Written by Tenley Haraldson. Medically reviewed by board-certified dermatologist Dr. Julie Jackson.
It's often overlooked, however, pH-balanced skin is often the key to a healthier complexion. Our dermatologist-recommended advice is here to up your skincare game and properly balance skin pH.
What Is the pH of Skin?
The pH scale (0-14) helps you determine how acidic or alkaline substances are. Water has a pH of 7 and is considered “neutral.” Anything below a 7 is acidic while anything above 7 is alkaline.
It’s generally accepted that acidic skin (which falls somewhere between 5 and 6) is optimal. Recent studies have indicated that the best pH level for skin may fall just below 5.
When skin is at its optimal level, barrier function and moisture retention improves. Slightly acidic skin also helps normal (healthy) bacterial flora remain attached to the epidermis. We find that pH testing strips are affordable, accurate, and accessible methods to test your skin levels.
Is My Skin pH Balance Off?
While armpit and genital areas tend to remain more acidic, your hands and face are another story. More alkaline skin may even be a cause of skin conditions like:
- dry patches
- irritant contact dermatitis
- diaper rash
- acne and breakouts
- premature aging
- fungal, yeast, and bacterial infections.
Dr. Julie Jackson MD, FAAD reports:
“There are several proposed scientific mechanisms that correlate slightly acidic skin with healthier function of the skin. These include an improved formation of the lipid layer of the skin. This helps to keep the skin moisturized. A low pH also suppresses the function of enzymes (serine proteases) that cause skin flaking.”
So What Affects the pH Balance of Skin?
If you're struggling with related dermatological issues, there are a few possible culprits:
- personal care products
- harsh detergents
- the amount you sweat
- air pollution
- excess scrubbing
- shower temperatures
- hard water
Invest in a Water Filter
If your scalp and skin always feel dry – no matter what shampoo or body wash you use – you might have hard water. Your local municipality should be able to tell you what those levels are.
The best water for skin pH is soft, non-alkaline, and with low mineral content. Homeowners should consider investing in a water softener (though shower filters are excellent and affordable options for renters).
Pro Tip: Because hot water dries out skin, stick with lukewarm water whenever possible.
Use pH-Balanced Products
Puracy Natural Body Wash has a pH of 5.5 and is formulated with a gentle blend of natural coconut cleansers, clinical-grade moisturizers, and Himalayan pink sea salt. This hypoallergenic, natural pH-balanced soap is free of harsh ingredients (like sulfates) that can strip skin of its natural oils.
Not-so-fun fact: The average pH of soap falls somewhere between 9-10. That can cause a lot of discomfort and dryness.
Don't Forget Your Toner
Immediately after cleansing your skin, a toner will help calibrate your facial skin pH. However, if alcohol lands high on its list of ingredients, it'll probably strip your skin of moisture.
Within a few minutes of stepping out of the shower, apply a nourishing, pH-balanced body lotion. Our unscented Daily Face & Body Lotion provides all-over hydration – and it lands between 4.5 and 6 on the pH scale.
Choose a pH-Balanced Shampoo & Conditioner
Double-check the ingredients in your hair products. Even though sulfates are alkaline and can cause negative reactions in people with sensitive skin, many "natural" shampoos still use them.
To help prevent irritation, dryness, and itching, we've formulated our Natural Shampoo to provide the same pH level as your scalp, which is approximately 5.5. Because human hair is typically more acidic than the scalp, our Natural Conditioner falls between 3.5 and 4.5.
Pro tip: To retain moisture, consider washing your hair less often. Of course, this really depends on your hair type, treatments, sebum production, and styling products.
Use a Scalp Scrub
The human scalp requires special attention, and one of the best ways to remove buildup (caused by sweat, oil, and styling products) is with a Natural Scalp Scrub. A weekly cleanse is great for removing elements that cause itching and flaking.
Balance Skin pH with Our Plant-Based Products
To provide the best personal care products anywhere, Puracy's pH values fall between 3.5 and 6. Scientifically formulated by biochemists, these plant-derived extracts and coconut-based cleansers cleanse, nourish, and moisturize the even most sensitive skin.