Is your skin sensitive and easily irritated?
Or maybe breakouts or acne inflammation is a concern?
Do you show signs of premature ageing? With lines, you’ve previously never seen before appearing everywhere?
Then chances are, your skin looks pretty unhealthy, and you’re so exasperated that you want to throw out all your beauty products and their false promises.
Fortunately, if you follow our advice, you could be on your way to beautifully balanced skin in no time at all.
The role of your acid mantle
Both sebum and sweat form a film on your skin known as the acid mantle.
This mantle is both excellent and crucial all at the same time – this protective film is the skin’s primary defence against bacteria. It is composed of sweat, sebaceous oil, and epidermal secretions. It becomes permeable to harmful bacteria, harsh ingredients, and pollutants if disrupted.
This film is slightly acidic and serves many functions. It acts as an antiseptic, helping to inhibit the growth of bacteria that cannot survive in an acidic environment and helps prevent toxic components from being absorbed into the skin.
In addition to helping to buffer the action of acid and alkaline chemicals, this film acts as the skin’s primary lubricant, controlling the hydration levels of the Stratum Corneum, your outer layer of the epidermis.
We have put together an entire article that explains everything you need to know about your acid mantle in detail.
Still, need more answers and want to drill down further on your skin concerns?
This article will help you get to grips with your skin’s barrier function – another reason your skin could be out of whack. We don’t mean to be showy here, but we do pretty much have all your skin concerns covered.
Getting to grips with your skin’s pH
Can we let you into a bit of beauty secret? pH is one of the most important things you should know about your skin.
The acidity or alkalinity of your skin surface is related to the chemical balance of the hydrolipidic film and is measured by the level of pH (potential hydrogen) present.
On average, your skin’s pH sits around 5.5 – which is slightly acidic – but it can range from 4.5 – 6.5 depending on your skin’s chemistry and the products you use. T
here’s a reason for this acidity; it inhibits the growth of harmful bacteria, and when this balance is even slightly off-kilter, believe us when we say it can be the cause of many a beauty woe.
So your skin is an acid mantle pH type thing.
So, let’s dig deeper and look at why skin pH is so important. If your skin is naturally acidic, then ideally, you should be applying products consistent with your skin’s natural pH. That makes sense, right? You don’t want to change the pH because this will disrupt your skin’s protective mantle.
The exception to the rule is when there is a specific treatment objective, such as exfoliating with a hydroxy acid – in this case, an acidic pH is required for the treatment to work.
For instance, in a facial, a skin professional giving a chemical peel will always bring the skin’s pH back to normal after the acidic treatment is completed.
Why should I avoid healthy ingredients and products?
Higher pH ingredients, such as alcohol, certain acids like glycolic, witch hazel, and some surfactants are often referred to as astringents. They are damaging to your skin because they break down keratin, stripping your acid mantle’s delicate micro-flora, which increases your skin’s permeability.
Manufacturers often use clever marketing claims to say they reduce pore size; this is one marketing claim that is a bugbear of ours. In reality, what these ingredients are doing is causing your skin to swell temporarily, which dilates the pore’s size- more permeable skin is more vulnerable to microorganisms.
Repeated use of skincare products that are not correctly pH balanced can create chronic skin conditions, including inflammation, dehydration, eczema, premature ageing, dry flay patches, irritation, pimples, pustules, and papules many more severe skin conditions.
From a clinical perspective, we are aware of quite a few skincare products on the market that are pH-inappropriate; whilst we are not in the habit of naming and shaming, we think you would be surprised just how many popular brands fall into this category.
It is critical to take your skincare into your own hands and become your label detective.
But what is an acid mantle repair cream?
If you’re a sensitive-skinned guy or gal like many of our clients, we suspect your skin has seen its fair share of frustrating flare-ups.
But repeated inflammation can affect the health of your skin and, in some cases, do irreparable damage.
We always advise our clients that inflammation is at the root of premature ageing. To keep inflammation out, they need to implement a good skincare routine with the correct acid mantle cream ingredients. The first place to start is to keep your acid mantle intact.
Can a cream balance the pH of my skin?
Whether one cream alone is enough or whether you need to implement a few new skincare practices and focus on layering will depend on the severity of your skin’s impairment; it is an individual skin thing.
Essentially what we mean by this is; how much has your skin been compromised? What level of inflammation currently exists in your skin? And has your lipid barrier been undermined?
When we address these concerns with our clients, we use a multi-pronged approach that you folks at home may like to consider:
- The first step is to bring your pH back into balance; the only way to achieve this is to use gentle, acid mantle cream with minimal additives and fragrance. Fortify Barrier Repair Cream is the perfect antidote – a nourishing, repairing moisturiser designed to gently improve your barrier function and bring your delicate microflora back into balance.
- If you suffer from acne – or any sensitivity – it is essential to treat the inflammation first and only then the breakout or condition. You cant work on a compromised skin without first repairing the protective barrier and bringing the acid mantle into a state of harmony.
- Avoid using high SPF sunscreens because the higher the SPF, the stronger the chemicals. We appreciate that this is tricky because environmental rays play a big part in inflammation, so wear sunglasses and a hat, and keep your skin well-covered.
- Your skincare routine should create an environment where your delicate microflora will once again flourish. You need to strengthen your skin using ingredients like copper peptides, which increase the density of your skin and return it to optimal health, so it’s less likely to suffer from damaging inflammation. DNA Complex is the next step up, a skin-restorative strengthening treatment that repairs fragile skin and signs of premature ageing.
- You may need to focus on barrier repair, especially if your skin is lipid-dry, itchy, or flaky. This can be done by restoring the protective film that coats your skin. Focus on building your skin’s resistance to pathogens and bacteria with an acid mantle repair cream or oil like Bio Lipid Complex formulated explicitly with skin-identical ingredients to bring your delicate microflora back into balance.
The Naked Truth
Bar soap for the body is at an alkaline pH that typically sits around 8.0-11.0 – this is far too alkaline when you consider your skin’s pH sits around 5.5. So, cleansing your face with body bar soap is a big no-no in our beauty book, which you can read all about here.
So, we now know the importance of the acid mantle to your skin health.
It is the acid/alkaline balance of the skin’s hydrolipidic film that reflects the overall condition of your skin – it is the first line of defence and the primary defence against bacteria.
If your skin is inflamed, prematurely aged, breaking out, dry, or flaky, then chances are, the delicate microflora is not balanced and healthy.
Fortunately, there are several things you can do, which we have discussed above, to bring your skin to a state of balance and harmony.