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Everything You Need to Know about pH and Skincare from a Dermatologist

You might think you've heard about skincare: drink lots of water, always wear sunscreen, and never sleep in your makeup. But there's one essential element that is often overlooked - pH! Yes, believe it or not, the age-old chemistry problem also impacts your skin. In this blog post, we'll explore why a seemingly interdisciplinary topic like pH matters for a healthy skincare routine and how you can use its principles to better care for your skin. So grab a beaker (or just a cup of coffee), and let's dive into everything you need to know about pH and Skincare.

Understanding pH Scale

The pH scale measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. It presents these readings on a scale from 0 - 14. The lower the number, the higher the edge, with 0 being extremely acidic and seven being neutral. Anything above seven is deemed alkaline, with 14 being very alkaline. How does this tie into skincare? Every skin type has a pH that makes it unique and determines how products should work for it, so it isn't "one size fits all" regarding Skincare. Products formulated for each skin type usually align with their natural pH level to not disrupt the delicate balance that keeps your skin looking healthy and feeling great!

High pH Products

As a budding beauty enthusiast, I've heard the hype that "high-pH products are bad for your skin." But as someone who cares deeply about ingredients and processes, I wanted to dive deeper and uncover the truth. After all, our skin is a responsive organ - pH levels adjust according to its environment: high acidity when it's hot outside, low if it's cold. With that said, what role do high-pH products play in balanced skincare? From my research, I learned that high pH levels increase the rate of oxidation (which affects the effectiveness of antioxidants). Furthermore, higher pH levels can contribute to clogged pores and prolonged dryness - meaning products that are too basic can be damaging in the long term. So, although it's essential to find balance with our skincare routine, pay extra attention if you're using high-pH products.

pH Adjusters

In the world of skincare, one frequently discussed component is pH. It can feel like an intimidating subject and an unexpected hurdle to tackle when formulating new products, but fear not – pH adjusters are here to save the day! But what exactly are these magical ingredients, and how do they work? When mixed with other ingredients, these innovative products work as a 'buffer,' adjusting the level of acidity in a product so that it gets back to that ideal pH balance of the 5.5 – 6.5 range. As much as you may have heard people talking negatively about pH adjustment agents, they aren't bad actors. Every quality skincare product needs a little bit of them for the formula to be just right. I wouldn't want to take any chances because ever since I started making sure all my products were perfectly balanced - my skin has been noticeably softer and more hydrated.


Ali, S., & Yosipovitch, G. (2013). Skin pH: From Basic SciencE to Basic Skin Care. Acta Dermato Venereologica, 93(3), 261–267.

Blaak, J., & Staib, P. (2018). The Relation of pH and Skin Cleansing. PH of the Skin: Issues and Challenges, 132–142.

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