In a previous blog post we warned about the dangers of using products with high acidity like lemon or citrus juice and high alkalinity like baking soda. To further explain the right pH to use on your skin for the most effective results for fighting acne and other skin issues, let’s talk about the acid mantle.
What Is The Acid Mantle?
The acid mantle is the skin’s way to protect itself from bacteria, environmental pollutants, and moisture loss. The acid mantle is made up of natural oils, sweat, and dead skin cells, and is slightly more acidic in nature to prevent these harmful (naturally alkaline) contaminants from penetrating and damaging the skin.
Why Is The Acid Mantle Important?
It is important to maintain the acid mantle, as a damaged acid mantle can lead to dehydration, oily skin, acne, and sensitivity. When the acid mantle is damaged it takes up to 2 weeks to repair itself, assuming that no other damaging products are being used.
Skin with a healthy acid mantle has the pH of 4.6-5.5 (the pH scale of 1, acid, to 10, alkaline). If the skin’s pH rises closer to 7.0, it becomes less functional to kill bacteria, which leads to acne causing bacteria to multiply rapidly in the skin. As the acne bacterium multiplies, the skin can’t keep up with the growth leading to more and more breakouts.
How can you damage the acid mantle?
With cleansers and products that are too high on the pH scale. Many commercial cleansers are highly alkaline, usually close to baking soda, 8.0, but some can even be as high as ammonia! When using a damaging cleanser, it changes the pH of your skin for a short time, about 20 minutes until it recovers, but with long-term use of the products, it can prevent the skin from maintaining its optimal pH levels. Find a cleanser in the pH range as close to the skin as possible to maintain healthy skin. A good cleanser cleans the skin without stripping it of oils or damaging the acid mantle.