• Horse's skin is normally in the range of pH 7.0 to 7.4.
• Dog's skin is normally in the range of 6.2 and 7.4.
• Human skin has a lower pH of about 5.5. (That's why shampoos formulated for humans are much more acidic than those for dogs or horses, and can upset the balance of their skin.)
Equine Organix shampoo and detangler are pH neutral at 7.0, so they work perfectly for horses and dogs.
Basically, pH scale measures the concentration of H+ (hydrogen ions) and
OH- (hydroxide ions). More simply put, it is the measure of how acidic
or alkaline a solution is. The pH scale ranges from 0, very acidic, to
14, highly alkaline, with 7 as the neutral number. Even though some
products may have a slightly higher or lower number than 7 and could be
considered ‘neutral’, e.g. a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, the scientific fact is
that neutral pH is 7. Period.
The internal pH of most living
cells is close to 7, and the pH of a healthy horse’s skin and hair is
7.0 to 7.4, essentially neutral. This neutral pH provides a barrier to
both unfriendly funguses and bacteria. In fact, equine skin pH actually
increases as a horse sweats, creating an environment more conducive for
harmful bacteria and fungus to ‘set up shop’ dermatologically, so to
speak. Because of this, it is very important to try to bring the pH
back to normal, as close to neutral as possible. Everyone who has ever
purchased shampoo for themselves as heard or read the term:
pH-balanced. This is simply stating that a particular product, shampoo,
conditioner, moisturizer, whatever it may be, has been balanced for a
particular pH. As an example, the pH of human skin and hair is around
6.7 to 6.9, slightly lower than a horse’s. So, a pH-balanced shampoo
will have a slightly acidic pH so it will rinse more cleanly, not
leaving chemical residues behind.
Because the pH scale is so ‘compact’, ranging only from 0 to 14, it’s
important to understand how it works. Each pH unit represents a tenfold
difference of the H+ (hydrogen ion) and OH- (hydroxide ion)
concentration. That means that a solution of pH 2 is not twice as
acidic as a solution of pH 4, but rather a HUNDRED times more acidic.
If a horse’s skin and hair has a pH of 7, an alkaline solution with a pH
of 10 is actually 1000 times MORE ALKALINE than normal or neutral.
The most important lesson to learn about pH and your horse’s skin and
hair is simply this: it’s always best to try to bring the pH back
towards neutral or normal.
Remember that sweating and dirt can
raise the pH toward the alkaline side, so a neutral to slightly acidic
pH product works best for cleaning and protecting the horse’s skin and
hair. Although a more alkaline product may seem to clean better, it
simply strips away all natural oils and opens up the cuticles, possibly
causing hair shaft damage and making an environment in which funguses
and bacteria can more readily establish themselves.
If there’s a
question about a specific product, it’s best to contact the
manufacturer and ask for a copy of the MSDS (Material Safety Data
Sheet), which should contain the pH of the product in question. Or, you
can test any solution or substance with a simple pH meter or litmus
paper test. Also, the term ‘pH-balanced’ can, unfortunately, be twisted
to mean what the manufacturer wants it to mean. Unless a reference
point is provided, pH-balanced may be misconstrued. As an example,
since horse’s hair and skin is normally around 7 to 7.4, a pH-balanced
shampoo should be close to neutral to ‘balance’ the pH back to normal.