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What is pH and Why You Should Care

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

pH, aka potential hydrogen, is the measure of hydrogen ions. It measures for the acidity or alkalinity on a scale of 0 to 14.


On this scale 7 is neutral, below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. The only products that have a pH are those that contain water, H2O, these are your lotions, creams, micellar waters, toners and water-based serums.


Skin has a pH between 4.5-5.5 meaning that it is slightly acidic. These acidic conditions maintain the skins barrier function and the body's ability to ward off infection. If skin becomes less acidic it can no longer protect itself against bacteria and external toxins and it will also be more prone to fine lines and wrinkles.


Skin-care products with a pH over 7 pose the biggest threat to your skin. They'll make your skin feel smooth at first, but it'll be disturbed and rough in the long run.


That tight, squeaky-clean feeling that you experience after cleansing your face is the truest sign of cleansers with a high pH and damaged skin barrier, yes, the barrier will correct itself, usually within 30 minutes, but doing this on a daily basis can cause permanent damage to skin.


Bar soaps can have a pH of up to 9 and 10, therefore continued use of bar soap can damage the skin.


Products with a pH slightly below 7 are at a level closer to skin's natural pH, they will more effectively work with your skin and help cell turnover gently.


However, certain products can be too low of a pH for skin and will irritate it with continued use.


Unfortunately, products don’t list their pH so you have no idea what you’re actually putting on your skin unless you test them with pH strips.


If you want to test your soap because you purchased it from a “clean” skincare company – I’m using air quotes around the word clean –wet the soap and touch the pH strip to it for about 10 seconds, you’ll be able to match the color of the strip to the pH chart that comes with the strips.


You can test creams and lotions by diluting 1 gram of product in 9 grams of distilled water and dipping the pH strip into it.


pH strips aren’t perfect, but you’ll get an idea of what you’re using.


At Donna J Skincare, we don’t need to worry about the pH of our products not working well with your skin because we don’t contain water, just pure, natural oils that are pressed from the seeds of fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, we eat every day.


Our products work with your skin, not against it.

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