pH Balance and Skin Health

When it comes to skin health, you may not think of pH balance as a factor, but it’s actually very important in protecting the skin around your stoma. Learn more about pH and peristomal skin.


Learn about the impact of pH levels on peristomal skin health.

Keeping the skin around your stoma healthy requires more than just keeping it clean. Another important factor is pH balance. Maintaining the right skin pH level helps protect your peristomal skin from the potentially damaging effects of stoma output.

Healthy skin and pH

Healthy skin is mildly acidic with a natural pH range between 4 and 6. Maintaining this pH level helps support skin integrity and the antimicrobial properties necessary to protect skin from infection and environmental stresses.


Enzymes in stoma output can damage skin

Whether you’ve had a colostomy, ileostomy, or urostomy, the output from your stoma may cause an imbalance to skin pH around your stoma.

How exactly does peristomal skin damage occur?

  • The mildly acidic skin environment is called the acid mantle
  • Altered pH balance of the skin’s acid mantle can occur when the near neutral pH stoma output containing active digestive enzymes comes into contact with skin
  • A disturbance in the pH balance of the acid mantle can result in skin damage
  • This may result in a peristomal skin complication, or PSC
  • Damaged skin can be vulnerable to infection

How to protect your skin

Certain types of food and juices will tend to make your stool and urine pH levels more alkaline or more acidic. Ask your healthcare team for food management tips on maintaining a balanced pH level to protect peristomal skin.

Another effective way to protect your peristomal skin is to use skin barriers and seals specifically designed to support skin pH. They can help maintain the pH balance of naturally-healthy skin and reduce potential damage from digestive enzymes in stoma output.

For additional guidance on how to maintain the right pH level for healthy peristomal skin, talk to your stoma care nurse.