There is a fine line in pH balance and skin care. The skin produces both sebum and sweat that creates a barrier on the skin’s surface. Certain forms of bacteria and microorganisms may be a factor in the natural skin shedding and renewal process. The pH of the acid mantle varies between 4.5 and 6.2. Skin care products should be below the skin’s pH of 4.5 – 6.8 to have maximum effects on the skin.
Very strong acids, such as sulfuric acid, can produce chemical burns that basically destroy the epidermis. Likewise, highly alkaline substances, such as lye, can also produce inflammation and in some cases, chemical burns.
pH adjusters or buffering agents are frequently added to skin care products. These additives keep pH at the correct level to produce the desired effect, while keeping the product safe and non-irritating to the skin.
Maximum results are achieved when the pH is between 1.8 – 6.8.
Test Your pH Balance with At-home Test Strips
Thanks to at-home pH kits, it may be possible to determine your skin pH on your own. These come in the form of paper strips that are applied to your skin and measured.
For the best results, buy pH kits that are meant for your skin. Saliva and urine tests can measure your body’s overall pH levels, but these will do little to tell you the pH measurement of the surface of your skin.
Through a Dermatologist
A dermatologist may also offer liquid pH testing in their office. In addition, they can help you with cosmetic and other skin-related care that you’re interested in.
Observe and Estimate
It’s possible to get a general idea of your skin pH level through careful observation. Skin that has a soft texture without dry spots would be considered balanced. Irritation, acne, redness, and dry spots may all be signs of a high skin pH that’s leaning towards a more alkaline profile.
In summary, if the fine line in pH balance and skin care products is too alkaline or too acidic, the mantle is disturbed and skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema , and rosacea may result. A skin care product may claim to be pH balanced, but you can verify the actual pH of a product by using an at-home pH testing kit (available at most drug stores).
Kathleen Flanagan, CEO and Founder of Espirit de Vie Day Spa, Aromatherapist, Harmonic Healer, Esthetician and Author.