What is the Acid Mantle?

October 15, 2015


Did you know that your skin has a very fine, slightly acidic film protecting you from bacteria, viruses, and other potential contaminants that might otherwise penetrate the skin?

The acid mantle is a protective film created by a chemical reaction between the:

  1. Sebum: the oily substances produced by the sebaceous glands
  2. Sweat: the salt water produced by the eccrine glands
  3. Healthy bacterial flora of the skin: known as the Staphylococcus epidermis

This thin viscous fluid maintains and protects the overall health of our skin and hair and maintains an acidic PH anywhere between 4.5 and 5.5.

The acid mantle creates an inhospitable environment for external toxins such as viruses, fungal infections, allergens, pollutants, pathogens, and foreign bodies.

Why am I experiencing skin sensitivities?

Many environmental and hormonal factors can cause a disruption of the acid mantle, which can lead to skin irritations, sensitivities, dermatitis, rashes, acne, and even yeast infections.

  1. Excessive sweating: can disrupt the acid mantle. This is why it is common to experience athlete’s foot, yeast infections, rashes, and acne in areas on the body that experience increased sweating and moisture. The acid mantle is broken down, and pathogens and funguses are able to set-up shop on your skin.
  2. Hormonal imbalances: due to diet, lifestyle, or puberty can effect how your body builds its acid mantle. Weak defense systems make for opportunistic invasions from environmental invaders.
  3. Alkaline detergents and skincare products: washing the skin with moderately or high alkaline soap or detergents (cleansers that foam are typically high in detergents) is the most common human error that strips the acid mantle. Shampoo running down the face is another common sources of detergent exposure.

*Chronic alkalization can knock the acid mantle out of balance and lead to dermatitis and atopic skin diseases.

How do I achieve PH-abulous skin?

It is very important to exercise a skincare regime that is focused on supporting your acid mantle and achieving a balanced PH.

I often say, “It is about getting back to the original you”, and that is creating a skincare routine supportive of the evolutionary mechanisms your body has built to protect your skin from pathogens, fungi, and pollutants.  

Miiko Skin Co. Keys to Success.

  1. Avoid disruption of the acid mantle with a gentle cleanser that does not contain foaming detergents.
  2. Replace the mantle by using a toner that is the same PH as your skin.

We choose apple cider vinegar (in dilution) because it is a whole-plant-based natural ingredient that is the same PH as the skin. It also has naturally occurring alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA), an ingredient famous for keeping epidermal cells lying tightly upon each other and maintaining radiant skin.

Imagine your skin is a shingled roof on top of a house. Got it?

Now, imagine the shingles on this roof are the healthy cells of the dermis tightly sitting next to each other. The acid mantle would be the sealant on the shingles to prevent leaks and damage.

If the shingles are disrupted, your home is more vulnerable to rats, rodents, leaks, and damage. Similarly, if the acid mantle is disrupted younger skin cells are vulnerable to bad bacteria, pathogens, fungal infections, allergens, and pollutants.

A good ph-balancing toner represents regular rooftop maintenance. However, if the shingles have been lifted and damaged for a long time, you may be dealing with a more serious problem. Similarly, if you have a serious skin condition it is important to seek professional medical advice.