What is the best pH level?
You might ask what the best pH level for intimate hygiene products is. Should you use a product with an alkaline, neutral or acidic pH? We are regularly asked about this issue. Here, our specialists answer your questions.
What is pH?
What is meant when we talk about neutral, acidic or physiological pH?
pH (potential of hydrogen) measures how acidic or alkaline a substance is.
The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14:
- Less than 7: acidic
- Equal to 7: neutral
- Higher than 7: alkaline or basic
- Physiological pH is the normal pH level for an area of the body. A product with a physiological pH has a pH level close to that of the zone for which it is intended.
What pH should you choose for an intimate hygiene product?
The genital area has two separate zones, each of which is unique. The vagina area is internal, and the vulva-perianal area is external.
– The internal genital area: the vaginal cavity
The pH of intimate hygiene products has no impact on the vagina’s pH because:
- The vagina self-regulates acidity levels.
- Intimate hygiene products are used externally. They are therefore in limited contact with the vaginal cavity.
The external genital area: the vulva and perianal areas
The average pH is between 4.8 and 8, depending on whether the area is mucous membrane or skin. As for the rest of the body, this zone self-regulates, which maintains pH at physiological levels.
To determine the best pH level for an intimate hygiene product, two situations must be considered:
- Most of the time, the average physiological pH for this area of the body is a little more acidic than in other areas. Products with a pH level between 4.5 and 8-9 are therefore suitable. This is also true when washing the rest of the body – products outside this range may be too harsh on skin and mucous membranes.
- For mycosis, the most common ailment affecting the external genital area, a neutral or mildly alkaline pH between 7 and 9 is recommended. This helps prevent the development of fungi, which reproduce faster in acidic environments.
Saforelle cleansing products have a pH of 8. They are therefore suitable for daily use and to help treat mycosis. Two studies carried out by INSERM in Lille show that using Saforelle Mild Cleansing Care every day on a long-term basis respects the pH levels of the vulvar and vaginal areas and the balance of vaginal flora.
Dr. Jean-Marc Bohbot