why pH is important in daily skin care

pH is a measure of the hydrogen ion concentration of a solution. Solutions with a high concentration of hydrogen ions have a low pH and solutions with a low concentrations of H+ ions have a high pH. A pH of 7 is considered neutral; below 7 is acidic; higher than 7 is alkaline. Natural skin pH, or physiological pH, falls in a range between 5 and 5.5. Some sources place physiological pH of the stratum corneum (SC) around 5.3.


Different types of products necessitate differing pH ranges to ensure efficacy, and also to avoid disrupting the important pH of the skin. When it comes to cleansers and moisturizers the best is to use products that fall into physiological pH range.  It is especially important for cleansers to be at or near skin pH to avoid SC disruption. Many soaps and cleansers are highly alkaline, as this will remove oil from the skin. Unfortunately, if used repeatedly, these products extract too much oil from the SC and the skin will become overly dry. As we age, our skin’s pH naturally rises. Cleansers that are designed for mature skin, like PCA SKIN’s Creamy Cleanser, should have a higher pH to accommodate for this increase. Creamy Cleanser‘s pH range is 5.7-6.7.

Corrective treatment products are often a lower pH because particular enzymes that reside at the border between the SC and the live tissue of the epidermis are stimulating and at maximum activity when the pH is lowered by the topical application of acidic products. The skin tolerates low pH well, while there is no evidence of any topical benefit of applying alkaline products to the skin. The only products in the PCA SKIN daily care line that are slightly alkaline are the zinc oxide sunscreens, but they are close to neutral. The most acidic products in the line are Smoothing Toner, Nutrient Toner, Pigment Gel® and Pigment Gel® HQ Free. Bear in mind that there must be water present in a product for it to have a pH, so since both C-Strength products are anhydrous, they do not have a pH.

If you have questions about the skin or any PCA SKIN product, please call us at 877.PCA.SKIN [722.7546].


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