Why Your Skin's pH Levels Matter

When someone mentions pH, the first thing you think of is probably a science lab. However, did you know that pH extends long beyond the science world and can in fact be linked to our skincare routines? Our skin's pH level mostly regulates itself, but sometimes it can be disrupted, which then causes issues for you down the line. The pH level for most of us is around 5.7 on the skin pH scale. If this number goes up or down, it could signal a potential problem.

Similarly to a damaged skin barrier, when your skin's pH is interrupted, you'll probably experience issues like redness, flaking, and oiliness (per Healthline), depending on what your skin is usually like. Sometimes a disrupted skin pH isn't the obvious issue, but it's always useful to know more information in case it is. Here's how to spot some of the signs of your pH being off so you can restore your skin.

It's time to think about why skin pH is important

You may think that it's bad for your skin to be overly acidic, but actually it's the opposite. Keeping your skin pH at the right level of acidity will help to prevent premature ageing as well as protect your skin against the bad kinds of bacteria. Speaking to Everyday Health, dermatologist Dr. Cheryl Karcher explained, "The skin's barrier is slightly acidic for a reason: to keep moisture in and bacteria out. If your pH balance is off and it's too alkaline, your skin is going to look flaky and red. If it's too acidic, you'll increase your chances of inflammatory skin conditions like eczema and acne."

Several factors can affect our pH and our skin's acid mantle, but some of the most common include skincare products like cleansers and toners, aging (our skin pH changes as we age), and factors like sweating. It's extremely important that your pH stays balanced to stop the negative effects mentioned above from happening. So, how can you ensure your skin pH stays at a good level?

Keep your pH in check with these testing tips

You can keep on top of your skin's pH level with the help of an at-home testing kit. There are heaps to choose from, but always ensure the one you go for has been accredited and has lots of reviews that seem legitimate so you know you won't be wasting money.

If you don't have access to a testing kit, dermatologist Dr. Onyeka Obioha explained to Good Housekeeping, "One way you can tell if your acid mantle is being stripped (and your pH balance is off) is how it feels after cleansing — it shouldn't feel tight or dry." No one knows your skin better than you, so if you use a new toner and find your skin immediately feels off, that's a surefire sign it has disrupted your pH.

Of course, for a more in-depth review of your skin pH you'll need to go to a dermatologist. However, if you're simply curious, the above methods will let you know the basics of your pH. Your skin pH is just as important as protecting your skin barrier, and, while it may seem over-the-top, your skin will thank you for taking these extra steps.