Lackluster hair, dandruff, acne and oily skin are all common beauty problems that may be alleviated with some knowledge of basic chemistry. The pH factor describes the amount of hydrogen in any given substance, from acidic to alkaline. The factors used to describe pH range from 0 to 14, with 0 indicating an acidic substance, 14 an alkaline substance and 7 considered neutral. The pH balance of human skin and hair is between 4.5 and 5.5. In order to balance the skin and hair, find beauty products that maintain a pH balance that is close to your own.
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Avoid shampoos, soaps and facial cleansers that have a high pH factor, which may be listed on the packaging. Many cleansing products — especially bargain products — have a pH factor of more than 8. This is much more alkaline than the skin and can strip the skin of its natural acid mantle. The acid mantle is a thin layer of slightly acidic oils that protect the skin from bacteria and toxins. Alkaline products that strip skin of its acid mantle may leave you with a "squeaky clean" feeling but may actually contribute to further skin disturbances such as acne and dandruff.
Test your shampoos using litmus paper if the pH factor is not expressed on the packaging. If you aren't sure of the pH factor of your soap and shampoo, buy litmus paper at a drug store. Litmus paper tests the pH of any given substance and turns different colors in the presence of acids or bases. If your soap or shampoo tests at more than 5.5, either trade it for a natural, organic cleanser closer to your body's own pH or use a neutralizing rinse after shampooing to counteract the effects of an alkaline cleanser.
Rinse your scalp and body with a slightly acidic apple cider vinegar rinse after shampooing or washing your skin. Mix 1/2 cup of organic apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of warm water. After shampooing, pour the apple cider vinegar mix over your hair and do not rinse. Style as usual. According to the book "Dr. Earl Mindell's Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar," this apple cider vinegar rinse will brighten your hair and improve the health of your scalp.