The Mysterious Acid Mantle…

Our Acid Mantle is a delicately balanced mixture of sweat, oil, and our Natural Moisturisation Factor {NMF; which is basically hyaluronic acid}. Sometimes called the Hydrolipic Film, it sits on the surface of our skin and is produced by the skin itself. Each component provides a crucial action in protecting our skin.

The primary function of the Acid Mantle is protection. It protects our skin from outside aggressors like bacteria and toxins from entering the skin and inhibits active ingredients from penetrating too deeply. Our Acid Mantle also protects our skin from dehydration, by locking in and preventing evaporation of much needed moisture. The Acid Mantle preserves the integrity and homeostasis of our skin’s ecosystem.


The Acid Mantle has a slightly acidic pH {Big surprise there, right?}. Most skins sit between 5.4 and 6.2 on the pH scale, but can be more alkaline {as per a more sensitive skin} or more acidic {as in the case of an oilier skin} .

Professional skin care, recommended by a licensed Skin Care Professional, is created to leave the skin pH balanced. pH balanced skin is able to maintain the Acid Mantle and protect and nurture itself accordingly. Certain products {eg peels} work on a lower pH to affect a better result. However, subsequent products in your treatment will bring the pH back to it’s correct level to reinstate the precious Acid Mantle.

Some products in our daily routines, if not suited to our skin types, can throw the pH out of balance. This is a problem, especially if we use them regularly and for an extended period of time. If we have a dry skin type and use a foaming cleanser {Or soaps, yes, even Dove with 1/4 moisturizer, which are notorious for depleting the Acid Mantle} designed for an oily skin the result is that too much oil {which is already in short supply} is removed. This causes the delicate ratio/pH of the Acid Mantle to be out of balance. So our skin is now  unable to protect itself effectively. Active ingredients and aggressors are able to penetrate the skin more deeply, which can lead to sensitivities and reactions. Flakiness, inflammation, redness, itchiness, tightness are all possible signs of a depleted Acid Mantle and, more than likely, a sensitized skin.

All too often clients who perceive their skin to be sensitive actually have a sensitized skinThe skincare they are using has compromised their Acid Mantle. {This isn’t to say that true sensitive skins don’t exist though. They do, and should be treated accordingly.}

And don’t forget an over-abundance of oil can be a sign of a weakened Acid Mantle also. Your skin is very clever. I know clients with Oily Skins love that squeaky clean feeling, but if you are taking away too much oil, your super smart skin, knowing that it needs oil to protect itself and hold in moisture, will overcompensate and produce excess oil a few hours later. {Ever get an oily shine around midday or mid afternoon?} This excess oil can lead to impaired barrier function, which means aggressors and bacteria can penetrate the skin. This can result in breakouts, flakiness and  sensitized skin, too.

Sensitized skins can be remedied quite quickly by starting on a regime that is appropriate for your skin type. Starting a regime that is suited to a sensitive skin can ease the transition in some cases. More than likely your next collection of products will not be for a sensitive skin! Your skin will be stronger and able to protect itself!

I hope this helps to solve some skin mysteries! Of course, the best situation if you are having skin issues is to contact a SkinCare Specialist and schedule for a consultation or Skin Analysis. Call me if you need some help!

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