The Possible Impact of Shampoo pH

Home Forums The Skin Support Program Part 6 – Skin Surface pH Resources The Possible Impact of Shampoo pH

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    Michael Anders
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    Many skin care products are now marketed to be pH balanced, commonly noting that they have been formulated to match the skin’s natural pH of 5.5.

    Interestingly, the medical literature on the subject actually indicates the optimal skin pH is slower then 5.5. This makes you wonder how well traditional skin care products are formulated and why such inconsistencies exist.

    The pH Values of Common Shampoos

    Shampoos are no different and in-fact the majority of commercial shampoo formulations have a pH of over 5.5. More specifically, a paper that investigated a total of 123 commercial shampoos noted the following found that 61.78% of the analyzed shampoos had a pH higher then 5.5 ["The Shampoo pH can Affect the Hair: Myth or Reality?" Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias, Andréia Munck de Almeida, Patricia Makino Rezende Cecato, Andre Ricardo Adriano, Janine Pichler (September 11, 2014)" rel="popover" data-placement="top" role="button" data-trigger="focus" data-html="true">1].

    This means that with random selection most individuals have nearly a 40% chance of finding a shampoo with a pH below 5.5. That’s not bad you may think.

    The issue starts to become more apparent. when you look at the data specifically related to seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Just consider the following two facts:

    • Skin surface has been noted to be elevated with individuals faced with seborrheic dermatitis issues and this is known to lead to barrier instability ["The acid-base balance of the skin." D S ANDERSON (December 1, 1952)" rel="popover" data-placement="top" role="button" data-trigger="focus" data-html="true">2]
    • Out of 26 commercial anti-dandruff shampoos investigates noted that 80.77% of them showed a pH above 5.5 ["The Shampoo pH can Affect the Hair: Myth or Reality?" Maria Fernanda Reis Gavazzoni Dias, Andréia Munck de Almeida, Patricia Makino Rezende Cecato, Andre Ricardo Adriano, Janine Pichler (September 11, 2014)" rel="popover" data-placement="top" role="button" data-trigger="focus" data-html="true">3]

    It’s hard to say what the implications of using a shampoo with a raised pH may be. However, if we apply the same principles seen in the effects of alkaline soap on further worsening skin barrier instability ["The pH of the skin surface and its impact on the barrier function." M-H Schmid-Wendtner, H C Korting (November 22, 2006)" rel="popover" data-placement="top" role="button" data-trigger="focus" data-html="true">4], the impact of using shampoo with higher then optimal pH can’t be any better.

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