why pH is important in skincare formulations.
The skin is made up of a variety of layers. One layer includes the lipid layer. This contains ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids. They band together to form a lipid barrier that keeps skin cells soft and protected.
Above this layer is the “acid mantle”. This is an acidic layer of skin in the uppermost layer of the skin. It contains a few substances such as fatty acids, sebum, and lactate from sweat glands.
These are naturally acidic components of the skin. Therefore, they form an acidic barrier. This allows the skin to prevent colonization from bacteria.
When this layer is disrupted because of a wound, the acid mantle is compromised and can allow for bacterial colonization.
Therefore, it is extremely important to maintain this acidic layer of skin by using gentle products that mimic this pH.
As mentioned in the Journal of Dermatology, skin conditions that are characterized by inflamed skin have shown to have a disrupted barrier with an abnormally increased pH level.
These skin conditions often come in the form of atopic dermatitis, rosacea and acne. All of these skin conditions have an increased amount of redness, irritation, and inflammation.
Therefore, it is important to maintain the pH of the skin by using properly formulated skincare products.