Skin pH: What Does pH Balance Mean For Skin

The skin is our barrier to the outside world, so it is constant contact with barrage of bacteria, viruses, fungi etc. So, how does the skin fight off this constant attack? Like our insides, there are friendly bacteria on the skin which assists this, which thrive when the skin pH is functioning optimally, it is slightly acidic, around 5.5. On the other hand bacteria, including P.acnes, fungi and viruses thrive when the skin is even slightly alkaline.

Sebum is the natural oil that the body creates to help keep the skin hydrated and healthy. Healthy skin will create sebum which is slightly acidic, often referred to as the acid mantle. The acidity fights off the unwanted bacteria and helps prevent infections.

When the pH is off balance the skin becomes vulnerable to infections. While diet and disease can contribute to the skin being alkaline, there is another main culprit. Soap!

Soap can radically alter the pH of skin. Most soap is highly alkaline (pH 9 -11). The natural oil is stripped from the skin and an excess of alkaline salts are left behind. The skin is left vulnerable and dry.

Babies’ skin is even more vulnerable when soap is used. Their skin has a thinner protective layer and so is naturally more acidic to help protect them from bacteria. It dehydrates easily and is quite permeable. So it is very important not to use alkaline products (especially soap) on baby’s precious skin.

Fortunately not all soaps are the same. Botáni’s body bars, Eco-Clear Body Bar and Olive Cleansing Bar, are around pH 7, which is neutral. These are perfect for use on the body, especially when skin conditions are present. However we don’t recommend these for the face. Purify Facial Cleanser and Olive Soothing Cleanser is ideal for the face and for makeup removal. Olive Soothing Cleanser can also be used as a general wash for babies or those with more sensitive skin. A drop of Olive Skin Serum in baby’s bath will help to keep their skin moist and supple.