The Acid Mantle

Do you have spots, redness, dryness or ageing skin? Or… Do you skin feel Squeaky clean and tight after showing or cleansing?

If so, you need to understand something about The Acid Mantle!

What is it?

I’m guessing you may not have heard about this protective layer before, yet it’s fundamental if you want healthy hydrated and glowing skin.

The Acid mantle is the protective layer that sits on top of the outer most layer of the Epidermis. It is both over overlooked and an underappreciated aspect of healthy skin and one which is poorly understood by most consumers of skin care products. (and dare I say it the people selling it)

It’s a very fine, slightly acidic invisible film on the surface of human skin acting as a barrier to bacteria and any other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin. Sebum is secreted by the sebaceous gland and when mixed with sweat becomes the Acid mantle. It is our front line of defense against bacteria, viruses, toxins, pollutants, dust, pollen, etc. 

 It is also our main protector against trans epidermal water loss which simply means water or hydration escaping from the deeper layers of the skin – aka Dehydration! 

In short, this layer is the foundation for healthy skin and essential for all of us to care for & respect. 

Think of the Roof of a House Analogy . Keeping all the good things protected from the environment and keeping the elements out!

 Can you imagine how damaged and mouldy your house would get if you didn’t repair a damaged Roof? Everything would suffer, heat would escape, things would get in that shouldn’t and sooner or later everything would get pretty messy! 

Signs your Acid Mantle is damaged or the ‘Roof of your house is a leaky’: 

  1. Redness
  2. Flakiness
  3. Peeling
  4. Dryness (from lack of oil)
  5. Dehydration (from lack of water). 
  6. Tightness (dehydration from lack of water)
  7. Skin feels sensitive and gets easily irritated
  8. Increased rashes such as eczema 
  9. More prone to breakouts
  10. Premature Ageing

Or A mixture of all of the above

What causes it?

The most common cause of an impaired acid mantle in my experience is the use of harsh or unnecessary skincare ingredients. If you’re feeling squeaky clean or tight after cleansing, chances are you have an impaired acid mantle.

Other causes:

  • Nutritional Deficiency 
  • Harsh Ingredients -SLS’s, Alcohols, Silicones, Emulsifiers
  • DIY Skincare
  • Over exfoliation / Skin peels
  • Low Humidity environment (winter)
  • Genetics
  • Age 
  • Certain Medications such as antihistamines 
  • Fragrance in Skincare 
  • How Water used in cleansing
  • And many more…  

What can you do if you suspect you could have an impaired acid mantle? 

Our modern lifestyles take a BIG toll on our skin health. The good news is that it’s never too late to get the skin back into a healthy place, and if you’re making positive changes, you will most definitely see a big improvement. 

Until your repair the Acid Mantle all other skin protocols are unnecessary and procedures that impair it even further such as Microdermabrasion and Peels should be avoided.

Simply start by eliminating any harsh ingredients and immediately stop exfoliating.

If things don’t improve after a few weeks then It may be time to seek out a skin expert who can give you some personal advice and recommendations. 

Caution is advised when making any changes to your routine. Proceed slowly and with armed with sound knowledge and advice.

Need help with your skin or repairing your skincare barrier? Why not book an Online Skin Consultation with one of our skincare experts.