Differences in the skin surface pH and bacterial microflora due to the long-term application of synthetic detergent preparations of pH 5.5 and pH 7.0. Results of a crossover trial in healthy volunteers

Acta Derm Venereol. 1990;70(5):429-31.


Skin cleansing preparations consisting of identical synthetic detergents but differing in pH-value (pH 5.5 and 7.0) were applied twice daily on the forehead and forearm of healthy volunteers in a randomized crossover trial. The skin surface pH was found to be significantly higher when the neutral preparation had been used, as was the propionibacterial count (p less than 0.05). The number of propionibacteria was significantly linked to the skin pH. Hence even minor differences in the pH of skin cleansing preparations seem to be of importance for the integrity of the skin surface. This should be taken into account when planning the formulation of optimal skin care products.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Detergents / administration & dosage
  • Detergents / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Forearm
  • Forehead
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration / drug effects
  • Male
  • Propionibacterium / drug effects
  • Random Allocation
  • Skin / microbiology*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena
  • Staphylococcus / drug effects


  • Detergents