Understanding Skin pH
What is skin pH, and why does it matter?
Everyone has a skin pH. Most people have the same skin pH, and reaching a healthy skin pH tends to be the same for everybody, too.
Skin pH is a spectrum. This means there are two extremes. But healthy skin is not about reaching one extreme— it’s about balancing somewhere in the middle!
To have healthy skin, you need to learn to balance pH. “pH” stands for “potential hydrogen,” and here is why it matters.
Skin acidity vs. alkalinity
The extremes on the pH scale are either acidity (the number 0 on the pH scale) or alkalinity (the number 14 on the pH scale). According to experts, most healthy skin pH is right at around 5 or a bit lower— a little more acidic than alkaline.
Keep in mind: skin pH can change around the body. Healthy facial skin is slightly acidic, while more open skin (like chest, shoulders, stomach) is more alkaline— crevices like armpits and groin are more acidic.
What factors can affect skin pH?
It happens to all of us: skin health and appearance gets out of whack sometimes. It all has to do with skin pH!
In fact, knowing what factors mess with skin pH can be the key to better skin health— especially things like products, environmental changes, and more. These include:
- Sun (and sunburn)
- Skin moisture
- Excessive skin washing
- Products (cosmetics, detergents, soaps, gels)
- Humidity levels
- Air pollution
- Dirt and soil
- Skin conditions or disorders
- Excessive sweating
- Using tap water for skin care
- Topical antibacterials
- Topical astringents
How to tell if your skin pH balance is off
For some of us, skin pH is an entirely new concept. You might be able to tell if your skin is a little off or unhealthy, but how do you determine if your skin pH is unbalanced?
Keeping track of skin pH is ideal because it can help you predict and prevent skin problems before they happen. Here are a few ways how:
- Skin test strips. These literally test your skin and tell you what pH it currently is, and help you pamper accordingly. Be sure to buy only skin-specific test kits.
- Take a look and know the signs. Look in a mirror, and you can get some idea of your skin pH. Your skin is balanced and healthy if it is soft and free of itchiness, dryness, inflammation, or hotness. If not, it may be too alkaline.
- See your dermatologist. They can professionally test your skin and recommend how to bring it into balance.
How to help balance skin pH
Balancing skin pH is easy. All it requires is taking better care of your skin with the right products and approaches! These include:
- Cleansers – Opt for gentle, more balancing ones for the best effects.
- Toners – Rose water is one of the gentlest, best, and more natural for pH balancing.
- Moisturizers – Hydrated and soft skin is both essential to and a sign of healthy pH.
When balancing skin pH, remember that the gentler and more natural (such as a rose water toner)— the better!