The natural pH value of an adult’s skin is slightly acidic and ranges between 4.5 and 6.1, while our interior is neutral and is about 7.
Natural skin pH value
Maintaining the skin’s natural acidity is very important for its health and good appearance. It is significantly influenced by environmental factors as well as chemicals that we apply to the skin. Parts of the body that are covered with clothes, such as thighs, genitals, groin, have higher acidity than hands or face, which are constantly exposed to external influences.
Skin acidity is crucial for the formation of bacterial microflora, its defence against pathogenic bacteria and fungi, as well as for adequate skin hydration, enzyme activity and cell renewal. As these are the factors that determine the permeability of the skin barrier, a change of the pH value can cause various skin diseases.
The balance of the skin’s surface depends on age, genetics, sebum secretion, sweating, environmental pollution, and the chemicals we apply. Even the quality of water, which is basic in Europe, affects the increase of skin’s pH value. If the skin is constantly dry, regardless of the cosmetics we use and the absence of other health problems, you should check the alkalinity of the water and, if necessary, add filters to the showers. It is desirable for the water for washing and showering to be soft, with a low content of minerals. Warm water dries out the skin, so lukewarm is advised.
Factors affecting skin pH disorders:
- Excessive sun exposure
- Frequent washing
- Hard water
- Excessive sweating
- Humidifiers or climate change
- Air pollution
Soaps usually have a pH of 12 and significantly damage the acidity of the skin. As the alkalinity increases, the skin oils that are the basis of acidity and the skin barrier are removed. Mild soaps with a pH between 4.5 and 6 should be chosen.
It is interesting that the pH of the skin of newborn babies is about 7, so all baby care products are adjusted to their pH value. This is one of the reasons why adults should not use baby lotions and creams.
It is now well known that excessive use of soaps and tonics with alcohol changes the bacterial microflora and over time leads to redness, dandruff, perioral dermatitis or worsening of acne.
When the skin is dry and when it cracks and peels, the pH value is increased, i.e. it is basic. Then it is more prone to bacterial infections and eczema. If the pH value decreases and the skin becomes more acidic than it is natural, inflammatory processes develop with redness, increased sebum and acne worsens.
According to a study conducted during 4 weeks when the soap was used twice a day, the skin swabs isolated a significantly higher amount of propionibacteria in acne and coagulase-negative staphylococci. This difference was not noticed after 10 days of the same regime and is directly dependent on the length of use of disinfectants.
There are tests that can be done to check the acidity balance of the skin, but it is not necessary. If the skin is soft, hydrated, without signs of inflammation, its care is correct.
Balanced skin’s pH value is just one of the important factors for its health and beautiful appearance. The use of a cleansing solution with an adequate pH value followed by a toner balances the acidity. Good hydration and sun protection are essential in your daily routine.