February 8, 2018 · Home Builder · (No comments)

By Gloria MacTaggart

The pH (power of hydrogen) factor is a term most of us have heard but which few understand the significance of as it relates to skin care. Calculated on a scale of one to 14, pH refers to the levels of acid or alkaline in a substance. Below seven is acidic, above is alkaline, and seven – the approximate optimum level for the body – is neutral. However, skin has a different pH and to avoid and treat dry skin, it is important to choose natural skin care treatment products that have the proper pH balance.

The pH of normal skin ranges from 4 to 6.5, which is slightly acidic. This acidic environment is referred to as the skin’s ‘acid mantle’. It contains a number of different acids including lactic acid, amino acids and free fatty acids. One of the major functions of the acid mantle is to protect the skin and body from the absorption of bacteria. As bacteria cannot survive in an acidic environment, maintaining the correct level of acidity is vital.

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If the acid mantle is disrupted, the skin also becomes more susceptible to damage. Although acid and alkaline are on opposite ends of the spectrum, either disrupts the pH and either can cause dry skin.

Alkaline stronger than pH 8 is very irritating to the skin and, unfortunately, the majority of skin care treatment products and household cleansers are far too alkaline. Most skin care soaps have a pH factor of 9 to 11 and many household cleansers range between 10 and 12. Oven cleaners come in around pH 13, which is why using rubber gloves is recommended. Some skin care treatment products are also too acidic. These products generally fall under the heading of peels and blemish or acne treatments and contain high concentrations of glycolic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid and so on.

When the acid mantle is disrupted by using skin care treatment that is too acid or alkaline, it takes about 14 hours for the skin to get back to normal. However, by that time we’ve usually used the products again so, in fact, the damage never really gets repaired. The result is apparently permanent dry skin.

Fortunately, the condition is not actually permanent and you can start improving it by reading product labels. Often a label will state the pH or describe the product as ‘pH balanced’ which is supposed to denote a pH that approximates that of the skin – although, to be certain, I would look for the number, not just the ‘pH balanced’ designation. Look for skin care treatment products that are between pH 4 and 7 and you will be on your way to preventing and treating dry skin.

About the Author: Author, Gloria MacTaggart, is a freelance writer who contributes articles on skin care for The National Skin Care Institute. For more information, visit





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