Skin Acidity: What is it, really?

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Skin Acidity

I don’t like it when foundations oxidize on me. I know that my skin acidity is the culprit for accelerating the effect of foundations oxidizing on my face. But before we curse our skin for being acidic, let’s first find out what it actually is.

A number of skincare products indicate their pH levels in the packaging. What exactly is pH, you ask? To be honest, Chemistry was not one of my favorite subjects. I can only remember less than half of the elements in the Periodic Table of Elements. My favorite element was Hydrogen, simply because its symbol, “H”, is very easy to remember, its atomic number is 1 and its atomic weight is also close to 1. But, I don’t get why Iron gets a symbol of “Fe”! I mean, okay, it was derived from “Ferric”. But it’s Iron! It should be “Ironic” and not “Ferric”. Lol! The rest of the elements were just stored in my short-term memory. πŸ˜€

I actually prefer Physics over Chemistry, but some topics in Chemistry do interest me. Like balancing chemical equations. It just amazes me how they can be balanced. It takes some hard thinking to get it right, but once you get the hang of it it’s very easy. Same with achieving balance in real life. It also needs hard work, but after you integrate it with your daily activities, it’ll be a cinch to follow through and keep up.


Skin Acidity

We have always viewed our skin in terms of makeup. We have covered it up with foundation, created beautiful illusions with contouring, added colors with blush and highlighters and much more. Then for those of us who are unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on how you perceive it) enough to be acidic, we would witness how the colors of the makeup change.

Aside from these wonderful things we do to our skin, it also functions at a deeper level. It is our body’s largest organ, encompassing almost our entire body. It is our shield. Our first line of defense. This is further emphasized by the common knowledge and fact that viruses and harmful bacteria can easily enter our system through an open wound.


Skin Acidity

From Medicine to Beauty products, the skin’s acidity has always been an important factor. pH scale is the measurement of any substance’s acidity, which includes the skin.

How many times have you heard of pH balance? It is the balance of skin acidity. So, what really is pH? pH stands for “Potential Hydrogen” which is used to describe the acid-alkaline ratio of a substance. It ranges from 0 (which is the most acidic) to 14 (the most alkaline).

Neutral water has been measured to have a pH balance of 7. Anything above 7 are less acidic or alkaline while measurements below 7 are acidic. Based from recent studies, our normal skin’s pH is measured as 4.7. We are naturally acidic!

An imbalanced pH level is to blame for almost everything from pimples to excessive oiliness to wrinkles and aging. It’s important to know our skin’s pH level so we’ll know what to do in order to achieve balance and along with it, beautiful skin and complexion. Because the health of our skin is linked to having that balance between acidity and alkalinity.


Skin Acidity

The acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of the skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin. It is secreted by sebaceous glands. The pH of the skin is between 4.5 and 6.2, so it is acidic. These contaminants and other chemicals are primarily alkaline in nature and the skin’s moderate acidity helps to neutralize their chemical effects.

When we use astringent soaps or other soaps that don’t have the proper pH level, they strip us of our acid mantle. This can lead to our skin being vulnerable to fungal or bacterial infections. Your skin can not ward off the damaging factors, so you might be making it look older than it should.

Why can’t we be more alkaline and be naturally less acidic? These acids give life to the ecosystem of microorganisms living on our skin. Yes, we have our own community of bacteria. These are good bacteria though, which fights off those nasty ones we encounter every second that we interact with our world, from the air that surround us to the water that we use to bathe with. Too much alkaline reduces our acidity which then kills these good bacteria. In turn, we become more susceptible to illnesses.

Too much acidity, though, is also undesirable. The most practical reason is that it raises body odor, due to the increased level of good bacteria on the skin.


Skin Acidity

If your skin’s pH is TOO HIGH:

You might be too alkaline if you have wrinkles, premature aging and skin dryness. Your acid mantle is damaged, and when this protective layer is removed, your skin is very much vulnerable to UV rays, fungal and bacterial infections and other harsh ingredients. You might want to double check your skincare routine. You might be cleansing, exfoliating or moisturizing too much or too often.

If your skin’s pH is NEUTRAL:
Your skin is perfect! You are not cursed with pimples, wrinkles or premature aging. You are on the right track, so keep it up. What you need to do is share your skincare routine with the rest of us! Lol!

If your skin’s pH is TOO LOW:
You might be too acidic if you experience skin sensitivity, frequent breakouts and too much sebum or oiliness. You might be over-exposing your skin to acid peeling products or harmful skincare products, just to get rid of the extra sebum production. Exfoliating is a good thing, but it should be done moderately. Moderation is also a key to achieving a healthy and beautiful complexion.

So the next time you see your foundation change color or oxidize on you, know that your shields are up and you are protected. Just be careful not to have too much acidity. Our skin’s pH should be balanced. As always, too much of one thing is never a good thing. So, even though acidity is needed by our skin, we still shouldn’t allow it to be overly acidic. As is with everything, balance is the key.

Is your skin acidity also causing your foundations to oxidize? What do you do to balance your skin’s pH levels?

Photos courtesy of

Alyssa Melanie



    • I have combination oily/normal skin, so I like using mattifying primers like Make Up For Ever’s All Mat primer and Estee Lauder mattifying primer. While they do minimize oiliness and help prevent foundations from oxidizing, I get acne from using them frequently. πŸ™ I have sensitive skin, so I have to give it a break every few days or so.

      Until now, I still haven’t found my HG primer which will not clash with my sensitive and acne-prone skin. Good luck to us in finding our HG primer! xoxo

  1. It seems logical when you explain it in this article yet till now I had not put in any thought on this matter. Very interesting and I am going to follow what you have suggested and be more aware of my skin and its needs. I am trying to buy and use more natural products that will hopefully help too. Thanks

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