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Dermatitis. 2010 May-Jun;21(3):154-6.

The pH of commonly available soaps, liquid cleansers, detergents and alcohol gels.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Faculty of Medicine, Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand.



The hydrogen ion concentration (pH) of a cleanser certainly has an impact on skin condition. Dermatologists always need to recommend a cleanser to patients with hand dermatitis or sensitive skin; particularly during the outbreak of swine (AH1N1 virus) influenza, frequent hand washing and alcohol gel cleansing were greatly recommended.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the pH of various commonly available cleansers and alcohol gels on the market to assess patient comfort in using such products and to make good recommendations to our patients.


Multiple brands of liquid cleansers, dishwashing liquids, soaps, laundry detergents, and alcohol gels commonly available on the market were assessed for pH by using a pH meter and pH-indicator strips. The pH assessment imitated real-life conditions by diluting each cleanser with tap water and then comparing the changed pH.


The pH levels of liquid cleansers, dishwashing liquids, a beauty bar, and alcohol gels were acidic to neutral and compatible with normal skin pH. Most bar soaps, baby soaps, and powdered laundry detergents had a pH in the alkali range. The pH of concentrated cleansers was slightly different from that of their dissolved forms.


Regarding the antiseptic property and pH of the cleansers, alcohol gels with moisturizers appeared to be the best hand cleansers to recommend to our patients.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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