Inflammation in your skin?
This could be an indication your acid mantle is impaired
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 is looking pretty unhealthy and you’re so exasperated, you want to throw out all your beauty products along with 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 really cool and really crucial all at the same time – the protective film is the skin’s primary defence against bacteria and is composed of sweat, sebaceous oil, and epidermal secretions. If disrupted, it becomes permeable to harmful bacteria, harsh ingredients, and pollutants.
This film is slightly acidic and serves many functions. It acts as an antiseptic, helping to inhibit the growth of bacteria which cannot survive in an acidic environment, and also 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. Apologies, we don’t mean to be showy here, but we do pretty much have all your skin concerns covered. Can we get a drum roll, please?
Getting to grips with your skin’s pH
Can we let you into a little 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 on your skin. There’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 that are consistent with the natural pH of your skin. 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 be avoiding ingredients and products that are too strong?
Higher pH ingredients, such as alcohol, certain acids like glycolic, witch hazel, and some surfactants are often referred to as astringents. They are damaging for your skin because they break down keratin, stripping your acid mantle’s delicate micro-flora, which increases the permeability of your skin.
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 really doing is causing your skin to temporarily swell, which dilates the size of the pore – skin that is more permeable 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, and many more serious 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 really surprised just how many popular brands fall into this category.
This is why it is critical to take your skin care into your own hands and become your own label detective.
What is an acid mantle 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 really 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, and they need to implement a good skincare routine with the correct products to keep inflammation out. The first place to start is keeping your acid mantle intact.
Can a cream balance the pH on my skin and restore an impaired acid mantle?
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, so to speak.
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, calming formulas with minimal additives and fragrance. Fortify Barrier Repair Cream is the perfect antidote – a nourishing, repairing moisturiser, designed to gently repair your barrier function and bring your delicate microflora back into balance.
- If you suffer from acne – or any sort of sensitivity for that matter – it is really important 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 the use of high SPF sunscreens, because the higher the SPF, the stronger the chemicals. We appreciate this is tricky, because environmental rays play a big part in inflammation, so wear sunglasses, a hat, and keep your skin well-covered.
- Your skincare routine should be all about creating 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. Bio Lipid Complex has been specifically formulated 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 in relation to your skin health, and that 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 a number of things you can do which we have discussed above, in order to bring your skin to a state of balance and harmony.