How A Product's Ph Helps Or Hurts Your Skin

If what you learned in chemistry class stuck, you probably remember a lesson or two about pH. Anything with a pH greater than 7 is considered alkaline; anything lower is considered acidic. Our own skin is slightly acidic, falling around 5.5.

Recently, Korean scientists identified the importance of using skincare products that have a pH level close to that our skin. They applied products with pH levels of 3, 5 and 8 to participants' skin over the course of five weeks. They then performed a patch test with skin-irritating percentage of sodium lauryl sulfate.

The skin that had been exposed to the alkaline product experienced far greater barrier damage and transepidermal water loss. This led the researchers to the conclusion that skin benefits from slightly acidic products. This is especially true of dry skin.

Skincare products can range in level from 3 to 9, with most falling around 6 or 7. Although some product packages say "pH balanced," it's highly unusual to find the specific number on a label. Therefore, the researchers hope their findings influence manufacturers to make all of their formulas as similar to skin pH as possible.