Your Skin’s pH: The Need-to-Knows

Your Skin's pH: The Need-to-Knows

The winter season means dry skin for many of us, and it’s a time when sometimes normal lip care isn’t enough to prevent chapping. In addition to being uncomfortable and unflattering, dry skin has an aging effect that highlights fine lines. It’s a common experience, but it doesn’t have to be.

Learning more about the science of skincare can help you make decisions on what products will work best for your needs. Skin products that help balance your pH are gaining popularity right now, and many people are finding solutions that fit their skin types. Here’s what you need to know about how to keep skin clear and healthy by balancing your pH.

How Does pH Level Affect Your Skin?

The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, and measures the amount of hydrogen or hydroxide ions in substances to help describe their qualities. A level of 7 is neutral, for pure water, and anything below is acidic. Numbers over 7 are basic, also known as alkaline. The ideal pH level for human skin is at 5.5, which is moderately acidic and hovers between the acidity of black coffee and milk.

Is Your pH Level Too High?

Paying close attention to your skin makes it easier to tell if you may have a pH level that is not acidic enough. A higher, more basic level means that the natural acids have been removed. When skin is healthy, it has higher protections and isn’t as easily irritated. On the other hand, when skin is off balance, it does not perform the same natural functions it would under normal circumstances.

Effects of Skin With High Alkalinity

Under normal circumstances, skin exfoliates itself by sloughing off dead skin cells. Without the proper acidity, skin starts to act different, and that can lead to your body keeping those cells in place, creating a layer of dry and flaky skin.

Winter lip care helps prevent chapped lips, one of the most visible forms of dryness. Lip balms with alpha hydroxy acids and SPF can address some of these concerns, by adding acidity that creates softness and promotes hydration.


Protect the Acidity of Your Skin

Thinking about acid and skin might conjure up scary images of burns and unpleasantness, but in terms of your skin’s pH, acidity is a positive thing. Keeping up the natural acidity of your skin means that you stay protected from harmful environmental debris, dirt and bacteria. It creates a defensive barrier that keeps your outer layer of skin healthy and smooth.

Avoid Harsh Washes

If you want to restore the balance to your skin, you have some preventative options. First, avoid harsh soaps that are not specifically designed to balance your pH. They strip off healthy oils and the acid mantle that protects your skin.

Bar soaps especially are often very basic, so be sure to avoid using them on your face. They have tested at pH levels up to 9, which is high on the alkalinity scale.

Skip the Hot Water

There’s nothing like a hot shower during winter. However, the heat can have very detrimental effects on your skin. In addition to being drying, it can mess with the pH level of your skin and make it more basic, leaving you more vulnerable to dryness and sun damage.

Skin Too Acidic?

Skin that is too acidic is much rarer than skin with a high alkaline level. Redness and greasiness are both signs that your pH level may be too low.

Using lots of products with a high acid content, in an aim to cleanse without stripping your face, can cause this situation. That leaves skin raw and irritated, so avoid overusing peels and intense cleansing products if you find yourself with excessively acidic skin.

Maintaining a Healthy Balance for Your Skin

Caring for chapped lips and dry skin starts with getting your skin balanced. Everyday choices in skin care can help set you on the path to skin that reads at an ideal pH level of 5.5. A gentle cleanser that is labeled as pH balanced, like this option from EltaMD, helps you avoid alkalizing skin or adding too much acid when you do simple, daily personal care like washing your face.


Soothing Products

To keep skin balanced, try to work in products that have ingredients that keep equilibrium for your skin and acid mantle. A balancing toner wash from Elemis promotes an environment that is slightly acidic, to help lock in moisture. The soothing lavender purifies the skin and refreshes it without being too harsh.

Balanced Sun Protection

No matter what product you need, chances are there is an option that will keep your skin at its ideal level of slight acidity. This sunscreen from Elta MD has a hyaluronic acid content that will be especially helpful to offset dry, alkaline-heavy skin. Sunscreen is a vital product, so it’s worth the time to find one that will help improve your skin.


Balancing the pH for your skin sets the tone for the rest of your beauty rituals. Smooth, healthy skin makes everything else easier, from lip care to getting the perfect eyebrow shape. Take a look at the products we offer to help you balance your pH for soft, supple skin even in the dead of winter.

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