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SK!N What’s Normal pH?


by Bob Root, Keys CTO

There is another book on the horizon for us.   The working title is simple, “SK!N”.   After Chemical-Free Skin Health was published, I started to get so many questions that focused more on “what to do” than what is wrong.  Yes, there will be a chapter about the negative effects of chemicals in products.  The majority of the book are things that we should be doing to improve skin health which has a direct connection to youthful appearance and beauty.

These articles are snippets from the book which are triggered by questions that I get that I think are important now!  Books just have this tendency to stretch things out a bit too far.

Like all good citizens, I have a disclaimer.  For future reference, I once had a professor that said, “Ask Root the time of day and he will lecture you on the origin of time.”  So forewarned is forearmed.  ;-]…..There are no simple answers and no simple questions when it comes to Skin!


 I had a medical colleague ask me what she thought was a simple question.  “What is the normal pH of the skin?”  Remember there are no simple questions or answers.

Bob’s Answer, Part of the problem we find with all medicine is the use of the term “normal.”  Nowadays, the gaps in normal are quite large and do have some ethnic bias.  The ethnic shift is primarily food type consumed.  The other interesting thing is that in the last ten years or so, the gap has widened.

The range we see for skin across all group is >4.0 to <5.5 pH.   So, it ranges from fairly acidic to moderately acidic.   People who live in big cities and eat processed foods tend to be more acidic.

Guru’s say that nominal should be ~5.5 pH.  We tend to see more acidity and some theorize that the skin needs to go more toward 4.0 because studies show that when the skin gets near 6.5 pH that bacterium invades.   In the core of it, this is our secret going to alkalinity of around 9.0 – 9.9 pH (alkaline) to move the skin in the proper direction.   We have found that many people who have disorders find faster relief by using our soaps to move the ambient pH more toward the center reference of 7.0 -7.5 pH.   I guess the real message is that it works.

Diet has more of a profound affect over time.  Drinking slightly alkaline water in the 8.0 – 9.0 pH range is all the rage in Los Angeles.   Certainly eating  green leafy vegetables like Spinach, Swiss Chard and Broccoli…especially Broccoli Rabe.  Drive the skin pH more toward the alkaline side.

As a sidebar, the research is inconclusive, but it is pointing to a growing concern that people are drinking overly filtered water that has the minerals stripped from them.  Personally, I travel so much that I have to filter my water and I also use a mineral additive to get all the trace minerals back into the water.  This does seem to affect pH moving it more toward the center and away for the acidic side.

Just the fact that water is ~7.5pH, drinking what we should will drive the skin more to the center.   Most people are dehydrated which I personally believe contributes more than anything to the slide toward acidity.   (We should all be drinking at least an ounce of water per pound of body weight)   The other rub in this shift to acidity is that most skin care products have been buffered to make them nominal.  A friend in the Land of Cincinnati, told me that they have targeted 4.5 as the new normal when making their products.  This is a full pint shift in the last 5 years when 5.5 was the target.

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