The importance of pH-balanced skin is in our very DNA as a brand. One of our namesake’s earliest discoveries revolves around it: Dr. Erno Laszlo actually created the entire Phelityl range using his knowledge of how to properly balance the skin’s pH. But maybe you only remember pH from high school chemistry, which would be totally fair. Educate yourself with our guide on pH-balanced skin and why it should matter to you!


How do you read the pH scale?
The pH – short for potential hydrogen – scale goes from 0-14 and reflects the acidity of a substance: below 7 is acidic, above 7 is alkaline, and right on 7 is neutral. Water is neutral, whereas vinegar has a pH of 2 to 3 and ammonia lands at 12.


What is skin’s natural pH?
You might be surprised to learn that skin is actually on the acidic side, with a natural pH of 5.5. It’s not surprising, however, that skin requires a very specific environment to function at its best – not just to appear radiant, but also to fulfill its duty as as a protective defense organ, helping your body ward off infections. When skin’s pH gets out of whack, that can trigger bacteria growth, leading to everything from inflamed skin to breakouts.


Your skin comes with its own natural protective barrier, and it has a really cool name: the acid mantle. The acid mantle has a number of important functions, which include not only keeping your skin’s pH in proper balance but also maintaining your skin’s firmness, locking in moisture, and preventing infections – phew! It’s also a team player, working with the skin’s own enzymes, sweat, and oil to keep the sensitive skin microbiome in ideal order.


Fun fact: The skin of men tends to be a little more acidic than that of women – but at birth, everyone’s skin is neutral! Within a few weeks, it becomes acidic.

How does pH get out of balance?
Your skin’s pH will be affected by interacting with anything that deviates too much in either direction of the scale – from environmental stressors to the food you eat and the skincare products you use. Your skin’s “good” bacteria are then thrown off balance, unable to fight off the “bad” bacteria, and your skin’s appearance suffers the consequences.


If the pH is too alkaline, it could dry your skin out, strip away natural oils, and possibly worsen fine lines. If the pH is too acidic, it could inflame and irritate your skin, causing redness. If your skin’s pH is regularly disrupted in either direction, it’ll take longer for your skin to recover, issues you already have are likely to be aggravated, and you might even start developing skin disorders.


What can you do?
The good news is that modern chemists are well aware of the pH discoveries that Erno Laszlo helped pioneer, so a majority of skincare products are already pH-balanced. This means that they are formulated with a pH in the span of natural, healthy skin, typically between 4 and 7. Your complexion will be happiest if you keep your skincare products slightly on the acidic side.

Dr. Erno Laszlo created our entire Phelityl range precisely with the pH scale in mind. He knew that chemistry is central to effective skincare; this is also why he was a huge proponent of tailoring a person’s skincare ritual to their body’s specific needs. Achieve a true balancing act by adding these pH-balanced products to your ritual.


– Protect your skin from the sun with our lightweight Phelityl Day Lotion SPF 15.

– With a pH level nearly identical to that of the skin, our Active Phelityl Cream is Erno Laszlo's original, all-purpose 24-hour cream – and a Marilyn Monroe favorite!

– Cleanse without drying using our pH-balanced double cleanse team of Hydra-Therapy Cleansing Oil and Phelityl Cleansing Bar, a sunflower-colored version of the classic black bar.

– Replenish your skin’s essential fatty acids overnight with our Phelityl Night Cream, now available in a stunning Value Size jar as well.


Keep these tips in mind.
– Avoid harsh foaming cleansers and a try gentler variety like our Hydra-Therapy Foaming Cleanse, which boosts skin's own moisture-retaining capacity while balancing its pH levels.