It kind of blows our mind, but when it comes to skincare, the words “acid mantle” are not widely known in the general public.
Sure, every dermatologist is familiar with it, so why not spread the word!
We want to break down this barrier, today.
What on earth is your acid mantle?
And yes, you (and everyone) has one.
Your acid mantle is kind of a big deal. It is your first line of defence against everything that wants to hurt your skin.
It protects it from freezing cold winds, the blistering hot sun, bacteria and germs and all its other enemies. Plus, it keeps your skin soft and supple.
When your acid mantle’s intact, moisture stays locked in and germs, bacteria, the elements stay out. Your skin is healthy, soft and resistant (it tolerates everything). Think of it as a strong wall around a castle. Your face is the castle.
Problem is, the acid mantle is ALWAYS under attack. A dent here today, a knock there tomorrow and pretty soon your acid mantle breaks down all over the place.
Now moisture escapes through the cracks. Germs & bacteria wriggle in. Your skin becomes dry. Red. Flaky. Everything stings and irritates it like crazy.
How has this happened?
Here are just a few things that can damage your acid mantle:
- Harsh skincare products, like scrubs and soaps
- Harsh weather
- Over cleansing
- Air conditioning
- Over exfoliation
- Skin conditions like eczema
- Unprotected sun exposure
5 signs that your acid mantle could be compromised
- Clogged pores/blackheads
Do not despair. You can reverse this, repair the damage and get your castle wall back up. Say bye-bye to these symptoms. You don’t actually have to live with dry skin, breakouts, sensitivity and so on.
Step 1: Take a look at your cleanser
Here is something you may not know: almost everything you could possibly use to wash your skin can damage your skin’s acid mantle.
Water for example. Harmless right? The most natural and innocuous thing on this planet. It has a pH of 7. Wash your face with water alone and you’ll turn your skin’s pH up a notch or two (It likes to be slightly acidic, between 4.7 and 5.75.) Acid mantle damaged.
Good news: your skin is perfectly capable of restoring its acidic pH (and restore the acid mantle) on its own. Usually within a few hours.
Problem is, some cleansers are SO harsh, and you use them so often, your skin’s acid mantle can’t repair itself fast enough. Cue dryness, flakiness and irritation.
Try switching to an oil cleanser. Your acid mantle is partly made up of sebum, your bodys naturally secreted oil, so by using an oil-based cleanser, you are helping to replace this oil content (if you have dry or mature skin) which will balance and repair the acid mantle.
And yes, this will work for oily and breakout prone skin too!
Oil cleansing breaks down excess oil, but does not completely strip away all oil from the skin. The oil that makes up the acid mantle is therefore still able to do its job and protect your skin.
Step 2: Get back to basics
Give your skin a break. You may need to take it easy on the exfoliation, consider switching your retinol to a natural alternative, and above all, make sure you are using the correct skincare routine for your skin type!
We suggest the Nourishing Trio for dry, sensitive or mature skin. How do you know this is the routine for you?
A few signs could include:
- Skin feels tight and “squeaky clean” after cleansing
- Your skin is often red and irritated after applying product
- Tired and lacklustre is just the norm for your face most days
- Rough scaly patches show up way too often
If you find that your skin is more on the oily side, we suggest keeping it simple with our Supercharged Trio, specially formulated for breakout-prone and oily skin.
- Clogged/enlarged pores
- Excess oil when you wake up, throughout the day, ruining your makeup, you get it.
- Unwelcome breakouts
A few other things you can do to help heal your damaged acid mantle
As we mentioned before, keep your exfoliation to once a week, to prevent further drying out the skin. Aim for an all-natural, super gentle exfoliant that will dissolve dead, dry skin cells, and soften and smooth the skin underneath.
Always seal in moisture at some stage of your skincare routine, with the use of an emollient, like our Facial Oil, which is step 2 in both Nourishing and Supercharged Trios.
Try a humidifier. Low humidity may be a factor in drying your skin. Use a humidifier in rooms where you spend a lot of time. Adding moisture to the air can prevent your skin from drying. Make sure your humidifier is easy to clean, which can avoid bacteria buildup.
If you can, skip hot showers in favour of lukewarm ones. Hot water can damage your acid mantle by removing naturally occurring oils.
You may also find it beneficial to reduce your time in the shower to five to 10 minutes. This avoids unnecessary exposure to water, which can leave your skin drier than it was before you hopped in the shower.
Avoid showering or bathing more than once a day, as this can worsen dry skin.