Book Your Reservation

Skin & Laser Clinic

Call Us Today: (03) 9379 8585

The Acid Mantle

By in Dermal Blog with 0 Comments

The Acid Mantle……. Just what exactly is it?

Ever heard of the acid mantle but not exactly sure what this commonly discussed part of your skin actually is?

The Acid Mantle plays an important protective role and is your skins first line of defense yet many people really have little or no understanding of just what the skins acid mantle is.

Made up of your skins own oil (sebum), and amino acid rich perspiration to create a slightly acidic environment that resides on the outermost layer of the skin. Think of it almost like your skins own little ecosystem, and is an important player in a healthy skin barrier.

When at it’s preferred pH of 5.5 to 4.5 the acid mantle allows your skins own microflora to live in harmony with you whilst creating an uninhabitable environment for any other micro organisms such as bacteria that you may come into contact with so acne sufferers take note as all that scrubbing and harsh foaming cleansers may be doing more harm than good.

The acid mantle also plays a role in Vitamin D production from sun exposure due to the presence of a special fatty acid that the suns UV rays interact with and allowing for the conversion of vitamin D within the skin.

Other important functions of the acid mantle include keeping the skin lubricated, making it harder for toxic substances to be absorbed by our skin and to help hold moisture in the layers of epidermis of the skin for a more hydrated and well functioning skin.

Pretty amazing stuff yeah?

And not something we want to go and destroy, as so many skin conditions such as acne, dermatitis, and reactive reddened skins arise from an impaired or damaged acid mantle.

This skin often feels hot, burning and can be itchy with dry rough patches when the acid mantle is not in a balanced state. That tight feeling you get after washing your face with a foaming cleanser or soap is a sign of an acid mantle breaking down yet so many people think this is what “clean” skin should feel like.

Those with oily skin are probably the worst offenders for this, trying to strip back their oil yet only making their skin worse in the long run and more likely to break out with pimples as the skin can no longer defend itself from bacteria growth, as well as leading to a chronic inflammatory state.

So what can we do?
Firstly I encourage you to grab your cleanser and have a look at the ingredient list, does it contain one of the following:
Ammonium lauryl sulfate
Sodium lauryl Sulphate
Sodium laureth sulfate
or is it a bar of soap?

If you answered yes you need to bin that product asap, sorry but it is not doing your skin any favours.

Why you may ask?

These ingredients are surfactants, commonly found in dishwashing liquid and other common household cleaners due to their ability to break down fats/oils/grease. Does this sound like something we should be using to clean our skin with when it, itself is held together by lipids(fats)?

Surfactant ingredients are breaking your skin down, letting things get in that shouldn’t and stopping your skin from holding on to its own hydration.

Whilst bars of soap tend to be on the alkaline side adding to your skins inability to maintain the correct pH leading to not only possible irritation, but also leaving the skin more prone to infections.

We also don’t want to be over exfoliating the skin, and chemical peels should only be performed on a healthy skin with a well functioning barrier.

For lipid dry skins, looking for ceramides as part of the ingredient list on your moisturiser will help to repair and build a stronger skin barrier. Internal EFA’s (Essential Fatty acids) can also be of benefit due to their ability to make you sebum more viscous.

Marine collagen peptides can also help to improve not only hydration within the skin but also the skin barrier, adding support to the acid mantle. I highly recommend Vitasol 100% Pure Marine Collagen Peptides for those looking to support and improve the skin.

Alethea- Senior Dermal Clinician

For more information on how to repair a damaged acid mantle or for what else you can do to prevent this occurring, book in for a skin consultation where your skin can be assessed by a skin expert. Call The Dermal Solution and book in with our dermal clinician on 9379 8585

Share This
About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.