I tried to find a pH list of OTC products in the forums and haven't had any luck. I have seen some lists online, but thought I would list ones that I have tested here at home, for anyone interested. If you have tested any yourself or have called/confirmed with a manufacturer and would like to add product pHs here, please do so. I am just now learning about how pH affects the skin and have found that what I've been using has been too high! I figure I can help my skin if I keep it at a more satisfactory level. At least that will be one less variable!
Note: All water listed below is filtered from my tap through a simple cheap Pur system
Products that are not inherently liquid, I added a bit of water to them, thoroughly combined, and then tested.
I used pH strips, so a little guessing is in order. I can't list the exact pH, but I could tell what the range was from the color. This is not a lab created testing, and I'm not portraying it as 100% accurate. However, it is informational enough to give you an idea.
Straight ACV: 3
Diluted ACV in water: 4
Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control: 4-5
Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control with water: 5-6
Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion: about 7
Mario Badescu Buffering Lotion + dilute vinegar: 5
Tea Tree Oil (Spring Valley brand) 100% undiluted: about 4
Tea Tree Oil (Spring Valley brand) 100% undiluted with Derma E Vit A Wrinkle Treatment Moisturizer gel + water: about 6
Derma E with water: about 6
Oxy Clinical Clearing Treatment 5% BP: about 5/6
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser with water: 7
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser with a little straight ACV: about 4
Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Daily Cleanser with Glycolic acid peel liquid: between 4 &5
Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash original: 8
Skinceuticals Retinol .3 : 7
Dickinson's Witch Hazel (blue bottle): 5
Stridex Maximum alcohol free (red jar): 4
Epsom Salt and water: 7
Epsom Salt + little straight ACV: 4
Skin Biology (Diana Yvonne) SA 2% @3.2ph (also called exfol serum): 3-4 (was hoping this would be almost dead on the 3)
Alexandre Saint d'Marquis Beverly Hills 25% Glycolic acid, medical grade pure: 1-2
Reviva Labs 10% Glycolic acid cream (glycolic polymer from extracts of pumpkin, sugar, rhubarb): 2-3
These are pH values from either the company websites or from company reps through email inquiries:
Green Tea Poultice: 3.8
Antibacterial Cleanser: 3.6
Glycolic Cleanser: 3.7
Septicide Cleanser: 3.6
Cucumber Scrub: 3.3
Pineapple Scrub: 3.4
Glycolic Exfoliator: 5.5
Gentle Follicle Exfoliator: 3.3
Inhibiting Gel: 3.9
Blackhead Dissolver: 3.6
Treatment Moisturizer: 3.7
Titanium Dioxide Sunscreen: 3.7
Exfol Serum 2% Salicylic Acid 3.2 pH - very very gentle exfoliation 2% Salicylic acid 1.9 pH - gentle exfoliation, will penetrate the pore for oiliness and breakouts 5% Salicylic acid 1.9 pH - mild exfoliation, best for oily areas and breakouts
Stridex Maximum Strength Pads alcohol free (red box) 3.0 - 4.5
Anti-Wrinkle Vitamin A Moisturizing Gel pH is 5.5
10% Glycolic Acid Night Cream pH 3-4
Note: pH is important in glycolics. The pH (acid level) in our glycolic line is 3-4 pH. Above 4.5 pH, the acid level would be too weak to do much good.
Here is a spreadsheet link that someone else compiled with many more pH values for cleansers: https://docs.google....dit?pli=1#gid=0
Cerave Hydrating cleanser: 5.2-5.8
Cerave Foaming Facial Cleanser: 5.5
CeraVe AM: 6.0-6.5
CeraVe PM: 5.0-6.0
CeraVe Moisturizing Cream: 5.0-6.0
From what I understand, using a too high pH will damage your skin and cause it to lose it's ability to naturally fight off acne and other germs, etc. It will degrade the acid mantle. Normal skin range is 4.5-5.5 with an optimum (as I understand) 5.5pH. Many topicals rely on pH to be effective. Even if you get an acid (BHA or AHA) at the correct pH for maximum effectiveness, if you put it on skin that has a high pH, the acid will lose it's ability to properly work. I didn't know this and while I've been using mild topicals, I've never bothered to make sure they were used in the correct environment. I used to use the Desert Essence wash, but wow that's an 8! I did use teh Stridex afterwards (not knowing the pH then) and I assume that if nothing else, it brought the pH down in my skin. At least it is useful for something (since the pH is too high for the SA to work as I understand it). I am currently using the Neutrogena Ultra Gentle, and while it is still high at 7, it is an improvement. I have been using diluted ACV as a toner afterwards to help lower the pH back to normal. I let this dry before applying any acidic topical.
I am wondering, though, if I might be able to mix a bit of my glycolic acid peel into the Neutrogena. In the experiment above, it effectively brought the pH down to a 4-5. Of course, at this level, I expect that I'd see no exfoliation properties, and that's ok because it's a cleanser and I don't intend to leave it on long enough anyways. But, it will work to bring the pH down. I have not tried this on my face, however. I am wondering if it would be ok to add? I found a product called sebamed which is formulated to 5.5, but i can't find it in any local store and it is back-ordered online. Also, it's more expensive than the Neutrogena. I'm so far happy with my current cleanser (it is listed under the 100% non-comodegenic list in the forum)--It would be perfect if the pH was optimum. Hence the curiosity if you can manually lower the ph by adding the glycolic peel liquid (this is an actual peel--not leave on. You use for a few mins and then must neutralize). I would assume since the neutrogena is higher in pH and the combined pH is only 4-5, surely no need to neutralize and the acid won't have any exfoliating effect..or very little. I'd love to hear any thoughts on that!
Edited by callendula, 17 April 2015 - 01:43 PM.