Skin pH Levels – Everything You Need to Know

Health Insurance Plans starting at Rs.15/day*

Health Insurance Plans starting at Rs.15/day*


People probably discussed “pH balanced” regarding your body, products, diet, and more. But guess what? Your skin’s pH is also super important. Just like in life, balance is vital. But before you dive in and start analysing every skincare product you use, look at the skin’s pH and how to keep it in check.

Skin pH levels

So, what exactly is pH in the skin? Let’s start with the basics: pH stands for potential hydrogen, which measures the activity of hydrogen in a substance. Every part of our body has an ideal pH level; the pH scale ranges from 1 to 14. A pH of 7 is neutral, anything lower is acidic, and anything higher is essential (alkaline).

Our skin’s pH helps maintain the right balance of acidity and alkalinity, protecting us from germs, the environment, and harmful substances while keeping our skin hydrated and storing essential nutrients and minerals.

Changing the pH level of your skin can significantly impact its overall health. Beauty experts often discuss how pH can influence the “acid mantle,” a delicate protective layer on the skin’s surface that helps maintain a slightly acidic pH.

If you disrupt this acid mantle by using harsh products, you’ll experience unpleasant consequences that can negatively affect your skin. Interestingly, the term “acid mantle” was first introduced in 1928 during one of the earliest investigations into skin surface pH.

Optimal skin pH levels

The perfect pH level for women’s skin falls between 4.5 and 5.5, which is slightly acidic, but you don’t need to check it constantly to maintain healthy skin. Your skin’s pH can fluctuate due to diet, sleep, skincare products, and surroundings. Additionally, your skin type can influence its pH balance – oily skin usually ranges from 4 to 5.2, whereas dry skin tends to be above 5.5.

Importance of skin pH levels

Knowing your skin’s pH and keeping it balanced is vital for maintaining healthy skin. Let me tell you why it’s important:

Healthy Skin: Maintaining a balanced pH helps protect your skin from harmful bacteria and allows the natural flora to thrive. Keeping your pH levels in check ensures that your skin barrier remains solid and healthy.

Gut Health: It is unexpected that the pH of your skin can directly affect your gut health. An overly acidic skin pH can lead to conditions that support the proliferation of harmful pathogens while hindering the growth of beneficial bacteria. Consequently, this can adversely impact your digestive health, which in turn can influence the condition of your skin.

Cosmetics Compatibility: If you’re a fan of cosmetics and use them regularly, it’s essential to consider the pH of your products. If the pH of a cosmetic product doesn’t match your skin’s needs, it can lead to reactions and skin issues.

Korean cosmetics, in particular, are known for their low pH formulations and are often more transparent about disclosing the pH levels of their products compared to American and European brands.

Taking care of your skin’s pH is about maintaining healthy skin and promoting overall well-being. So, pay attention to your skin’s pH and choose products that are compatible with it.

How to test skin pH levels

Testing your skin’s pH at home is a simple process that can revolutionise your skincare routine. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Gather the necessary tools – pH testing strips and distilled water.

Step 2: Prepare your skin by ensuring it is clean and free from any products.

Step 3: Conduct the test by dampening a pH testing strip with distilled water and pressing it against different areas of your face.

Step 4: Observe the colour change on the strip and compare it to the colour chart provided with the testing strips.

Step 5: Based on the results, determine if your skin’s pH falls within the ideal range of 4.7 to 5.75. This information can guide you in tailoring your skincare routine to meet your skin’s needs.

How to balance skin pH levels

Here are some tips to keep your skin healthy and maintain a balanced pH.

Use mild cleansers

Whether you prefer using a gentle commercially made face wash or natural DIY products, remember that water can also impact your skin, even temporarily.

Facial cleansers with a higher alkaline level might lead to skin irritation.

On the other hand, cleansers with a more acidic pH could help significantly with acne when your pH levels drop below 6. Acidic-based skincare ingredients may also be beneficial for conditions like eczema and psoriasis.

Find products with a pH of 4 or lower to protect your skin barrier. While not all products disclose their pH levels, some do.

Use skin toners

Try using a toner on your skin! Toners typically have a pH level ranging from 5 to 7, which can help balance any excess alkalinity affecting your skin’s pH.

If you have certain skin conditions like rosacea, it’s best to avoid using toners. Consult a skincare professional before incorporating toner into your routine if you have a skin condition.

Both toners and astringents can help tone and firm the skin. After cleansing your face, you can use a toner or an astringent.

Astringents are often alcohol-based, while toners are typically water-based, making them more gentle on the skin.

Use moisturisers

Remember to moisturise! After cleansing, it’s essential to follow up with a moisturiser. There are plenty of options, such as moisturising oils, lotions, gels, and thick creams. You can even switch up your moisturiser depending on the season.

A study discovered that certain emollients containing petrolatum can help protect and maintain the ideal pH of your skin.

It’s vital to find the right balance of moisture for your skin. 

Whether you have oily skin, need extra hydration, or have sensitivity to specific products, numerous choices are available. You can opt for non-comedogenic oils that won’t clog your pores or moisturisers specifically designed for dry skin.

Use exfoliants

For some people, scrubbing your skin once a week with gentle exfoliants can benefit your skincare routine. The type of scrub and how often you should do it depends on your skin type and what it needs. There are various types of exfoliants, such as:

  • BHA
  • Chemical Exfoliation
  • Physical Exfoliation
  • Exfoliating Glove
  • Glycolic Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • PHA Exfoliant
  • Chemical Exfoliants
  • Enzyme Peel
  • Exfoliating Scrub
  • AHA Exfoliant
  • Bamboo Extract
  • Exfoliating Brush
  • Exfoliating Polish
  • Jojoba Beads
  • Loofah

Keeping your skin healthy can also be improved with acids found in chemical peels and microdermabrasion. Consult a skincare expert to discuss these treatments and determine if they can help improve the texture and tone of your skin.

Consult your skin care professional to determine which scrub is best.

Invest in a Water Filter

You may have hard water if you constantly struggle with dry scalp and skin, regardless of the shampoo or body wash you use. You can contact your local municipality for information to find out the exact levels.

For healthier skin, it’s best to have soft water with a low mineral content and a non-alkaline pH. Individuals should consider investing in a water softener to achieve this. However, if you’re a renter, don’t worry! Shower filters are a great and affordable alternative for you.

Use pH-balanced products

To further improve the health of your skin, it’s essential to use pH-balanced products. Most cleansers have a pH of 5.5, while soap tends to fall between 9 and 10. This imbalance can lead to discomfort and dryness. Therefore, choosing products with a lower pH level is vital to maintain your skin’s well-being.

When it comes to your hair, check the ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner. Even some “natural” shampoos contain alkaline sulfates, which can cause adverse reactions for sensitive skin.

To avoid irritation, dryness, and itching, our Natural Shampoo is specially formulated to match the pH level of your scalp, which is around 5.5. Additionally, our Natural Conditioner falls between 3.5 and 4.5, as human hair tends to be more acidic than the scalp.

Factors That Positively Affect Skin pH

  • Cosmetics with a pH that matches your skin
  • Mild personal care products
  • Hydration
  • Gut health/food we eat

Factors That Negatively Affect Skin pH

  • Personal care products that are too acidic or too alkaline 
  • Shower temperatures
  • Harsh detergents
  • Air pollution
  • The amount you sweat
  • Washing too frequently
  • Excess scrubbing
  • Smoking
  • Hard water
  • Stress

Skin pH is only one factor that contributes to the overall health of your skin. Using a suitable cleanser and moisturiser for your specific skin type, you can maintain the perfect oil balance that keeps your skin in its best condition.


Is skin pH alkaline?

No, skin loves a slightly acidic environment, which falls within the pH range of 4.7 to 5.75.

Is pH 8 suitable for the skin?

Consider pH eight as a deviation from the road to healthy skin. Your skin flourishes when it stays within its optimal pH range, and a pH of 8 can remove the natural oils from your skin.

Is oily skin acidic or alkaline?

Oily skin might be a tad acidic, but all skin types thrive when their pH balance is maintained.

How can I tell the pH levels of my skincare products?

Take a look at the packaging. Many skincare items don’t provide information about their pH levels, but they might mention being ‘pH-balanced’. Usually, these products have an acidic pH unless designed to address specific medical conditions like psoriasis, in which case they aim for an alkaline pH level.


The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

Scroll to Top