Our skin is naturally designed to fight infection and environmental stresses and its ability to do so is affected by its pH level. The pH level of the skin refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. On a scale of 1-14, with 1 being the most acidic to 14 being the most alkaline, 7 is considered a neutral reading for your skin’s pH. Our skin has a thin, protective layer on its surface, referred to as the acid mantle. This acid mantle is made up of sebum (free fatty acids) excreted from the skin’s sebaceous glands, which mixes with lactic and amino acids from sweat to create the skin’s pH, which ideally should be slightly acidic – at about 5.5.
Many factors can interfere with the delicate balance of the skin’s acid mantle, both externally and internally. As we age, our skin becomes more acidic in response to our lifestyle and our environment. Everything that comes in contact with our skin (products, smoking, air, water, sun, pollution) can contribute to the breaking down of the acid mantle, disrupting the skin’s ability to protect itself.
Maintaining the Acid Mantle Optimal pH Skin Care: the acid mantle is an effective form of protection, but if your pH level is too alkaline or too acidic, the mantle is disturbed and skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema , and rosacea may result.