The best foundation you can wear
Is glowing healthy skin
Is sensitive skin a concern?
Or is your skin dry, red, inflamed or itchy?
Then chances are your acid mantle is out of whack.
This protective acid mantle is also referred to as the hydro-lipid film.
It’s a protective slightly acidic film that sits on the skins surface, acting as the interface between you and the world.
In the 1920’s, Macrhionini and Schade identified the acidity of the skin, which they called the acid mantle. They also found that this mantle discouraged the growth of fungi and bacteria; It wasn’t until much later that it was discovered that chronic alkalisation can knock this acid mantle out of balance, which can lead to inflammation, dermatitis and atopic skin diseases.
If you’re still finding the term acid mantle a little technical, let me try to help by giving you another scenario.
Have you ever washed your face with soap or an astringent cleanser, and experienced sensitivity or a tight, dry feeling?
That was your acid mantle being stripped and knocked out of balance.
As far as skin structure goes, I have to admit it’s pretty cool.
It’s a unique micro-flora that’s made up of strange secretions which cover the entire surface of your skin.
- The oily secretions originate in the sebaceous glands
- The water phase is from perspiration in the sweat glands, which exhibit a powerful bactericidal effect
- Secretions also come from our natural moisturising factor
All of which helps to keep your skin gorgeous and healthy.
The anatomy of your acid mantle
Your skin’s acid mantle is made up of the following:
- Lactic acid
- Urocanic acid
- Fatty acids
- Pyrrolidine carboxylic acid
- Eccrine glands which secrete amino acids
These friendly secretions, help with the metabolism of your skin.
- They protect against environmental assaults
- They secrete enzymes, that break down excess sebum in the skin
- They prevent bad bacteria and viruses from entering the blood stream
- They keep your skin soft and supple, so it stays free from cracks and abrasions
- They boost the immune system, which produces antigens close to the skins surface; these antigens retard the growth of bad bacteria, known as pathogens
Sadly like all things in life, there are always going to be things that upset the status quo and the acid mantle is no exception.
Our world is full of different environments, some of which unfortunately have an adverse effect on our skin.
Dust, sun damage, pollutants, central heating, air conditioning, harsh treatments and astringent products all contribute towards stress in the skin, which breaks down our cells natural defence mechanisms.
Our skins barrier function gets knocked out of balance, and the inter-cellular lipids between our cell walls, designed to keep this barrier intact break down, creating dry skin conditions.
Bacteria, allergens and foreign bodies find a passageway through your skin causing havoc, once they hit the blood stream they create inflammation, allergies and breakouts.
I often refer to the pH of the skin, because it’s the crucial factor for determining healthy bacteria and the level of acidity.
A neutral pH is 7, anything above that creates an ALKALINE environment, and anything below creates an ACID environment.
If your skin is healthy, it should have a pH of around 5.5.
But did you know, there is a good reason why your skin is so acid? It is because pathogenic bacteria thrive under alkaline conditions.
This is why it is really important that your skincare products are formulated without strong astringents, which have a real tendency to upset the delicate micro flora.
Ideally the ingredients within an acid mantle cream, must be gentle enough to keep your pH levels balanced, that is if you want your skin to remain nice and healthy.
THE NAKED TRUTH
I’m going to be honest here and I rarely knock competitors, but I often meet skincare manufactures and chemists who have never heard of the acid mantle, never mind know how to repair it.
Yet as manufacturers of good quality skin care products, I feel we do have a responsibility to truly understand the science of skin.
Otherwise how can we possibly expect to formulate products that get the desired results, which is healthy skin.
If you would like to know more about the acid mantle, the following article discusses its role in more detail and is a really good technical read.