What is pH Balance and Why it’s a Must While Washing your Private Parts
It’s an open secret that when men bathe, they double down on cleaning their crotch and underarms. Those parts of our bodies have a tendency to smell and it’s only natural that our first instinct is to scrub away. Some extra soap and friction should do the job and have you clean and comfortable for the rest of the day, right? Wrong. In fact, a regular soap may even be the reason why you’re facing irritation and inflammation in the first place.
What is pH?
Hard to believe? It’s a simple science. It’s all about pH or ‘potential hydrogen’. The pH level of a substance refers to its acid-basic ratio. The pH level of a substance is measured on a scale of 1 – 14. A lower number of available hydrogen atoms means a substance is more basic/alkaline and higher than 7 on the pH scale. Likewise, a higher number of available hydrogen atoms means a substance is more acidic and lower than 7 on the pH scale. 7 is therefore a neutral pH level but it shouldn’t be confused for being what we refer to as “pH balanced”.
Our bodies have a specific pH level and no, it isn’t 7. In fact, our skin is actually slightly acidic; a mechanism which enables it to fight off harmful bacteria. The pH level for skin is therefore somewhere between 5.5 – 7. However, even this can change from region to region on our bodies depending on various factors like exposure to the sun, humidity, pollution, rain, acne, sebum and even the water we shower in. That’s why the pH level of your private parts and the pH level of your face and hands is different.
Your groin hardly ever sees the light of day and is usually a moist and warm environment. The skin in your groin has a lower pH level of between 5 – 5.5. Being more acidic, the skin in your private parts is better equipped to naturally fight any bacteria or fungus that thrive moist and warm environments. That’s right, our skin (more specifically the ‘acid mantle’) fights the good fight down there on a daily basis and so we want the conditions to be perfect for it to do its job. Our skin is our first, natural line of defence! That’s why pH balance becomes so important. Maintaining the pH balance of your penis and groin helps your body do its job fighting off bacteria, fungus and all the sources of itching, irritation, inflammation and odour, naturally. So why is it – and it had to be said – that your penis’ health literally hangs in the balance? In a few words, the things your penis comes in contact with the most; whether during your grooming routine, during sports and fitness or sex, have their own pH levels. We’ll get into the details below.
Soaps and Body Washes
Soaps used to get the job done. You could use it on your body, your hands, your face, your crotch, your armpits and you wouldn’t question it until you found a stray hair on it. Whose is that? Gross. Then came specialized soaps, and then crafted ayurvedic soaps and then those marketed as dermatologically advanced. Studies conducted and published in Indian dermatological research journals have shown that a majority of soaps, including ayurvedic and dermatological soaps, have an extremely high pH level ranging between 9 and 10. Such soaps would upset the pH balance in your private parts, and higher pH levels in your groin are associated with irritation, dryness, redness and inflammation. The high level of alkalinity works against your skin’s naturally acidic nature and reduces its ability to fight off harmful bacteria. So, when you feel like you smell or itch a little more than usual, using more soap, more vigorously may end up doing more damage than good. Its what leaves you itching and scratching your day away when you could be out there living your best life, your itch-free, stench-exempt life. That’s why it’s necessary that you use a gentle formulation that’s designed to keep your groin’s pH balanced and its skin functioning at optimal levels.
A big cause of many of our skin and hair related problems in India comes from the water we shower in. You may have heard of ‘hard water’ and water softeners before. Whether water is ‘hard’ is judged by its level on the pH scale and if its pH level is above 8.5, then it is considered hard water. Bicarbonate salts of calcium and magnesium in the water, especially from borewells, causes the pH level to rise and become characterized as ‘hard’. Bathing or showering in hard water, can cause an imbalance in the pH of the skin in your groin which is at a far lower pH level, causing dryness, redness, itching and odour.
Sports and Fitness
When we’re in the gym or on the pitch we judge our hard work by the amount we’ve sweat. You finish your gym session and take a picture of your ‘swole’ self and your t-shirt is drenched. “Yeah, that’s going to get the crowd going”, you tell yourself. Although sweat may make for great, glistening visuals, the only place a crowd is going after a whiff of that gym-juice, is far away. To make matters worse, we’ve not even brought up the science behind the sweat in your jock.
Our bodies sweat differently in different areas. This is because different areas on our bodies actually secrete sweat from different glands. We’ve two types of sweat glands. Eccrine glands and apocrine glands. Whereas eccrine glands cover most of the body, apocrine glands are present in areas which have a denser concentration of hair follicles like your scalp, your armpits, and of course, you’re Indian; so your hairy ass and groin. Eccrine glands release a watery type of sweat when you’re working out or playing, and that’s your body’s natural mechanism to cool itself off. Apocrine glands on the other hand secrete sweat which has a milkier texture. Although its odourless, when sweat from the apocrine glands comes in contact with foreign bacteria on your skin, it becomes especially smelly. Exercise and the extra friction caused between your legs combined with tighter, supportive underwear you (should) wear while working out, turns your groin into a furnace, and so you end up sweating heavily. Sweat is generally acidic and has a pH level of around 4 – 6.3 and when it combines with dirt and bacteria that collects during your work out, it leads to the foul odour we all complain of. Raised pH levels will hamper your body’s mechanisms to deal with bacteria and fungus. Maintaining the specific pH balance of our groin areas will help neutralize the smell and the harmful bacteria that causes it!
Your work life and daily commute contributes to changes in your groin’s pH balance as well. During the hustle and bustle of your daily commute your private parts end up dealing with the heat of exertion and also things like air pollution and humidity. Moreover, there’s all that stress you’ve to deal with too. Guess what? Stress triggers our apocrine glands. That’s why you have to deal with sweaty armpits and swamp jock even when you’re having a tough day at work. Again, these glands produce sweat which is smellier than normal sweat. It’s also got a much higher pH level than eccrine sweat and at sometimes even edges past neutral border of 7. So, whereas eccrine sweat has a pH level between 4 – 6.8, apocrine sweat pH levels range between 6 – 7.5. In these conditions, your skin is bound to have a tough time fighting off odours and infections, so again, the first and best thing to do would be to work to restore the normal pH balance of your skin in your groin.
Sex can create an imbalance of pH in your groin as well. As explained earlier, men’s groins have their own pH levels which differ from the rest of the body and the same goes with women. Vaginas have a pH level of between 3.8 and 4.6. This means that they’re slightly more acidic than male private parts. If you are regularly having sex, the pH level of your groin will surely be affected by your partner’s. During sex, vaginas’ pH levels actually increase slightly to create an environment more accommodative to semen, which is alkaline at a pH level of 7.1 – 8 and will perish in the harsher acidic conditions maintained by the vagina. There is clearly a very delicate balance being maintained by our bodies and the best way we can protect them is by respecting this balance, and doing our best to maintain it. So even after sex, you should take a piss and wash yourself off with a pH restoring formulation.
Restore the balance
During the course of the day, the pH in your private parts is bound to be skewed by one of the many factors mentioned above. The best thing you can do for issues such as itching, odour, inflammation and dryness is restore your groin’s natural pH balance and allow your skin to do its job. Help your skin and your body’s natural flora (helpful microorganisms present in our skin) fight off harmful foreign bacteria and fungus by maintaining a slightly acidic pH level down there.
Spruce Intimate Wash for Men
Spruce Shave Club has recognized the importance of raising awareness about men’s health, hygiene and grooming. In India, men’s sexual health and hygiene are not spoken of openly amongst the family or even friends. Men close themselves off and try to deal with problems on their own, and honestly, sometimes the solutions are far more tenable and simpler than you would imagine. In fact, we wanted to show you just how simple it can get! With this in mind, Spruce formulated the intimate wash; a simple, natural product whose objective isn’t to affect the body, but maintain and support it. Spruce’s intimate wash for men has a pH level of 5.1, which is perfect for maintaining a healthy pH level for your penis and balls. As explained repeatedly in this post, a balanced pH in your crotch means your own body’s natural mechanisms to fight bacteria, fungus, odour, itching and irritation, dryness and inflammation are boosted! When it comes to your privates, your skin is your first line of defence. Make our intimate wash its go-to weapon!
Spruce's Intimate Wash for Men uses a blend of 9 natural extracts, vitamins and essential oils as well, which work to ditch the itch, stop the stink and clean the playing field. Our intimate wash contains no artificial fragrances, parabens or sulfates, which are further causes of irritation and dryness. We won’t tell you how to tame your bush, but we do recommend keeping your intimate wash au naturel. This way you’ll be able to maintain that nice subtropical climate down there. Kind of like Mykonos, right? So, keep it clean and soon enough you’ll have set up your own little tourist destination.