Ever wondered why your skin acts weird and crazy on some days? Well, many of us may not realise this but the acid mantle determines the way our skin behaves. Your skin can totally flip out, causing havoc on your skin, if the acid mantle is disrupted. We lay down the details on why it is so important to maintain the acid mantle of our skin. Before getting into the details, let us first understand what an acid mantle means.
WHAT IS AN ACID MANTLE?
The Acid mantle is the top layer of the skin, which acts as a protective barrier against the harmful bacteria, irritants and cellular water loss. It is made up of sweat, natural oils and dead skin cells. The acid mantle is your first line of defence that shields your skin and prevents the harmful impurities from penetrating into the skin’s surface.
When your acid mantle is stable, your skin will feel soft and supple, giving it a dewy and radiant look. When your acid mantle is upset, your skin could become dry and irritated, resulting in loss of moisture or a burst of acne.
One of the basic steps often overlooked in our skin care routine is our cleanser. We do not realise that our cleanser could be the main culprit that can upset the acid mantle. When we use cleansers that are not pH balanced, it can distress your acid mantle. This will thus prevent your skincare products from working more effectively.
HOW CAN I CHECK THE PH OF MY CLEANSER?
Most Korean skincare products come with low pH, so you do not have to worry about picking a Korean cleanser. If you want to check your pH level, you can get a pH measuring slip from a store and check.
pH paper holds a chemical that changes colour if it comes in contact with an acid or base. It comes with a colour chart that will determine the pH range. You just have to dip the pH strip into the product you want to test. Remove the paper and compare with the colour chart. If it is blue, it indicates a basic product. If it is towards the red, it means it is acidic.
The pH scale has a range of 0-14. A neutral pH level sits at 7. When the pH level goes above 7, the acid mantle turns alkaline. At this stage, your skin loses its ability to fight the bacteria that causes acne. So, you may experience dry skin and acne break outs at the same time. Along with acne, skin may become flaky, dull and irritated. Fine lines and rough patches also appear on the skin.
When the pH level moves below 7, your skin becomes too oily and greasy. It leads to more acne breakouts, leaving the skin more sensitive and inflamed.
HOW TO MAINTAIN THE ACID MANTLE OF OUR SKIN?
The pH level of your skin is responsible for maintaining the acid mantle. One of the main culprits of disrupting the acid mantle is the over use of cleansers and exfoliations. Using harsh products can strip the skin of its natural oils and dehydrate the skin. Skipping the sunscreen can damage the skin barrier and affect the acid mantle of our skin.
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT DAMAGING THE PH LEVEL OF YOUR SKIN?
When we use products with high pH level, it can damage the skin barrier. Prolong use of these harsh irritating products can disrupt the acid mantle of our skin, causing acne and other skin disruptions. Over cleansing, over exfoliation, stress and hormonal imbalance can also upset the acid mantle. So, avoiding all these can keep our skin healthy and pH balanced.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN OUR ACID MANTLE IS NOT BALANCED?
If you have gastritis, you cannot have food or you do not feel good. Gastritis strikes when the pH level of your stomach goes out of whack. Our skin reacts the same way. When the pH level of our skin is affected, it is not able to absorb the skincare products very well. So, it is very important to maintain the pH level of our skin.
HOW TO RESTORE THE SKIN’S ACID MANTLE?
The best remedy to restore damaged acid mantle is to reset your skincare regime. This means to stop your skin care regime, and detox your skin for 2 weeks.
During this detox period, stick with the basics – cleanse, tone, moisturize and do not skip the sunscreen ever. And when you detox, remember to avoid all kinds of active ingredients or acids. Skip AHAs like lactic acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid and BHA like salicylic acid, vitamin C or retinols.
Nourish your skin with hydrating toners and moisturizers as much as possible. Do not leave your skin bare as they can upset the acid mantle.
When your acid mantle is more stable, you can resume a gentle skincare routine. You will know when your skin is ready. So, you can begin to incorporate one product after another slowly into your skincare routine. With time, you will notice a healthier, and a more radiant skin.
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