Pilot Study: Increase of Skin Surface pH and Improvement of Barrier Function by Spring Zhou via SCC

9 September 2015

The physiological skin surface pH is just below 5. With age the skin surface pH increases up to 6. An increased pH correlates with reduced barrier integrity/cohesion. The present pilot study assesses possible normalization of an increased skin surface pH of the elderly and improvement of barrier function via application of ≈pH 4.0 skin care products. Baseline skin surface pH was determined in elderly (80+ years old; n = 15) compared to middle aged adults (31 – 50 years old; n = 15). The effect of o/w emulsions at pH-values of 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 and 5.5 on the skin surface pH was determined in both groups. Further, the effect of a 4-week treatment with a pH 4.0 skin care product on the skin surface pH, skin hydration and barrier integrity was assessed. Thirteen elderly females were involved in this home-in-use test. Increased baseline skin surface pH of the elderly normalizes to the physiological pH of 4.5 – 5.0 over 7 hours after single application of o/w-emulsions with a given pH of 3.5 or 4.0. A 4 week treatment employing the pH 4.0 skin care product improves the epidermal barrier integrity of the elderly significantly (p = 0.005). Reduction of the increased baseline skin surface pH of the elderly is accompanied by improved epidermal barrier integrity. Skin care products for the elderly have to be adjusted in the pH range of 3.5 to 4.0.

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