Your skin possesses a built-in elaborate anti-oxidant defence system to deal with oxidative stress, especially exposure to UV rays from too much sun. When you can understand how this works you will be able to utilise a very powerful and in-built protection for your skin. And it’s free.
On the surface of the skin we have an invisible protective layer called the acid mantle. The purpose of the acid mantle is to keep bacteria away and protect the skin from all the “bugs” out there. Just like the lemon juice on the apple, this protective layer also protects your skin from oxidization and free radical damage. So your acid mantle is your built-in and no cost way of giving your skin anti-oxidant protection.
What Is The “Acid Mantle”?
The acid mantle is a combination of the sweat from your sweat glands and the sebum (your skin’s natural oil). The two are a gift from nature secreted onto the surface of your skin. Please take note: the difference between secretions and excretions – both being very important to the skin. Secretions are used by the body, where as excretions are substances the body has no use for, like toxins. The combination of these two secretions, sweat and sebum, form an acidic environment which provides protection for your skin from ‘bad bacteria and germs’. I use the word ‘bad’ bacteria because there are friendly bacteria and organisms living on our skin over our entire body. For example; did you know that there are microscopic ‘friendly bugs’ that live in our eyelash roots that clean out the follicles of our lashes to keep eyelashes healthy? This is a good reason to stop using harsh waterproof mascaras as you could be unknowingly killing off these useful and friendly guys. Like everything in nature there is a very delicate balance and unknowingly we often mess it up.
How Does The Acid Mantle Work?
Have you heard of the pH scale? You may have even seen this on some of your skin care products (pH balancing on products is a sign of a product less likely to damage your skin). The term pH stands for “potential in hydrogen”. The pH scale is used to measure the level of acid or alkaline using a scale from 0 to 14 – seven being neutral, zero being extremely acidic and fourteen being extremely alkaline. Your skin’s pH must be acidic (hence the name – ‘acid’ mantle). A good rule is … if it foams, it will strip. This also applies to the entire body. Remember the skin that doesn’t ‘stick out’ is also important. “Cleanliness is next to godliness” may have applied centuries ago but we have over done it when it comes to scrubbing away our acid mantles. We are literally scrubbing away our protection, a bit like what we are doing to our global protective layer … the ozone layer
Stop Using So Much Soap
In 1999 The Mayo Clinic Health Letter published an article saying we are drying out our skin and to take fewer baths and showers. Limiting to one a day, or even every other day if possible. And to use soap just on the bits that really need it. The reason you see now is the need to maintain your acid mantle. Avoid long hot showers as they will dry your skin and strip your acid mantle and forget the top-to-toe ‘soap up’! On the good side, showering does increase your circulation which assists in the elimination of wastes so … enjoy your shower without using soap. It might take a bit of getting used to but your skin will start to feel better immediately. If you really have to wash your body with something try …
Using a face washer, add 3 drops of your chosen essential oil to the cloth. Wet the face washer and in the shower use it to wash your body. No soap or shower gel needed as these will strip and disrupt the delicate pH balance. Essential oils are all anti-septic, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, some more than others, so they make the ideal and gentle cleanser for your body skin. Dry skin has a higher acidity and oily skin is more alkaline. Skin acidity helps maintain water in deep layers of the skin tissue keeping skin hydrated and moist.
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