Why Protecting Your Acid Mantle Is So Important
Written by Kerry Benjamin
WHY PROTECTING YOUR ACID MANTLE IS SO IMPORTANT
Let’s talk about the skin’s first line of defense: the acid mantle. When it’s healthy, this natural protective layer on the skin’s surface is responsible for keeping all the good stuff like moisture in, and all the bad stuff like bacteria out. But when the acid mantle gets compromised, your skin becomes vulnerable to acne, redness and irritation. Find out what the acid mantle is, how it can get damaged, and what you can do to protect it.
WHAT IS THE ACID MANTLE?
The acid mantle is a thin film on the skin’s surface composed of natural oils, sweat and dead skin cells. Along with the microbiome, the acid mantle makes up the skin’s lipid barrier, which works to protect itself from harmful bacteria, environmental pollutants and moisture loss. The acid mantle is slightly acidic in nature to prevent naturally alkaline contaminants from penetrating and damaging the skin.
A healthy acid mantle has a pH of 5.5. When the skin’s pH balance is thrown out of whack and becomes either too acidic or too alkaline, it compromises the skin’s natural ability to protect itself, leading to dehydration, sensitivity and breakouts. Compromised pH levels also throw off the skin’s microbiome--the balance of bacteria that keep irritation and inflammation at bay.
HOW CAN YOU PROTECT YOUR ACID MANTLE?
Certain cleansers and skincare products contain harsh ingredients that strip away the skin’s natural oils, throwing off pH levels and compromising the skin’s acid mantle. As a general rule, toss foaming cleansers with harsh surfactants and opt for a pH-balancing cleanser like our PREBIOTIC GEL CLEANSER, formulated with a prebiotic complex that feeds the skin’s good bacteria and strengthens the acid mantle.
If your acid mantle is compromised, skip the complicated skincare routine and start over with the basics. Stop using your exfoliating products to let your skin rebalance, and keep it simple with a gentle cleanser and a ceramide-based moisturizer like our MICROBIOME RESCUE DAILY MOISTURIZER. After two weeks, slowly start adding in exfoliating ingredients 1-2x per week until your skin adjusts.