You’ve probably heard the term ‘acid mantle’ in various articles about skin care, but understanding what it is and how to protect it are integral to having beautiful, smooth and radiant skin.
So what is the acid mantle…
The acid mantle, or hydro lipid film, is a fine film on the surface of your skin with a slightly acidic pH of between 4.5 and 6.2 and it forms a protective barrier against viruses, bacteria and other toxins. It secretes a mixture of fatty acids, oils, amino acids, lactic acid and natural moisturising factor - your skin's own moisturiser. Topical products, especially harsh cleansers, sun, air conditioners, antibiotics and dust can very easily disrupt this protective film and leave your skin irritated, open to infection and red.
How do you keep it healthy…
Oil-cleansing. Instead of harsh and stripping foaming cleansers, switching to a natural oil based cleanser, which will feed the hydro-lipid layer and keep it intact. This is definitely worth baring in mind even for acne-prone oily skins, as sometimes acne can be a result of an impaired acid mantle.
Limit exfoliation. Even a mild abrasive action such as rubbing a hot flannel over your face can disrupt or worsen a damaged acid mantle. If your skin is red, inflamed, stings and feels dry post-wash, stop with the exfoliation and let your skin recover. The idea of 'squeaky clean' skin is something to let go of if you want a healthy acid mantle.
Essential Fatty Acids. EFA rich serums, oils and hyaluronic acid are key ingredients for repairing the function of the skin. They are anti-inflammatory, very moisturising due to high lipid content and offer protective benefits. As well as topical application, eating EFA found in oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds is a great benefit.
Sun block. Again! Protect what you’ve cared for with a quality sun block that has broad band UVA and UVB protection.
Diet. Again too! Nourish your body from within with a varied and balanced diet full of fresh, brightly coloured vegetables, low GI fruits such as berries, oily fish, nuts, seeds and a daily dose of quality supplements including collagen peptides, co enzyme Q10 and magnesium.