Skin in Balance

Going back to basics by understanding the pH pf skin 

One of the most important topics that estheticians learn early in their course of study is how pH relates to the skin. But what makes pH so important? Why is it necessary, and what can we as professionals do to help restore balance to the skin? Let’s dive a little deeper into the science and learn more about why pH is such a crucial component of skin health.  


In chemistry, the term pH refers to the “potential of hydrogen” and measures the acidity and alkalinity of a solution based on the number of hydrogen ions present. The pH scale is logarithmic and ranges between 1 and 14. Each value represents a change of 10 times the previous value and is based around a neutral midpoint of 7, which is neither acidic nor alkaline. 

An acidic solution will have levels of hydrogen ions greater than the amount found in pure water. A basic solution, in contrast, will have a hydrogen ion concentration lower than that of water. 


We can’t really talk about the pH of skin without mentioning the “acid mantle.” Often referred to as the skin’s “protective barrier” and comprised of mainly of sweat, sebum, lipids, and amino acids, the acid mantle is the protective layer that covers the surface of the stratum corneum and gives the skin a slightly acidic property that falls somewhere between 4.7 and 5.5 on the pH scale. 

This acidic environment not only keeps bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens from entering the skin, but it also supports the skin’s microbiome and plays a key role in proper barrier function, hydration, and sebum production. 


“​​Maintaining proper pH balance of the skin is essential to keeping it healthy and strengthening its natural defense against the environment, pollution, bacteria, and other aggressors.’


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Joanna Kula

Joanna Kula is a Licensed Esthetician, Skincare Educator and Founder of Skin Devotee. She has a science background and over 10 years experience in the treatment room, working alongside the industry's top leaders and training with elite skincare lines. Joanna is passionate about skin and dedicated to empowering others through education. She hopes to see the future of the industry as a thriving playground for all skincare professionals.