[ SKIN SOLUTIONS ] pH and Skin

Episode 4 is something I’ve wanted to talk about for a while. Your skin, and everything you consume or use on a daily basis is affected by pH and it’s vital to maintain your natural pH for healthy skin. Let’s go ahead and discuss why pH is so important for your overall skin health.

What is pH?

If you guys didn’t learn chemistry, then I suggest you do so as everything you use when it comes to skincare is all based on pH. In chemistry, pH is a numerical scale used to determine the acidity or alkalinity of any aqueous solution. How acidic or basic (alkaline) a product is can be determined by how much hydrogen ions are present in the solution. The more hydrogen a product has, the more acidic the product will be, and the more hydroxide a product has, the more basic the product will be. Pure water has a pH of 7, which sits smack bang in the middle of the pH scale; it is neither basic nor acidic. Any product that has a pH lower than 7 is acidic, and any product with a pH higher than 7 is basic. The scale ranges from pH 0 (the most acid) to 14 (the most basic).

Why is pH so important for skin?

The inside of our body is ever so slightly basic, sitting at a pH of 7.4. Eating foods that are slightly basic will improve our general health and wellbeing. Our skin however, sits at a pH of 5.5 which is acidic, and it’s vital not to mix the two up. By applying too much alkaline products onto your skin, you can shift the pH to a higher level above 7, which is incredibly damaging to our skin’s acid mantle which helps to protect our skin from bacterias and diseases which may harm the skin cells in regeneration or water retention.

Those with dry skin types have slightly higher pH’s and require more acid products to restore the normal pH levels in the skin. Those who are sensitive skin types are even further away from the natural pH level, and have an even higher pH rating compared to those with dry skin types. People with a pH closer to, or higher than 7 are more prone to aging and collagen decomposition as your skin tends to get more inflamed when your pH is too high. There are proven studies that show that people with higher pH’s than normal are more prone to fine lines, wrinkling and sun damage with many hyper pigmentation marks covering their faces.

Then there is the opposite; those with a pH lower than 5.5 have incredibly acidic skin and are prone to excess sebum, many breakouts and possible sensitivity or inflammation. Your acid mantle becomes so strong, that it even fends off good bacterias and anything trying to penetrate your skin, and thus, your skin will react almost as similar to those with dry or sensitive skin types. This with lower pH levels than the norm tend to suffer severe acne, redness and pore problems caused by a huge production of sebum and bad bacteria infecting your pores and skin.

There is a simple questionnaire that can roughly estimate whether you have a pH imbalance or not. I’ll list some questions down below for you so you can take some of the guess work out from determining the health of your skin.

Please get yourself a piece of paper (or rely purely on memory) and answer these questions honestly to find out how your skin sits on the pH spectrum.

1. How does your skin feel after cleansing?
a) Soft and smooth
b) Tight and dry
c) A little oily even after cleansing, or feels slightly unclean still

2. Has your skin become sensitive to your everyday products? (This also includes your makeup and any creams/toners or cleansers you’ve used in the past and have had no problems with before)
a) No, it feels the same
b) Occasionally from time to time
c) Yes, I’m reacting to products more often now, even if I’ve had no problems before

3. How often does your skin have dry or flaky patches?
a) Never
b) Sometimes
c) Usually

4. Does your skin appear more dull in the morning or do you suffer from more lines/wrinkling these days?
a) No
b) Yes/Usually
c) Rarely

5. Is your skin excessively oily and prone to breakouts? (Especially if it has only started occurring recently)
a) No
b) Occasionally
c) Yes

6. Does your skin often look red and feel sensitive to touch?
a) No
b) It stings when I apply products
c) Yes

7. Does your skin look plump, moist, and dewy?
a) Yes
b) No
c) It’s plump but looks oily

That’s the questionnaire done. Take a bit of time to read the answers and find out how to care for your skin better.

If you answered mostly A:

Your pH levels in your skin seem to be fine. You have healthy looking and feeling skin, and your products seem to be working pretty well for you. Continuing on this beauty journey with these products will only benefit you in the future, when you’re at the age where you should be getting wrinkles, but you look a million bucks.

If you answered mostly B:

Your pH is deviating too far up the pH scale, and your skin is too alkaline. This means you probably have disrupted the acid mantle protecting your skin from harmful environmental damages and your skin is reacting negatively to show you. Let your skin drink up some hydrating creams to combat any dryness, and slowly introduce acidic products into your skincare to shift the pH levels back to normal. Continuing the way you are now will only allow for your skin to age prematurely, have more chances of being damaged by the sunlight and the possibility of your skin becoming dryer than the Sahara desert.

If you answered mostly C:

Your pH is deviating too far down the pH scale, and your skin is too acidic. The possible cause may be that you have too much acidic products used on your skin, and though acidic products are good for you, too much of something can backfire, and this is possibly the reason why you may have excess sebum, clogged pores all the time or severe acne. Try opting for pH balanced products to shift your pH levels down to normal again and work from there. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to ditch your products entirely, because your products may be the reason why your pH is high in the first place. Use in moderation, and watch how often you’re using your products.

This scale can only give you a brief outlook onto the health of your skin and isn’t necessarily accurate. Not everyone is the same, and some people have different skin concerns and conditions that they need to personally address through other mean. This however, is the standards for most skincare and is a little guide into looking at how well you can truly take care of your skin’s health.

Did you find this interesting? Let me know in the comments below as to how you faired in the little quiz. I am borderline getting mostly A’s but sitting in C’s at the moment, so my skin is slightly too acidic for it to be healthy. Have any tips about skin pH? Share them with me through the comments or let me know in my SNS as well. What products have you been using and how do they work on your skin type and claimed skin pH? Give me a like if this helped you, and subscribe to my blog for future skin solution’s posts, beauty reviews, and the most popular segment in my blog, the weekly Q&A. Remember to stay beautiful.

Anthony signing out.




3 thoughts on “[ SKIN SOLUTIONS ] pH and Skin

  1. I just recently discovered your blog and I love reading all your product reviews. 🙂 Though the products are hard to find here in the Philippines, I try to find ways to get those must-haves. I took this test and the result was promising. Yes, I have a low pH level which results to oily skin and acne breakouts. 😥 Taking your advise, how do I know a pH balanced product? And is there a device that you use to measure the pH level of your skin? Hoping to hear from you soon. 🙂


    1. most products are pH balanced but of course, our skin varies depending on environment, lifestyle and products we use so we should check our own skin pH first. most dermatologists are able to tell you this information for you. i’m not too sure how to check your skin pH yourself so as soon as I find out, I definitely will let everyone know! as per checking your own skincare, buy some litmus paper (should be incredibly cheap) and put it in the skincare products to test the acidity level of your skincare. it should sit somewhere between pH 5 and pH 6 for it to be ideal for your skin (as you mentioned you have oilier skin type). a pH chart should help as well so you can compare the litmus paper coloring (which you might find in stores that specialize in chemistry studies)


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