Sorry, but this is incorrect information.

So let’s get a bit Geeky, and talk a little about skin (and solution) chemistry.  I will make it easy, trust me here.

Any item that contains water, has a measurable pH value. A pH measurement simply measures how acidic (acid) or alkaline (base) the product is when dissolved into pure water.

ph basics2

So when you measure pH value, you are dealing with a wet solution containing water, and its measurement on the acid or base range scale.

The solution must contain water to have a measurable pH.

A dry powder, will not have a pH, until it is mixed with water.  A pure plant oil, unaltered, has no pH

Pure uncontaminated water is neutral pH of 7.0. Its neither acidic or alkaline (base), it right in the middle of the two, so its designated neutral. Items are acidic or base compared to how the rate against water.

Different body organs have different pH ranges.

Human skin has a normal pH range, which can vary from roughly 4.0-7.0.  But 5.5 is a generalized recognized average range. So this commonly used as the skin pH marker.

Skin below 5.0 is considered in optimal, or a bit  “better” condition. As skin pH raises beyond 6.0 it can be considered “less healthy”.

Diseased skin often has a higher pH, as skin ages it becomes more acid (pH drops to lower numbers)

ph scale

Many things can alter skin pH, such as general health, environment, diet, medications, skin care products used etc. External things can cause a breakdown in the skins protective layer, which can effect the skins ability to hold moisture, heal, function, and adjust and maintain an optimal pH.

When you apply a water containing liquid to the skin surface, the product will have its own pH, which will alter the skin pH for a time.

What does skin do with stuff of the wrong pH?

A product applied to the skin surface, can alter the skin pH for about 20 minutes roughly, after which the skin absorbs and alters the product, and adjust its pH back to its normal skin pH range.  So when something of the “wrong” pH is applied to your skin, in about 20 minutes the skin “fixes” or adjusts the pH back to its normal set point. This helps the skin absorb and use the ingredients within the product.

This natural readjustment ability is important for overall skin health and function. Even if you apply a very acidic or very base ingredient to the skin, assuming the skin is not damaged, it will readjust the pH back to “normal” in a short time-frame.

If the skin pH could be easily changed for more than a short time, the skin health would suffer. It would break down, dry out, have a noticeable increase in disease, acne, rashes and irritation.


So as an example, you take a shower with tap water (which is pH of 7.0, and considered neutral, neither acidic or alkaline/base), while you are showering the skin pH will raise in relation to the water absorption. (from 5.5 of the skin- to 7.0 from the water)

If you use a soap or cleansing products, or scrubs, that will also alter the skin pH for a time. (ranges can vary but I will not address that at this time)

After you step out of the shower, the skin pH does not stay at 7.0 pH though, it will gradually lower back to the 5.5 range it prefers, in about 20 minutes.

Sunless Solutions and pH

Every sunless solution tanning product on the market (no matter what ingredients are used) contain pH adjusters to maintain their range at about 4.0-6.0 pH roughly.

  •  This is for a number of reasons.  A product that is a dramatically different pH then normal human skin can cause irritation, dryness, skin stress, and absorption issues, and impact skins long-term health if used repeatedly.
  • Proper stability, and shelf life require specific pH ranges.
  • Formulation processes such as thickening, emulsification, and blending require specific pH ranges, depending on ingredients used.
  • But most importantly DHA develops its coloration best at the same rough pH range of human skin. So that’s its Happy place. Which is a win-win for formulators.

There is no real advantage to creating a sunless product of a widely dissimilar range, then what the skin already prefers. After all, a good solution is one that the skin can easily absorb, and “tan” with.

But even beyond all this, once the solution is sprayed on the skin, within about 20 minutes, the skin will have adjusted the pH to it’s (skins) proper range.

This is important because DHA uses a specific set of chemical reactions to colorize the skin, and this takes a lengthy period of time to complete.

What about pH adjuster sprays?

A DHA solution takes roughly 2-6 hours, or so for the chemical reaction to complete – so IF you needed to spray something special on the skin surface to adjust its pH for the tan to develop correctly;  then this special product would need to change and maintain the skins normal pH at an abnormally high/low range for the entire development process of 4-6 hours or more.

This is both physically impossible with an over the counter preparation, and would be very harmful to the skins overall health. A product of this type would damage the skins protective surface (acid mantle) and the its healthy flora on the skin surface.  (which would cause skin issues related to skin breakdown, acne etc.)

This product would also not longer be considered a “cosmetic” that could be used by the general public, or over the counter.

It would now require a special Drug Classification to be legally dispensed within the USA, per the FDA product guidelines regarding drug ingredient classification for items that alters living tissues natural function.

Any product applied to the skin, to adjust the pH long-term would require FDA testing and approval for consumer use, before being released on the market.

No Prep product currently on the market for Sunless use requires this type of restriction, as no product on the marker will change the skins pH for more than a short time.

And even if it did, it will not prevent an orange tan.

This does not mean a Prep spray is a useless product. They can be a very beneficial tool in a technicians product bag.  A well formulated product can help remove skin oils, sweat, cosmetics, lotion and soap residue and so forth. Which can significantly impact how a tan absorbs, and develops.   But as a pH balancing product for the skin, their impact on the tan results are minor.


So thats Myth one –


Next Up……You are orange because of that yucky cheap DHA from China!!, or the Cheap DHA myth. Click below to view……