I’ve talked about my unexpected transition from reasonably problem-free to annoying skin. Turns out, what I’ve experienced isn’t uncommon; skin changes are fairly routine in one’s mid-twenties. Curious? Do a google search for adult onset acne and you’ll be given a wealth of results.
It’s frustrating, but I feel for the first time in a while that I’ve got the upper hand on it. It’s fairly controlled. I still get an uncomfortable cystic blemish (hard to deal with!) or errant, hard plug in a pore (easy to deal with) from time-to-time, but my skin isn’t having a panic attack.
Since I last shared my Arsenal in June 2016, I’ve made one major change – switching my cleanser to one with better-suited pH.
Micellar water is still my main squeeze for makeup removal and light cleansing (like in the morning after a good cleanse the night before). I interchangeably use Garnier’s Skinactive Micellar Cleansing Water and Simple’s Micellar Cleansing Water with no discernible difference in my skin.
I’ve switched back to CeraVe Foaming Cleanser ($13), which is priced similarly to Cetaphil. I tried it briefly a couple years ago and ultimately dismissed it. This time around, I’m surprised to find that I’m liking it. Although it has the same pH as Philosophy’s Purity ($24, 80z) cleanser, my skin seems to prefer it. Considering the price difference between the two, I’ll take it!
Cetaphil may well be gentle, but its pH is slightly higher than the pH of skin (between 4.5 and 6.2). At 6.5-6.7, which of course changes with the pH of your water, it is already close to neutral. In the long run, skin responds better to an acidic cleanser; it helps preserve the integrity of the skin’s acid mantle. Maintaining your acid mantle is important; in short, it’s your body’s first defense against bacteria and other contaminants that could be introduced to your body via your skin.
Inadvertently, I may have been compromising my acid mantle by using a nearly-neutral cleanser. My water tends to run somewhat alkaline, and since I rent, I can’t install any systems to correct for that. Since I’ve made the change to CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser in early December, my skin has stabilized.
I may eventually find that something more acidic than 5.5 is better for my needs, but I’m satisfied with my new normal for now.