Understanding skin – Skin’s pH

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Skin is the ultimate multi-tasker, performing several essential roles for our overall well-being.

The most important role it plays is as a protective barrier between our bodies and the outside world, and skin’s pH is one of its key protective mechanisms. The pH of our skin is constantly challenged by external aggressors such as pollution, and harsh chemicals. Some skincare products can help maintain skin’s optimal pH. This makes skin more resilient and better able to carry out its important work.



What is skin’s pH?

The optimal pH value of skin on most of our face and body lies between 4.7 and 5.75. A pH of 7 (that of pure water) is considered neutral. Anything below that is acidic and above it alkaline, so skin’s natural pH is mildly acidic.

pH Scale

Skin's protective barrier is mildly acidic

Why does skin’s pH matter?

Close up of facial skin
The pH of skin is important for skin health

Skin’s pH plays an important role in the skin's barrier function. If skin’s pH rises into the alkaline range, its natural balance is disturbed. This could lead to compromising skin's barrier function, and water loss from the skin.

When skin’s barrier function is compromised, it is less resilient and more sensitive to environmental triggers. It can become dry or sensitive.

There are many external factors that may have an impact on skin’s pH.

Close-up of a young woman's hand turning a tap on
Frequent washing, in water that is too hot, can stress skin.

The external factors that stress skin include:

  • Changes in temperature and humidity
  • Dirt and pollution
  • Chemical exposure
  • Washing too frequently

Substances with an alkaline pH can be detrimental to skin's pH. They may overtax skin’s natural neutralizing capability, and impair the skin’s protective moisture barrier.

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