Shield Your Skin From Irritants: How to Create a Strong Acid Mantle
Your skin has an acid mantle, which is actually a thin layer that protects your skin. Having a skin pH level less than or higher than 5.5 inhibits your body's ability to produce lipids, also known as fat. Lipids produced by your body maintain a healthy barrier against germs and other irritants that cause allergies and other skin conditions like acne and eczema and bacteria and organisms like staph and candida.
If you are washing your face too often, using soaps or cleanser that are too harsh, you're probably washing away this strong, protective barrier.
Tips to keep your skin acid mantle strong and balanced
Skincare products that are pH balanced support a healthy skin barrier. You can also turn to our selection of CherylLeeMD products for skin care products that are carefully pH balanced, non-toxic, and free of the 88 most common allergens found in skin care. Or, explore our other top-rated skin care lines including Obagi Medical, Obagi Rx, SkinCeuticals and EltaMD to find the cleansers, sunscreen, eye care, and serums that are right for you. If you have severe skin issues, you should consult a physician or dermatologist to prescribe or recommend treatments and healthy regimens, and you can ask whether they feel you should have your skin’s pH tested. You can set up a convenient, confidential consultation with a dermatologist affordably online with telemedicine companies like TellaDermMD.
What does the skin acid mantle do?
Your Skin's Natural Defense
Your skin relies on its ability to produce lipids, or fats, to maintain a healthy barrier against irritants and germs. If your skin pH is higher than 5.6, the enzymes that create those lipids can’t function, leaving your skin dry and vulnerable.
Within your skin barrier, antimicrobial peptides are created that fight off bacteria and organisms like P. acnes, staph and candida. But they, too, can only function in a pH of 4.6-5.6. What’s worse is that all those bad bugs thrive in an alkaline pH, and all of them are associated with conditions like eczema, acne, rosacea, and intertrigo.
Slightly acidic skin pH inhibits inflammation. In fact, babies born with a genetic tendency for eczema may never develop an acid mantle, which leads to them developing eczema.
Skin allergies are much more common in people with a skin pH that is too alkaline, which is why eczema patients are also much more likely to have skin allergies. (For instance, 24% of non-eczema sufferers develop nickel allergies, whereas 90% of eczema patients are allergic to nickel.
Sloughing Dead Skin
Your skin’s pH affects what is called “cellular differentiation”, or the process by which your skin changes the outermost skin cells to form a healthy and constantly-renewing barrier. When your pH is too alkaline, it disturbs the amount of calcium in the skin layers, and that renewal process can’t function properly. Now that that's out.