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Understanding the pH scale for skin health

Is your skin sensitive?

Or maybe you find your suffering from painful breakouts?

If that is the case, chances are the pH of your skin is out of balance.

But be warned, before you can begin to repair your skin, understanding the term pH, will help you treat it effectively.

How does pH balance affect my skin?

A pH indicator is a critical indicator of troubled skin; healthy skin should have a pH of 5.5; if it is out of balance, it will show up in the skin as breakouts and sensitivity.

Those who suffer breakouts, acne skin, redness or inflammation, will need to have their skin treated, to bring the acid mantle and pH back into balance.

What has the acid mantle to do with the pH?

If you have an imbalance in your skin’s pH, chances are you have an impaired acid mantle.

The acid mantle creates an invisible film over the skin, which protects our skin against environmental, pollutants, bacterial and fungal infections,

Preventing toxins to penetrate the epidermis (the outer layer of skin) can lead to unhealthy skin conditions.

Follow the link if you’d like to discover more about the role of the acid mantle.

So can the pH be controlled through skin care creams?

The short answer is yes! Skincare products need to be formulated in the range of around 5-6.

If the pH scale goes beyond this on either side, it could potentially undermine the skin’s acid mantle and barrier function.

Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous manufacturers, who are only concerned with the bottom line,

They load their products with cheap Alcohol and harsh ingredients, which literally strip the skin, causing inflammation and breakouts.

Innocent consumers load on more of these products in a bid to stop this problem, but it’s a vicious cycle, which you can read all about in the soap and water debate.

pH, acid, and alkaline

Let’s take a closer look at the pH scale:

  • pH between 0 and 7 is Acid, to give you an idea, powerful Hydrochloric Acid has a pH of O
  • pH between 7 and 17 is Alkaline, substances that are used for cleaning purposes are generally Alkaline
  • a substance that is neither Acidic nor Alkaline is considered neutral, thus making a pH 7 neutral
  • because pH is a scale of values, we know that the closer to 7 an Acid or Alkali is, the weaker it is
  • ss a substance approaches 0; the Acid becomes progressively stronger
  • ss a substance approaches 14, the Alkali becomes progressively stronger

This substance’s fit onto the pH scale:

Lemon Juice 2
Distilled Water 7
Household Ammonia 11.9
Urine 5.8
Skin 5.5 – 6
Blood 7.4
Peroxide 4
Shampoo 8.5
Soap 10
Depilatories 11.5

Discovery of the pH Scale

Søren Peder Lauritz Sørensen is famous for introducing a scale for measuring acidity (pH), he was head of the prestigious Carlsberg Laboratory, in Copenhagen.

His work involved studying the effect of Ion concentrations on proteins, the concentration of Hydrogen Ions was also relevant to his studies, which is why he introduced the pH-scale.

He discovered that the pH measures potential Hydrogen, which depends on exactly how active the Hydrogen Ions are.

Since this discovery, the pH scale has been adopted as a common international measure, indicating exactly how Alkaline or Acidic a solution is.

Want tot to learn more? This is a great article on the pH and the health of our skin.


2 thoughts on “Understanding the pH scale for skin health

  1. Dr. David Epps says:

    Do you have a formula for an acid mantle cream or lotion. There used to be some available but now their availability is very limited. I would like to make my own.
    David Epps,
    Athens, Georgia

    • Samantha Miller says:

      This is a very tricky product to formulate, because there is so much going with the skin when it comes to an impaired barrier or acid mantle. I really recommend reading MarK Lees book, skincare, beyond the basics. He does an excellent job of explaining ingredients used and what is involved when it comes to formulating this type of product.

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