What is the Acid Mantle?
The acid mantle was coined by two physicians in Germany in 1928. It is described as a very fine film on the surface of your skin. The film is made up of oil, sweat, dead skin cells, water, and amino acids. Located in the Stratum Corneum where signals are sent to the rest of the skin if the barrier function is disrupted. The acid mantle is the skin’s way of protecting itself from bacteria, environmental pollutants, and moisture loss know as TEWL.
Fact about the Acid Mantle
Many people also refer to the acid mantle as a hydrolipid film. This film keeps the skin soft and subtle with no cracks or abrasions by maintaining the skin’s hydration levels. The acid mantle also secretes natural enzymes that break down sebum. It is acidic in nature to prevent alkaline contaminants from penetrating and damaging the skin. A neutral pH is a seven, and a healthy acid mantle should have a pH of 5.5. An unbalanced pH is a breeding ground for bacteria to grow. On top of the use of alkaline products, dust, sun damage, pollutants, heating and air conditioning, over exfoliating, and harsh dermatological treatments can damage the acid mantle. A damaged acid mantle can lead to dehydration, excess oil production, acne, sensitivity, pre-mature aging, and inflammation. It can take up to two weeks to repair a damaged acid mantle.
In the treatment room
When choosing products and treatments that will repair and maintain the acid mantle it is good to focus on cleanser, toners, and moisturizers. Cleansers that are gentle gel or foaming cleansers will not alter the skins natural acidic nature. Toners that are free of bad alcohols will not strip the skin of its essential water and amino acids. Moisturizers with fatty acids as emollients and ceramides will help restore and maintain the moisture levels of the skin keeping the acid mantle intact. A damaged acid mantle can be a contraindication for some products and treatments.
The Acid Mantle:
Milady’s Fundamental Esthetics