The pH in our skin determines how products are going to respond. pH determines the acidity or alkalinity on a scale of 0 to 14. Anything below 7.0 is acidic and anything above 7.0 is alkaline. Therefore, 7.0 is neutral which actually extends from 6.5 to 7.5.
The pH scale is on a logarithmic scale or it is a 10-fold change in pH. For example, if you have a pH of 8, it is 10 times more alkaline than a pH of 7. If there is a change in two numbers than the change is 100 fold. In other words, the pH of 8 is 100 times more alkaline than a pH of 10.
Our skin has an acid mantle of 4.5 to 6.2. This mantle protects our skin from the many assaults it faces everyday. The acid mantle is made up of sweat and sebum (oil) to protect the skin from certain bacteria and microorganisms. If the acid mantle lowers or rises to much, inflammation occurs. That is why it is important to maintain a healthy skin care regime.
The cleansers that we use on our skin are alkaline. They are generally a pH10. This allows the skin to be cleansed and be in a state to receive the cleaning. If you use soap on your face, and nothing else, then your skin is exposed to all the elements. It has no protection. You will then see comedones (blackheads) or milia (whiteheads) on your skin.
A chemical peel actually takes your skin to an acidic level, where you are actually burning the skin to create the skin to sluff. A peel is anywhere from a pH1 to pH3. An esthetician may perform chemical peels from 1.5% to 3% depending upon the state regulations and they work on the epidermis. Dermatologists may go lower because they are working on the dermal layer, the skin below the surface. The peel stimulates the skin cells to accelerate new growth as well as remove the epidermis. That is why your skin looks new and fresh after the sluffing is completed. It literally is new skin. It is extremely important that you wear sun block to prevent damage to the new skin.
When the peeling process is completed, your skin is also more receptive to uptake the products because it is no longer pushing its way through the dead skin cells. Improper cleaning, not using exfoliates and aging all effect how quickly we sluff the dead cells from our skin. Besides chemical peeling, microdermabrasion also removes the dead skin.
It is important to use good cleansers on your skin to bring it into an alkaline state to remove the dirt and impurities. If you have any serums, this is the perfect time to apply them because your skin is in a receptive state to uptake the serum and to have the most benefit. Then, tone your skin to bring the skin back to the acidic level. When you apply the moisturize while your skin is still wet from the toner, you won't need as much and it creates a barrier to protect your skin from the environmental stresses. These steps will help you maintain a youthful appearance and keep your skin glowing.