Is A Lower PH Level Always Better For A Cosmetic Product?

Occasionally, one sees advertisements that claim that a lower pH value, in terms of a cosmetic product's acidity, is better for the skin. PH (power of hydrogen ions) level indicates whether a solution is alkaline or acid. In chemistry, the pH value is based on 7. So, if the pH level is 7 (e.g., water, distilled water) it's neutral; if it's greater than 7 (e.g., cleanser, soap) it's alkaline; and if it's lower than 7 (e.g., vinegar, fruit) it's acid. The World Health Organization (WHO) sets the pH level of drinkable water between 6.5 and 8.5. Then, what is the acidity of a person's skin? First, the average male's skin is at 5.2 and the average female, 5.8. Acne skin is 7.5 and atopic skin (eczema) is 8.0.


Normal human skin has a modicum of acidity to protect against germs and fungi. Medically speaking, healthy skin has a pH level between 4.5 and 6.5. The pH value varies between people. It differs between the sexes and according to one's skin condition. Also, the environment and the weather can affect the skin's pH level. If the skin is secreting excess oil (sebum) the pH level can become acid, and if it's sweating, the pH level can change. And as one gets older, the pH level also increases. 


If the skin barrier is damaged through harsh treatment, the pH balance will also be broken. And once the 'unbalanced' skin becomes either too acid or alkaline, it will send a warning sign in the form of acne, eczema, etc. And continued usage of cosmetic products that are not right for one's skin condition will only worsen the symptoms. 

Therefore, each person's pH level is different, and a cosmetic product with a low pH level is not always the best. The 'best' product is one that is suitable for one's skin.


The pH level is critical in the utility of some cosmetic products. For example, for soaps and cleansers, the cleansing power and suds also decrease with lower pH levels. So, a low pH soap may leave one with an unsatisfactory slippery sensation after usage.


These are the reasons why we refrain from advertising our products as 'low pH'. For example, our BAD ACE Summit Rain facial moisturizer has a pH level of 5.69, but that alone does make it better for the skin than a product with a pH level of, say, 6.5 or 7.