Understanding skin – Skin’s pH

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There are many external and internal factors that may have an impact on skin’s pH. Skin’s location on the body can also affect its pH and certain skin conditions, such as Atopic Dermatitis, alter the pH of skin.

Our genetics, biological age and hormones can also affect skin’s pH.

The pH of male and female skin differs slightly. The average pH of male skin is lower due to higher rate of sebum production in male skin.

During the first few weeks of life, a baby’s skin has a higher pH of between 6.5 and 5.5 as its protective acid mantle is not yet fully formed. Read more in baby and children’s skin. As hormones change later in life (for example during puberty, pregnancy and the menopause), the pH of skin can also change. Read more in skin in different ages.

We can help to support skin’s optimum pH with healthy lifestyle choices, a regular skincare routine and by using products that respect skin’s natural pH and maintain its protective barrier. It is also advisable to treat certain areas of the body (such as the hands, armpits and intimate area) with products that are formulated to respect their natural pH.  Read more in a daily skincare routine for the face and a routine for the body.

Hands work hard and are constantly exposed to external forces. As a result, the pH of skin on the hands is stressed. Its protective acid mantle may be weakened and skin is more susceptible to drying out and irritation.

Armpit skin can go for long periods without light or air, conditions that help bacteria to grow. Armpit skin is also frequently subjected to the harsh chemicals in some anti-perspirants and/or hair removal products. For these reasons, it has a pH closer to 6.5. This significant reduction in acidity makes it further susceptible to bacteria. It is the breakdown of this bacteria that can lead to unpleasant body odour.

The genital area
Like armpit skin, the skin in the genital area has a pH of 6.5. This reduced acidity makes it prone to bacterial infections.

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