Youthful Skin Starts With Proper pH Balance

Skin Care ExpertsWikipedia says in Chemistry, pH is a measure of the acidity of a liquid solution. Pure water is said to be neutral with a pH close to 7. Solutions with a pH less than 7 are said to be acidic and solutions with a pH greater than 7 are basic or alkaline. pH measurements are important to skin care because skin care experts say the pH of  skin care products used, depends greatly on their pH and an individual's own chemistry.


I am not suggesting that skin care companies are being deceptive, but it is interesting to note that out of the thousands of products out there, how many actually tell us what the actual pH level is? The next time you find yourself looking at skin care products in your local store, see if you can find this information somewhere on the product packaging. If provided, it would read something like, "pH balanced at 5.5." Here you are looking for an actual numeric value; a real number. 

First, we need to understand what pH refers to and why pH balanced skin care products are critical to the health and beauty of your skin.

Healthy skin has a slightly acidic pH in the range of 4.5-6.0. This is referred to as the acid mantle. The acid mantle is a film on the surface of the skin consisting of sweat, sebum and amino acids. The acid mantle has a critical purpose; natural acidity protects bacteria, fungus and pollutants.

The acid mantle can also be negatively affected by stress and hormonal changes, causing it to break down. As a result, the skin's pH can become more alkaline.

When the skin becomes too alkaline, it not only can become dry and irritated, but also loses its ability to fight off bacteria which can lead to blemishes and breakouts (pH imbalance may be a major contributing factor in acne).

Try to avoid products that are too alkaline. Most commercial cleansers are very alkaline, with a pH of 8.0 or more (particularly foaming cleansers). Most soaps have a pH of 9.0-11.

Conversely, using products that are overly acidic (such as strong glycolic peels) may also damage the pH of the skin, causing excessive redness, dryness, irritation and vulnerability to the sun. Using gentle exfoliating products which effectively help to slough off dead skin cells without damaging your skin will help keep it healthy, smooth and radiant.

Always choose skin care products that are pH balanced close to that of your own skin (alpha hydroxy products must have a lower pH in order to exfoliate). This will help ensure that the products you are using do not disrupt the skin's protective acid mantle.

Avoid potentially toxic ingredients which are used as pH adjusters. Triethanolamine (TEA) is commonly used in many products for this purpose.  It may be contaminated with nitrosamines which have been associated with cancer.

Learn as much as you can about the products you use on your face and body. Accurate and reliable information can be your best friend.

Dr. Teri Dourmashkin received her doctorate (Ed.D.) in Health Education from Columbia University. She is the President and Founder of La Vie Celeste Skin Care, Inc. La Vie Celeste offers the finest quality non-toxic anti-aging skincare featuring R-Lipoic Acid. La Vie Celeste is truly the perfect union of science and nature. To learn more visit


Written by Dr. Teri Dourmashkin -February 2010

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