About Your Acid Mantle...

Baby, were you born this way? Or did you unknowingly bring on sensitive skin yourself?

Beware of skin fads. They could be doing more harm than good.

Beware of skin fads. They could be doing more harm than good.

This post is dedicated to our acid mantle. What’s that, you say? Well that is the protective film of natural oils, sweat, and amino acids that cover your skin. We already know that scrubbing and working our face into a sudsy lather is a huge no but let’s take this a bit further.

If you scrub away this protective film, it will leave you susceptible to inflammation, allergies, and/or breakouts. Same goes for neutralizing it with alkaline washes which hamper the skin’s ability to repair itself and makes it less elastic. Which is exactly what we don’t want!

The New York Times recently published an article called All of Those Products Are Making Your Skin Worse. Writer Courtney Rubin interviews Nicolas Travis, founder of skincare brand Allies of Skin, who said he gets many people asking him about their sensitive skin issues. More often than not, the problem is a broken-down skin barrier from using too many poorly-formulated products, he said.

There are some great nuggets in the story:

“Christian Surber, a professor of dermatopharmacology at the universities of Basel and Zurich and an author of studies on the acid mantle, suggests avoiding products with a pH of more than 7. This doesn’t mean the lower the pH the better; skin pH is about 5.5 and ability to tolerate more acid depends on both your skin and how well the product is formulated.

Skin grows more alkaline as we age — activating enzymes that chew away, Pac-Man-like, at collagen — and acidic products can restore pH, protecting against droopy skin and the development of wrinkles.”

This is why it’s important to beware of skin fads such as the 10-step Korean regimen which Surber called “an ordeal for the skin.”

Once again we hear this message: there’s no need to be fancy with your skincare regime. Ceramides are good, as are products with glycerin, petrolatum and hyaluronic acid.

You really don’t need the other stuff and while we get that splurging on the it cream of the moment can make ourselves feel great, it could be doing more damage than good.

And, as a dermatologist pointed out in the aforementioned story, as basic as it sounds, using a good moisturizer within a minute of cleansing to trap in hydration will do a world of good.