One of Dr. Laszlo’s earliest innovations, his signature PhelitylTM Complex, centered on balancing skin’s pH to promote a healthy complexion. Dr. Laszlo said that Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) were manufactured by skin itself, and without EFAs, skin would become unbalanced and diminish in moisture, glow, and vitality. EFAs are a crucial component of the lipid barrier that protects skin’s surface. This barrier helps maintain skin hydration, promote elasticity, and prevent moisture loss.
While the body naturally produces EFAs that play a key role in skin function and appearance, we start to make insufficient amounts of EFAs as we age, leading to a noticeable lack of moisture and firmness. Skin’s pH levels can also become unbalanced. What does balanced or unbalanced pH mean for skin health, and what can we do about it?
Skin pH 101
pH measures the acidity of skin’s surface, and pH levels are affected by everything from lifestyle choices to environmental factors. Dr. Laszlo tapped into the science of skin to create his original Phelityl™ Complex, an innovative way of balancing skin’s pH. Today, our Phelityl™ Complex uses nourishing EFAs to balance the complexion for a healthy look and feel.
Everyone has a unique skin pH, but healthy skin is typically slightly acidic with a pH level of 4.5 to 5.5 on a scale of 0 to 14. A pH level of 7 is neutral, and any number below is acidic and above is alkaline. An acidic pH relates to skin's acid mantle, the thin outermost layer of skin made up of natural oils and amino acids. This acid mantle helps protect skin and preserve moisture, meaning that promoting an slightly-acidic pH supports optimal skin barrier protection.
What causes pH imbalance in skin?
Skin’s pH is affected by environmental factors, lifestyle choices, and the stress of everyday life. For example, warm weather increases sweat and sebum production, resulting in a lower pH that can contribute to breakouts.
Water exposure also affects skin’s pH balance. Since tap water is naturally non-acidic, cleansing with it can disrupt skin’s pH. That’s why, after washing your face, it’s essential to support skin with products formulated to bring your complexion back into balance.
Aging and pH balance
While we can control certain environmental factors like sun exposure by wearing SPF (we recommend Firmarine SPF 30 to protect while targeting signs of aging), we can’t control everything that affects skin’s pH. For example, our complexions naturally change as we age. If skin shows increasing signs of redness, irritation, and blemishes, pH levels may be too low. If skin begins to suffer from dryness and sensitivity, pH levels may be too high. So what can we do about it?
Cleansers to hydrate & balance skin’s pH
Use a gentle cleanser that doesn’t strip skin of its natural oils. We recommend these hydrating cleansers:
VTM Cream-to-Foam Cleanser: This mild, gentle cleanser is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Formulated with our amino acid-based Gentle Cleansing Blend, this luxurious cleanser washes away surface debris without stripping or drying, leaving skin feeling moisturized after cleansing.
Phelityl™ Cleansing Bar: This nourishing treatment bar is packed with EFAs to help maintain skin hydration. Safflower Seed Oil infuses skin with essential moisture, while Macadamia Esters serve to hydrate, boost radiance, and leave skin with a silky-smooth feel. This cleansing bar works best when paired with the cleansing oil of your choice, as part of Dr. Laszlo’s signature Double Cleanse Method. Best for normal to dry skin, suitable for all skin types.
Toners & essences to prep skin & restore balanced pH
Traditional toners and essences are designed to restore balance after cleansing. This skincare step helps remove residue and lower skin’s pH following an alkaline cleanser. Toners and essences ensure the complexion is left not only balanced and hydrated, but primed to receive the remaining steps in your ritual. We recommend:
Hydraphel Skin Supplement: This silky, hydrating essence works to revive dull or dry complexions, beginning the process of skin renewal. Skin-restoring nutrients and powerful hydrators work together to soothe dry skin and balance pH.
Light Controlling Toner: Our clarifying facial toner sweeps away excess surface oils while lightly exfoliating and binding hydration to the skin for a fresh-faced complexion. Skin is left with matte-finish moisture, perfectly conditioned and prepared for the rest of your ritual. This facial toner is a favorite among oily/combo skin types.
Phelityl™ moisturizers to replenish & protect skin’s pH balance
Dr. Laszlo’s solution to balancing skin’s pH was to create the PhelitylTM Complex, a signature science-backed blend to help restore skin’s fatty acid shield. Our PhelitylTM Complex combines EFAs and replenishing ingredients that help fortify skin’s protective barrier to lock in moisture and keep skin soft, supple, and plump. We recommend these Phelityl™ favorites:
Phelityl™ Day Lotion SPF 15: This weightless, daily moisturizer brings broad-spectrum UV protection alongside nourishing actives to both protect skin from harmful rays and soften the complexion. By replenishing EFAs with our Phelityl™ Complex, skin is left hydrated and balanced. Suitable for all skin types.
Phelityl™ Night Cream: Our best-selling, award-winning, rich and luxurious overnight cream delivers moisture to the skin by replenishing EFAs with our Phelityl™ Complex. By morning, skin wakes up re-hydrated with a soft, supple tone and refreshed glow. Best for dry skin, suitable for all skin types.
Read more about our Phelityl™ Complex and achieving skin health with EFAs.