Balance is the foundation of life. When it comes to healthy skin, the element that arguably requires the most balance for optimal health and youthful resilience is the acid mantle.
In this article, you will learn:
- What is the Acid Mantle?
- What Happens When Your Skin’s Acid Mantle Becomes Unbalanced?
- How to Restore Your Acid Mantle
What is the Acid Mantle?
Also known as the hydrolipid barrier, the acid mantle is essentially your skin’s protective layer. It’s made up of an acidic film that keeps harmful bacteria and toxins out of your skin cells.
The acid mantle is a mixture of secretions and inoffensive bacteria that protect the skin from pollutants, UV rays, and temperature changes. It also adds moisture to the skin that helps with elasticity and secretes enzymes that help break down oil.
What Happens When Your Skin’s Acid Mantle Becomes Unbalanced?
If your acid mantle becomes disrupted, or even temporarily removed, your skin can react in any number of ways, including:
- Acid mantle and pH: Once there’s a problem with the acid mantle, the skin’s pH is out of balance, Susceptibility to bacteria, pollutants and harsh chemicals.
- Acid mantle and dry skin: Chronically dry skin is another common symptom as water escapes the skin faster.
- Acid mantle and acne: When thrown off, the skin becomes more prone to breakouts.
- Acid mantle and sensitive skin: Inflammation, redness, and irritation are more common side effects.
How to Restore Your Acid Mantle
It’s All About a Healthy pH
Keeping your pH level in check is ideal for the performance of our acid mantles. When it comes to keeping your skin at an optimal state, there are many simple things we can do that don’t require much effort.
Avoid Over Cleansing
Overcleansing can irritate the skin and can cause either surface dehydration or even more oil production, as your skin begins attempting to compensate for the dryness. It’s generally encouraged to cleanse once or twice a day (ask your esthetician what’s best for you), but avoid using harsh, drying treatments.
What’s the Best pH Friendly Cleanser?
So what kind of cleanser should you use if your skin is showing signs of an unbalanced pH? It’s important to note that it’s definitely possible to purify your pores without disturbing your skin barrier.
Try a clay- or milk-based cleanser to thoroughly dissolve makeup and other impurities while delivering fresh, hydrating balance back into your skin. The Geothermal Clay Cleanser contains Chilean soap bark to gently strip away impurities without removing the skin’s precious natural oils, while arctic sea clay detoxes and purifies for a clean complexion.
The Mandarin Cleansing Milk is another high-performance cleanser that’s infused with potent antioxidants that can help fade the appearance of dark spots and undereye circles as it rebalances the pH and acid mantle. After a quick cleanse with this energizing cleanser, radiance is restored.
Don’t Skip the Toner
Regardless of what cleanser you use, the best way for you to ensure an optimally-balanced pH is by toning after washing. Our best-selling signature product DEW refines your skin and restores your acid mantle back to its normal state.
The advantage of this luxury toner is that it keeps the pH in perfect harmony. Applying DEW daily allows you to combine the benefits of a complexion-enhancing primer and a moisturizing serum. With its rich complex of amino acids, lactic acid, and botanical ingredients, the skin’s pH is restored while it tightens pores, and offers a visibly healthy glow.
The word pH stands for “potential of hydrogen,” which measures how acidic and alkaline a substance is. Your skin generally needs to remain at a pH of 5.5, which is slightly on the more acidic side.
When you are under-hydrated, your pH levels often become unbalanced. To avoid this, it’s important to hydrate from within. That means drinking fresh water whenever you’re thirsty. As if we needed another reason to remind ourselves to drink more water! Staying hydrated is known to promote more restorative sleep, increase our metabolism by up to 30%, and help our bodies function as they should. Most importantly, healthy skin starts with healthy drinking habits, which is why it’s beneficial to set an alarm to remind yourself to take a sip every couple hours to ensure you’re hydrating your skin as much as possible from the inside out.
Besides drinking water, nourishing your body with a balanced diet is the next best thing you can do to promote a healthy acid mantle. Your skin is made primarily of fats and proteins, so opting for healthy fats from sources like organic avocados and walnuts in your meals can help your acid mantle function optimally. Taking collagen protein powder can also help repair your skin as collagen makes up the building blocks of your protective skin barrier.
Choose a Cream That’s Nourishing
Watch Out for Aggressive Ingredients
Everyone possesses different sensitivities, but there are a few ingredients notorious for causing irritation and redness, such as non-natural fragrances or anti-acne ingredients like benzoyl peroxide. Anytime you use a new skincare product, perform a patch test. We know it’s tempting to slather something new and promising all over, but patience is worthwhile in this case.
Also, do not add more than one product at a time. That way, if something causes a reaction, you’ll know what’s triggering it.
Don’t Mix Potent Ingredients
Be careful not to mix certain potent and active ingredients together, such as retinol and vitamin C or glycolic acid. Doing this can irritate your acid mantle and throw off your delicate pH, causing irritation and provoking your skin to become more sensitive to environmental factors.
Protect Your Skin
Applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen every day should always be your #1 anti-aging strategy, but it’s also an excellent way to nourish and defend your skin from aggressors that may cause irritation and disrupt your acid mantle.
It can take anywhere between two weeks and two months to fully restore the skin’s barrier after using harsh skin care and/or disrupting the acid mantle. Balancing our pH level is crucial for allowing the acid mantle to perform its best. This is one of the most important ways to care for our skin as it affects the overall health and appearance of our skin.
Mechanical engineer and Wharton MBA, Maya Crothers, began her career in corporate America where she worked in consulting and operations for a variety of Fortune 100 companies. After leaving the corporate world and moving to Jackson Hole, WY she found the need for high performance, clean skincare that could stand up to extreme environments. This led to her founding Circcell Skincare. She lives in Jackson Hole with her husband, two children and a menagerie of animals.