Do You Need to Use a pH Balanced Soap? Here’s What We Think.

What is Ph?

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According to the U.S Geological Survey, “pH is a measure of how acidic/basic [alkaline] water is. The range goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. pHs of less than 7 indicate acidity, whereas a pH of greater than 7 indicates a base. The pH of water is a very important measurement concerning water quality.” 

This means that everything with an aqueous solution has a pH that can range from 0 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline). For example, baking soda is 9 on the pH scale, making it more alkaline. Tomato juice is a 4, putting it on the more acidic side. 

What is pH Balanced Soap?

pH balanced soap is soap made with ingredients to bring its pH to the same level as skin’s natural pH (which isn’t as neutral as you might expect). However, before talking about the pH of your skin there is an important distinction we have to make which includes the term acid mantle.

Acid Mantle

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Your skin doesn’t actually have a pH, but a thin, protective layer on the surface of your skin does. This is called the acid mantle. The acid mantle is a combination of sweat and sebum that accumulates on the surface of your skin and its main purpose is to prevent bacteria from penetrating the skin.

pH of Your Skin

As you may have guessed from the “acid” part of the term “acid mantle,” the pH of skin is slightly acidic. A study published in the National Library of Medicine estimated that the average pH of natural skin is typically below five.

The Importance of pH Balanced Skin

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Your skin’s pH is naturally balanced for a reason. Has overuse or even standard use of a product given you either crazy acne or extremely dry skin? It could be the result of unbalanced pH.

In response to this problem, many companies have produced “pH balanced products” with the promise of a gentle and effective cleanse, but soaps with a balanced pH may come at a cost.

In order to create a soap that is pH balanced, large companies may use synthetic chemicals to achieve this balance. However, these chemicals come with a number of potential risks. Methylisothiazolinone is one chemical widely used in commercial soaps, including those marketed as pH balanced. on EWG’s Skin Deep, Methylisothiazolinone is shown to have high allergy and immunotoxicity risks.

We’re Skeptical of the Need for pH Balanced Soap and Here’s Why:

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Remember how we defined pH at the beginning of this blog? If you recall, pH’s sole job is to define the basic or acidic quality of water. This implies that the pH of water varies.

This means that every time you swim, shower, bathe, or even wash your hands you potentially increase or decrease your skin’s pH. If you want pH balanced skin all of the time you might as well stop washing, but that doesn’t sound very appealing, does it?

The thing is, your skin is resilient. Our bodies are made to heal and that means that your skin will quickly rebalance itself unless there is an underlying condition that prevents it from doing so. With this being said, we believe that soap fortified with natural ingredients to bolster your hair and skin is much more beneficial than any pH balancing soap on the market (one of the many reasons why we make natural soap.) 

Can Natural Soap Be pH balanced?

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The short answer is no. Some soap makers will say that they have achieved a pH balanced in their natural soap, but in order to bring a natural soap down from it’s usual 7.5 – 10 pH, an acidic of some type needs to be added. When soap becomes acidic (below a pH of 7) it ceases to be soap and instead transforms into free fatty acids. In other words, by adding enough acid to your soap to balance it’s pH, it can cause the soap to loose its ability to act as soap, instead you have soft mushy goop which isn’t soap. However, as previously mentioned, soap can achieve an acidic pH with the use of added synthetics, but Apple Valley Natural Soap has chosen not to go that route due to the potential risks. According to Marianne, the woman behind our fantastic soap, “To naturally lower the pH of cold processed soap, we have to allow for more free oils within our soap. This is done by either adding an acid to the soap which will “eat” up some of the lye so it is not used to saponify all the oils, or we adjust our lye content to allow for our bar to have a higher superfat which gives the bar more free oils floating around while still remaining as soap. At Apple Valley Natural Soap our soap bars vary in pH due to the natural additives and oils used. But in order to make sure the pH of our bars is as low as possible, we superfat each and every one while also allowing them to cure for 6-8 weeks, as this has also been seen to lower the pH slightly.”

Additionally, Marianne recommends the use of our herbal hair rinse or citric acid rinse following the use a shampoo bar as it will help restore natural pH to both skin and hair. Find out further benefits of an acidic hair rinse Here.

Natural Soap for Healthy Skin

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The natural ingredients we use in our products work to soften, clean, brighten, strengthen, restore and nurture your skin and hair…without the help of synthetic chemicals. Because we use natural ingredients, they carry with them many of the vitamins your skin needs to be healthy and happy. According to a medically reviewed article in Healthline, “Vitamin E is a nutrient your body needs to support your immune system and help your cells to regenerate. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make getting enough essential to your everyday health.” Vitamin E can be found in many foods you eat (like avocado and mango), and it has also been shown to benefit the skin and hair via topical application. Our Rhassoul & Avocado Shampoo and Mango Citrus Shampoo bars are some of our soaps packed with vitamin E benefits.

We hope we’ve helped you gain a better understanding of pH and how it affects your skin!

Much Love,