Why Your Skin pH Is Important And How To Balance It

The skin is the heaviest and largest organ in the body, covering an average of 20 square feet and weighing around one-seventh of the body's weight (via Medical News Today). The skin has a multitude of functions. As a stable but flexible shell, it protects the body from harmful environmental influences and toxins. However, your skin also needs its own protection. According to Healthline, a daily skincare routine can help maintain the health of your skin. Your skin's pH level plays a vital role when choosing the right skincare products.

Healthline explains that potential hydrogen, also known as pH, measures the acidity of substances. The general pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 considered neutral. So, every number above 7 is alkaline (non-acidic), and numbers below 7 are acidic. However, the skin has a broad pH range, with acidity levels measured from 4 to 7; nevertheless, the ideal pH level for the skin is below 5, according to Healthline.

Why your skin pH is important

According to a 2018 study published in The Journal of Dermatology, pH levels can determine skin barrier function, hence why it's important to understand your skin's pH and the factors that alter it.

Knowing your skin's pH level can be handy when choosing skincare products. Medical News Today advises using gentle cleansers that are pH-balanced and do not contain harsh chemicals or soap. According to Cleveland Clinic, the skin's natural pH level is pegged at about 5.5, indicating that it is on the acidic side. Choosing products that are above or below the skin's natural mark may disrupt its environment and cause lipids to break down and the skin barrier to malfunction.

Understanding your skin's pH comes with other benefits beyond choosing the right skincare products. According to a 2020 study published in the journal Diagnostics, physicians rely on the skin's pH level to get consistent feedback about the healing process of a wound. The authors of the study believe that a better understanding of the role pH values play in clinical diagnostics not only assists clinicians but also helps improve our personal health management.

How to balance skin pH

Since skin types differ, it's best to speak to your dermatologist to gain a better understanding of your skin's pH levels. They can also offer expert advice on the best skin care products to use for your skin type and which ingredients to avoid putting on your skin. As a guide, Healthline recommends washing your skin with gentle cleansers and using toners with a pH between 5 and 7 to neutralize alkalinity. However, if you have certain skin conditions, such as rosacea, using a toner isn't advisable, according to Healthline. Your dermatologist should, therefore, advise on the best options.

According to a 2018 study published in the journal Current Problems in Dermatology, some petroleum-based emollients can help protect and maintain an ideal skin pH. The source reveals that these emollients help maintain the skin's acidity and naturally stabilize the skin's pH.

Coffee grounds also help to balance pH levels, according to Medical News Today. Beyond balancing pH levels, coffee also works as an effective exfoliant that helps eliminate dead skin cells, treat acne, and enhance blood flow, per Medical News Today. A 2013 study published in the journal Analytical Methods suggests that certain nutrients and antioxidants, such as caffeic acid, help increase collagen levels, promoting healthy skin.