Unlocking the Secret to Clear Skin: The Importance of pH Balance in Fighting Acne

Skin Care
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The importance of pH balance for skin

If you're a seasoned player in the skincare game, then you already know how important skin pH is to your overall complexion health. But if you need a refresher, let's start with the basics. pH stands for "Potential Hydrogen" and runs on a scale from 1 to 14. At one end of the spectrum, a pH of 1 is the most acidic, while at the other end, 14 is the most alkaline. For your skin to be in its prime state, it must maintain a perfect balance between acidity and alkalinity. Specifically, your skin's pH should fall within the range of 4.5-5.5 to be considered balanced. An optimal pH value plays a crucial role in maintaining the skin's protective barrier—also known as the acid mantle—integer.[1] The acid mantle is your first line of defense against bacteria and other external aggressors, so maintaining it healthy should be top of mind. On the flip side, when the skin's pH level is disrupted, it can leave it susceptible to inflammation and bacterial growth, ultimately leading to acne breakouts.

Acne-prone skin is likely to have a higher pH level than healthy skin. One study showed that people with acne had a pH level of 5.8, whereas those with healthy skin had a pH level of 5.0. This implies that maintaining an optimal pH level is crucial to keep breakouts at bay. 


Have you ever wondered how your skin's delicate pH balance gets thrown off-kilter? Allow me to delve into the nitty-gritty and break it down for you. Aging is one of the significant culprits that can wreak havoc on your skin's pH levels. That's because our natural sebum production takes a dip as we age, leading to an imbalance in the skin's pH.

Consuming excessive amounts of certain foods, including sugar, yeast, dairy products, and alcohol, can also throw your skin's pH out of whack. Environmental factors also play a significant role in disrupting your skin's acid mantle. Smoking, stress, air pollution, and sun exposure can all alter the pH level and cause various skin issues. Finally, it's worth mentioning that even certain skincare ingredients, such as chemical acids and retinol, can unbalance the skin's pH if not used correctly. 


Here are some pro tips that will help you to keep your skin's pH level in check:

Wash with a gentle cleanser: Opt for a mild face wash that skips sodium laureth sulfate. This foaming agent has a highly alkaline pH of 10, which can cause dryness and skin irritation. 

Use a pH-balancing toner: Remove impurities and help your skin's pH restore by using a calming toner made with soothing ingredients (like niacinamide and Centella Asiatica). Ideally, use one that's formulated without drying alcohol.

Apply probiotic-infused serum: According to New York dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D, “Probiotics have been shown to repair a disrupted acid mantle by restoring an acidic skin pH, reducing oxygen free-radical damage, and improving skin barrier function,”[3][4] 

Apply sunscreen: Your first line of defense will always be sunscreen, so you should wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF daily. By acting as a shield against harmful sun damage, sunscreen prevents damage and boosts the skin's ability to protect itself.


While Exponent Beauty does not claim to treat or cure acne, probiotics are a godsend for acne-prone skin.  Clear Comeback Probiotic Enzyme Serum is an all-in-one solution to tackle breakouts head-on. In addition to providing pH-balancing and skin restoration benefits with probiotics, it calms redness, reduces oiliness, and gently exfoliates with willow bark extract. The mild exfoliating benefits are also enhanced by fruit enzymes, so you can expect fewer breakouts, refined pores, and a more even tone over time.

pictured: before and after 6 weeks of using Exponent Beauty Clear Comeback Serum.
See more clinical results, reviews and shop: Exponent Beauty Clear Comeback System

Acne requires a clinical diagnosis, and Exponent Beauty recommends consulting a Dermatologist to find a treatment plan that is right for you. 


  • Saba M. Ali and Gil Yosipovitch, Skin pH: From Basic Science to Basic Skin Care, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, USA, Source
  • Prakash C, Bhargava P, Tiwari S, Majumdar B, Bhargava RK. Skin Surface pH in Acne Vulgaris: Insights from an Observational Study and Review of the Literature. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Jul;10(7):33-39. Epub 2017 Jul 1, Source
  • Divya Sharma BS, Mary-Margaret Kober MD, and Whitney P. Bowe MDc, Rutgers University, Downstate Medical Center, Department of Dermatology, Brooklyn, NY, Anti-Aging Effects of Probiotics, January 2016 | Volume 15 | Issue 1 | Original Article | 9 |, Source
  • Laura Regensdorf, Are Harsh Products Throwing Off Your Skin? Why Striking a pH Balance Is Key, Vogue, 2016, Source


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