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What exactly is the skin’s pH?

  • Skincare
  • What exactly is the skin’s pH?

Our skin has pH levels, we hear pH Neutral or Balanced a lot, but often the meaning isn’t clear to most of us. We explore more to get you answers.


Dryness, slow enzymatic activity, diffused redness, sensitivity, problematic oil flow, acne are all signs of potential pH imbalance. Taking the right steps in your skincare routine and in your lifestyle can certainly help with the problem. Let’s explore further and understand what your pH is.


What is the skin’s pH?

Our skins have a thin protective layer on the surface, which is often referred to as the acid mantle.  Our acid mantle is made up of sebum that, by mixing with lactic and amino acids in our sweat, create our skins pH.


Back to science, if your skin was balanced it would have a pH of 5.5 on a scale of 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline.


What this means is that your skin needs to be slightly more on the acidic side of things, with the right mix of good bacteria and a strong acid mantle. There are so many factors that alter the balance of our skin’s pH, the main ones being:


  • Environmental damage, pollution, sun, cold weather.
  • Smoking and working in a dusty or outdoor environment.
  • Poor diet, alcohol, lack of water and exercise.
  • Antibiotics, ongoing medications, surgery.
  • Poorly formulated skincare.
  • Harsh anti-bacterial soaps.


As we start to age our skin tends to naturally be more acidic, which is normally a result of our body responding to our environment and lifestyle. We can help this process by managing our diet, eating less meat, eating an abundance of leafy green vegies, citrus fruits, tomatoes, carrots and lentils, also drinking less alcohol and more water. We need to be focused on keeping our diets as alkaline as possible.


A balanced and healthy skin will protect you from external environmental factors and will use its own defence system to fight break outs, common skin problems and wounds, meaning that with good blood flow, healing will be fast, scarring minimal and cross contamination all but eliminated.  Basically, your acid mantle cannot be ignored as it is vital for your overall skin and body health.


If your skin is presenting as dry, dehydrated, feeling tight, itchy, scars easily, is inflamed, sensitive and/or experiencing breakouts, then it is possible that your acid mantle has been compromised.


There are no easy answers to repairing a compromised acid mantle.  You need to be gentle, really gentle – like you are working with precious china! Stop any harsh exfoliation. Once you have tested your skin’s PH and recognised any issue with your acid mantle, decide on a suitable home-care routine, that will allow you to strengthen your skin’s barrier. Slowly your skin will return to being strong and healthy. Realistically, with the correct treatments, it can take anywhere between 21 and 42 days for the acid mantle to repair itself. Take one step at a time, start with good routines including improved diet and using proper skincare products that treat not traumatise the skin.


Au Natural Skinfood’s Remove – Gentle Facial Cleanser is ideal to respect your natural pH and to restore compromised skins. Its gentle formula won’t strip the skin of its natural oils, it will instead strengthen your acid mantle, restore collagen and elastin production, with the result being a strong skin that can use its own defences to fight common day to day skin problems.


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