What Is the Acid Mantle?
What is your acid mantle?
The acid mantle is a very thin, slightly acidic coating that forms on the surface of human skin and serves as a barrier to bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful pollutants. The sebaceous gland secretes sebum, which when combined with sweat forms the acid mantle. The microbiome of our skin serves as our first line of defense against disease, infection, and pathogens. The microbiome, also known as our ‘acid mantle’ in the skin world, has a pH of 4.5-5.5, which is great for stopping alkali-loving bacteria.
The acid mantle’s composition is slightly acidic, due to the combination of amino acids from sweat and triglycerides, fatty acids, and wax esters found in sebum. So it’s normal that your skin barrier is slightly acidic. This acidity (the acid mantle) acts as a buffer against the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungus that can injure your skin and cause infections and other skin disorders. The acid mantle is mainly a chemical barrier.
Why is it important to my skin?
The acid mantle’s primary function is to keep good things (like moisture) in while keeping bad things (like germs and pollution) out. Consider it a necessary shield—the unseen face mask you didn’t realise you were wearing. There is a liquid material inside cells, however the pH of this liquid is maintained and is unaffected by external / environmental influences. When we talk about the pH of our skin, we’re actually referring to the pH of an ultra-thin moist film barrier that sits on top of it. Some helpful bacteria thrive in this damp atmosphere. The volume and quality of our perspiration can cause a modest alteration in the pH of our skin. This is directly related to what (and how much) we drink and eat, as well as whether or not we participate in sports or other physical activities, and whether or not we take any medications. A high-fat, high-protein ketogenic diet, for example, can cause your sweat to become more acidic.
What information can I find on keeping my Acid Mantle healthy?
There are many blogs dedicated to the protection of your skin’s natural layer of defence. The acid mantle and skin’s normal pH can be disrupted by a number of events. This can cause skin to become dry, red, irritated, and even look older. Among the most common are:
Cleansers and soaps: Cleaning can raise the pH of the skin, causing damage to the acid mantle, but it normally returns to its natural pH after a few hours. The pH of a product, as well as the sort of cleansing agents utilised, can have a big impact on this “return rate.” Because synthetic cleansing bars, such as Dove Beauty Bar, are slightly acidic/neutral and contain milder cleansers than a traditional bar of soap, they quickly return skin to its natural pH after usage. Other bar soaps have a higher pH, which means that skin takes longer to recover to its natural state after use.
Your age: The pH of skin can be affected by aging, according to research. Our skin’s pH fluctuates throughout our lives, from near neutral for newborns to somewhat acidic (lower pH) within the first year, and then gradually becomes more alkaline (higher pH) as we become older. The acid mantle can be weakened when pH rises with age.
Skin disease: Higher pH and a disordered acid mantle are linked to inflammatory skin illnesses such atopic dermatitis (eczema), rosacea, and acne. The importance of maintaining a normal pH level when treating these illnesses cannot be overstated.
How do you fix or repair the acid mantle?
Switch to gentle cleansers that contain fatty acids, ceramides, and other barrier-repairing substances that cleanse skin without eroding the acid mantle, as Dr. Hayag recommends. Replace your bar soap with a syndet bar for the body, which has a lower pH and is softer on the skin. Consider how you exfoliate: Limit your use of exfoliating products, and if you must, avoid scrubs, which can harm your skin, and instead “choose for chemically exfoliating acids like salicylic, glycolic, and lactic acid,” according to Dr. Lee and apply the proper moisturisers: Some studies suggests that using a slightly acidic skincare product can help to balance out an increased skin pH and improve the acid mantle, but most skincare companies don’t reveal the pH of their products. “Use moisturisers that have compounds like hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and probiotics,” Dr. Hayag advises, rather than focusing on the pH of the product. If you have a skin condition then it’s always recommended to consult a medical professional: Some acid mantle abnormalities are linked to the inflammatory skin illnesses discussed above. So it’s always a good idea to speak with your dermatologist about any specific issues you have to get treatment options.
You can purchase creams that are made up of the same materials as your Acid Mantle, which can include:
- Aluminum Sulfate
- Calcium Acetate
- Trisodium EDTA
- Cetearyl Alcohol
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
- Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate
- Synthetic Beeswax
- Mineral Oil
- Aluminum Sulfate
- Calcium Acetate
- Trisodium EDTA
And of course, good old H2O (water).
How does protein create a mesh framework in the skin?
Collagen is the most frequent structural component found in the dermis. It creates a mesh-like framework that provides strength and flexibility to the skin. Collagen fibers are able to retain water and supply moisture to the epidermis because of glycosaminoglycans, which are moisture binding molecules. Elastin, a coil-like protein distributed throughout the dermis, is another protein that allows the skin to return to its former shape after stretching. Elastin, in other words, is responsible for the skin’s elasticity. Blood arteries, lymph vessels, neurons, and mast cells are all intertwined throughout the dermis. Mast cells are specialised cells that play a key part in the skin’s inflammatory response to invading microbes, allergies, and physical trauma.