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Skin Care Terminology
What is pH?
pH stands for potential Hydrogen. It is a measuring system that has been developed to compare strengths of acids and bases (alkaline substances). A scale of 1 to 14 is used to gauge the properties.

Water or the elixir of life is assigned a midway point on the scale with a value of 7. Anything above 7 (e.g 11) is considered basic or alkaline and anything below 7 (e.g 5) is categorized as acidic. The further the pH sways from the neutral point of 7 in either direction, the stronger (and possibly more potentially irritating) the solution or compound becomes.

Hence a compound with a pH of 3 is more acidic than one with a pH of 5; and likewise a base of pH 8 is less irritating than one which possesses a pH of 10.

pH of the skin
Healthy skin is slightly acidic and is protected by the ‘acid mantle'. This is a naturally lubricating mixture of sebum and sweat which forms a protective film on the skin surface. This film protects the skin from bacterial activity.

Sebum is an oily secretion produced by the sebaceous glands, thin ducts adjacent to hair follicles. The main function of sebum is to provide waterproofing to the hair and skin. However both excess and lack of sebum are undesirable conditions. Lack of sebum happens more often in middle-older ages, and leads to skin dryness and accelerates wrinkle formation. An excess of sebum is common in adolescents due to increased levels of sex hormones which stimulate sebum production and is associated with oily skin types and acne. Sebum is slightly acidic and has a pH between 4.2 and 5.6 and composed of triglycerides, fatty acids, wax esters, squalene and cholesterol. Due to it's content of free fatty acids, sebum protects against bacterial and fungal infections.

The Skin's Natural Acid Mantle (pH 5.5)
As the sebum and sweat mix on the skin's surface, they form a protective acidic layer, often referred to as the ‘acid mantle'. This mix is further acidified by secretions from the normal flora (Staphylococcus epidermis) of the skin. The ‘ideal' skin has a particular level of acidity characterized by a pH of between 4.0 and 5.5. Hence the skin can be considered to be mildly acidic compared to the human stomach which has a pH of 1-2.

Under normal conditions (pH 5-5.5) the bacteria not only find it difficult to penetrate the stratum corneum , but the acidity of the skin (pH 5.5) creates a hostile environment for the bacteria to flourish. Thus the skins acid mantle maintains the ecological balance of the skin: the acid environment and specially adapted micro-organisms ward off bacteria. Moreover the pH value assumes an especially permeable arrangement of lipids in the horny layers.

Any disruption to the acid mantle of the skin elevating overall pH, will interfere with the skin's primary function of acting as a protective barrier, thereby wrenching cells away from each other and resulting in dehydration as moisture escapes from the skin cells, roughness, irritation and noticeable flaking of the skin. As cells pull apart, minute cracks and crevices become exposed leaving the skin more vunreable to bacterial invasion. When this happens the skin is left defenseless and susceptible to further environmental damage.

Soaps are often alkaline (pH 9.5-11) and strip away the natural acid mantle layer as well as extracting protective lipids and fats from the skin. Popular clothing detergents have a pH of between 10 and 12 and a single rinse cycle following the wash does little to remove the alkaline residue.

It will take the most resilient skin types at least 2 hours to recuperate from the negative chemical effects of a typical shower (pH 6.6-7.0 typically) and sensitive skins on the other hand can take as long as 36hours to re-establish normal skin pH levels. By then it is usually under another assault and the skin becomes dry, wrinkled and aged.

This is why products that are pH correct are important. By using products with the proper pH, the acid mantle of the skin can be maintained.

Dayenne skin care products are formulated at the correct pH to ensure that they are pure, safe and beneficial as well as keep your skin at optimal pH level that nature intended.

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