For the cells in our body to function properly, the pH of our bodies is regulated to be at 7.4. pH is a measure of how acid or alkaline a substance or environment is. The pH scale runs from 1 to 14 with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline so our body functions at a level that is slightly alkaline. But is that the pH we want everywhere in our body?
For ideal skin function and health, your outer skin layer or its mantle (coating) should have a pH of 5.5. A pH of 5.5 helps your skin keep in its ever so important lipid and moisture content while keeping out pollutants and toxins. Maintenance of this hydrolipidic layer also helps to prevent the overproduction of acne causing sebum. High quality skin care toners are part of a daily at-home skin care routine because they help to re-balance the pH of your skin to 5.5. Your skin gets alkaline when it comes in contact with water causing dehydration and makes you more acne prone. A high quality toner will prevent that from happening. A 2013 study in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology concluded that wrinkle formation and wrinkle length and depth were significantly decreased as skin pH was balanced in the acidic range.
What about the pH in your body? 60% of our adult body is made up of water so needless to say, the water we put in our bodies is important. Alkaline ionized water or “healthy water” has been used in Japan since the 1930’s and has been touted to have health benefits on the GI tract, the brain and nervous system, on liver, kidney and lung health as well as having antioxidant and anti-tumor effects. It was not until 2007 that Dr. Ohta established that it is the hydrogen molecule dissolved in water at a pH between 8-9 that gives the water its therapeutic effect. Since that time, several researchers have confirmed the health benefits of the molecular hydrogen in alkaline ionized water.
You will read that measuring your internal pH can be done simply by using a pH strip purchased at your local drugstore and placing it in your saliva. This is likely not a true measure of internal pH as a healthy body has several mechanisms that will always regulate your pH between 7.35 and 7.45. Although not a true measure of your internal pH, the alkaline pH of your saliva is necessary to protect your teeth against cavities. Your alkaline salivary pH buffers and neutralizes cavity producing acids in the mouth and alkaline ionized water may have a beneficial effect here as well.
Dr. James Wu
Clinical Director, Solace Wellness Center & MedSpa