No doubt about it, skincare has become more and more advanced and sophisticated. We covet our Treatments and MasksExfoliatorsHydrators and Vitamin Serums. Yet, one of the most crucial steps in our daily routine is all too often neglected and underappreciated. Cleansing. We either just go through the motions. Splash face. Slather on. Splash off. Done. Next. Or worse, skip it totally in an effort to save time. Not so fast!

Skincare Alert: Proper cleansing may be your skincare MVP – the Most Valuable Pillar of your twice daily routine.

It goes without saying that cleansing is just good skincare hygiene. It removes makeup, dirt, dead skin cells, sweat, excess oil and pollutants that can wreak havoc on skin’s health and vibrant appearance. If not cleansed off, this unwanted residue can suffocate skin – leading to nasty breakouts, enlarged pores, skin ageing, dehydration, inflammation and a dull, uneven skin tone.

But what you may not know, is that proper cleansing is crucial to the rest of your skincare routine. Using the right cleanser restores the skin to the correct pH and clears out your pore pathways; creating the space and environment for the rest of your skincare’s potent ingredients to penetrate. Simply put, if you skin isn’t properly cleansed, all those powerhouse skincare products and active ingredients you’ve invested in won’t do much. In fact, they can wind up sitting on skin’s surface, contributing to the lingering layer of gunk. Potentially doing more harm than good.

But before you reach for the heavy-duty cleansers and foamy lathers in search of that squeaky-clean feeling, know this; there is must-do – and then there is over-do. Aggressive scrubbing is not – we repeat NOT – the answer.

What exactly is proper cleansing?

Proper cleansing is a balancing act. A pH balancing act, that is. Without getting too geeky, pH stands for “power of hydrogen.” As you may remember from chemistry class, the pH scale goes from 1 to 14. Anything below 7 is acidic. Above 7 is alkaline.

Healthy skin is naturally acidic — with an average of 5.5. Your “acid mantle” supports skin’s barrier function that prevents infections, seals in moisture, and keeps skin firm and resilient. When balanced at this level, skin hums along – functioning in an optimal state of equilibrium.

Conversely, disrupting pH from that magic number can easily upset the acid mantle throwing off the skin’s ecosystem and messing with the natural micro-flora that boosts our skin’s immune system. The stage is set for harmful bacteria to grow, creating a cascade of inflammatory events – dryness, tightness, flakiness, redness, lines and wrinkles, acne and eczema.

Many factors can interfere with the integrity of skin’s acid mantle. Internal. And external. Everything that comes in contact with our skin from hard tap water to products, to sun and pollution can upset it. Add to that diet, climate, stress – even age. With each passing year, the amount of oil or sebum naturally produced by our skin decreases, influencing the acid mantle’s protective ability.

But perhaps the most notorious culprits for disrupting this pH balance are rich, foaming cleansers. Their heavy, overly alkaline surfactant bases run between a pH of 9 and 14 – a killer on your skin’s balance. They strip away natural oils vital to maintaining skin’s barrier. Once disrupted, it can take as long as 6 hours for it repair itself. That’s 6 hours that your skin is left more vulnerable to environmental stressors, bacteria, and other aggressors.

While cleansers can be the biggest offenders when it comes to throwing pH out of whack, they’re also the easiest way to restore your pH. That’s why at Alpha-H our mission is to ensure that our products – especially cleansers – respect the skin’s natural pH.

Discover the first phase of our 3 Pillars of Skin Health: Activate

Our gentle, non-foaming cleaners are perfectly formulated to whisk away dirt and debris, respecting the skin’s correct pH which allows potent treatment ingredients to work harder and act faster. Without irritation.

For more information on our 3-Step Approach, see here.