Products compatible with each other's pH, and yours
Across all Geologie products we use ingredients that are as compatible with each other as they are with your skin's natural chemistry. We did this for two main reasons: (1) so that you can avoid the irritation often caused by using a mix-and-match of random products, and (2) so that the products are pH-balanced and gentle enough to use everyday.
Consumers often unknowingly use products that undo the work of other products, or else that solve one problem at the expense of creating another. The beauty and skincare industries profit greatly from this, bringing to market products intended to solve problems caused by the use of other products, perpetuating the cycle.
Even the savviest of skincare nerds may unknowingly use a cleanser that is over-stripping, then reach for a thick lotion to moisturize their tight and over-dried skin. In doing so, this consumer means to make the best decision for their skin, but forgets to consider the true nature of the products. For example, that thicker moisturizer may feel immediately hydrating, but is likely pore-clogging and impregnated with irritating synthetic fragrances. This consumer meant to effectively clean their skin and replace lost moisture. But in reality they are stripping their skin of its natural oils and moisture, then adding a bunch of irritating and sensitizing ingredients to the broken and vulnerable skin. To combat redness and irritation that likely later results, they reach for a plethora of other band-aid solutions—often toners, face masks, exfoliation scrubs, or harsh over-the-counter anti-acne products.
In this case, the cleanser effectively cleaned the skin of surface oils and grime, but left it unnecessarily vulnerable to foreign irritants. The moisturizer delivered skin hydration, but brought along with it pore-clogging emollients and irritating fragrances. Both products did as marketed—cleaned and moisturized, respectively—but to the ultimate expense of the consumer’s skin and wallet.
Most of these products are marketed to solve a single skin problem, but are rarely used effectively against the underlying cause. This marketing makes sense: why offer only four basic products when you can convince consumers that 8, 12, even 20 products are needed to make a “complete” routine?
So how do you stop this vicious cycle? It’s pretty simple: use products that are meant to work with each other and with your skin, not against each other and certainly not against your skin. Products may be designed to work together using a number of formulation strategies. For now, let’s focus in on the importance of balanced pH.
Why does pH matter so much?
Your skin is delicate and very fickle; it’s under constant stress to maintain healthy cells while pushing off dead cells. Well-coordinated that the skin cycle is, it’s very vulnerable. One of the skin’s major defenses against outside irritants or disruptors of this balance is in maintaining a slightly acidic pH, usually around 4.5-5.5. The acidic microbiome kills foreign enzymes and bacteria while promoting the synthesis and activity of macromolecules and cell structures crucial to skin health. To put it another way, lots of the components of healthy skin are designed to thrive at this lower pH, while most foreign material is degraded or inactivated in such conditions. While layers of skin cells work to physical protect your body from outside contaminants, the acidic pH of the skin mantle works to chemically safeguard your skin by killing lots of the foreign stuff that comes in contact with your skin before it can permeate to the bloodstream.
Let’s put that a simpler way: The acid mantle is a healthy mix of sebum and sweat that forms a thin film on the surface of your skin, serving as a protective barrier against acne-inducing bacteria and scary viruses. The acidity kills (or neutralizes, ha!) bacterium that would’ve otherwise thrived on your sweat and yummy nutrients. Bonus! Any bacteria strains that eventually learn to adapt to the acidic environment enough to pass unscaved through the dermis can’t survive the slightly basic environment of your blood. Maintaining a proper skin pH also helps with the uptake of salts, water, and moisturization factors into your skin. Pretty smart of the skin, right?
To oversimplify a complex dermatological matter, the health of your skin (and thus its appearance) relies a great deal upon the health of the skin’s microbiome and in maintaining a healthy pH equilibrium. Your skincare products should work to support this delicate balance everyday.
How can skincare disrupt your skin’s pH?
Lots of things can work against your skin pH, compromising your skin’s mechanisms for keeping itself healthy and hydrated. Even water can wreak havoc to your skin. If the water you use to wash your face is too hot it may slightly melt your skin’s protective oils and waxes such that healthy skin cells are stripped away. Water is also slightly basic compared to your skin’s pH. When used alone, water can temporarily and locally increase skin pH, inhibiting the action of your skin’s delicately balanced microbiome. In other words, using water alone to “wash” your face decreases your skin’s natural ability to defend itself, potentially compromising your skin’s long-term health. That’s why rinsing your skin is not enough, and may even be detrimental in the long run.
Incompatible skincare products can alter your skin’s microbiome pH and make it vulnerable to irritation in the same way. When building your own routine it’s easy enough to select products with differing or inappropriate pHs. Some cleansers and creams may be alkaline (slightly basic), while others are more acidic. Even within the same brand products marketed as a pair can have wildly different pHs.
Face wash and lotion are often incompatible. For example, apply a lotion quickly after washing your face and the alkaline moisturizer may mitigate the effect of skin-active acids, like salicylic acid. Or, the acids active on the skin surface during and immediately after the use of the cleanser may alter the restorative effects of the lotion. The anti-acne acids so effective in the cleanser may inhibit the action of other skin-active ingredients present in the moisturizer, or vice versa.
How does skin pH relate to building a skincare regimen?
Your skin is durable enough, but repeatedly upsetting the delicate pH balance with mismatched products may cause over-drying, itchiness, and redness. Skincare is confusing enough as is. Stop confusing your skin with mismatched products!
At Geologie, we formulated with several strategies in mind to ensure products work well with each other and with your skin. One such strategy was paying close attention to the ideal pH of individual ingredients, and of final products. We wanted a face wash that works with your skin’s slightly acidic surface and moisturizers that provide hydration and anti-aging agents without containing potential irritants. To this end, we used slightly-acidic Aloe Vera Leaf Juice in place of some of the water content in our products. We also used moisturizing ingredients that lower the irritation potential and higher pH of the surfactants, without compromising their cleaning ability. Across the board, we made sure there are no ingredients that actively compromise your skin’s pH.
We don’t just make any old face wash and creams, we make products that work together, and for you.