This month we’re talking all about toning – the how, why, and when. One major benefit of toning is its ability to help protect and maintain the skin’s acid mantle… but not a lot of people know what the acid mantle is! Cue: today’s blog post.
First off, what is the acid mantle?
Your skin’s acid mantle is the thin film on the skin’s surface that helps act as a barrier against bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. It also holds in moisture and liquid, retaining the skin’s hydration levels. The acid mantle is actually made up of sebum – that waxy, oily substance that is secreted by the sebaceous gland under the skin. When the acid mantle is mixed with amino acids from sweat, this creates our skin’s pH level.
What does the acid mantle do?
- Acts as barrier between skin and viruses, bacteria, impurities
- Helps maintain hydration and moisture for supple skin
- Helps protect skin from abrasions and cracks
While an excess in sebum can lead to unwanted oiliness and clogged pores, sebum is essential to make up the acid mantle and therefore protect the skin. Harsh, soapy and foaming cleansers can be damaging to the acid mantle, as they strip away ALL oils of the skin – including the sebum that makes up the skin’s protective barrier. This leaves your skin susceptible to bacteria and environmental stressors!
This is why we opt for oil cleansing. Oil cleansing breaks down EXCESS oil, but does not completely strip away all oil of the skin. The oil that makes up the acid mantle is therefore still able to do its job and protect your skin!
What is pH?
PH (potential of hydrogen) is a chemistry term that refers to the acidity or basicity of something. A pH less than 7 is considered acidic, and higher than 7 is basic, or alkaline. Your skin’s pH is not just affected by the skincare products you use, it can be largely affected by your diet, environmental factors, and so much more!
What’s the relation between pH and skin?
When the pH of the skin’s acid mantle is balanced, it is able to better protect itself. When unbalanced, however, your skin can be a breeding ground of bacteria, experience breakouts, be too oily, dry, sensitive, or red, wrinkle prematurely, etc.
How does toning maintain the acid mantle?
The ideal pH of our skin is around 5.5-6, a range where it remains slightly acidic. When this pH is tampered with by environmental stressors, harsh products, or internal factors, your skin is likely to become overly oily or dry. Toning helps to rebalance the pH of the skin, keeping the acid mantle in tip top shape.
How our Raspberry Vinegar Toner can help:
We recommend the Raspberry Vinegar toner to those with oily or acne-prone skin because this toner is slightly acidic at a pH of about 3.5. If your skin is overly oily, your acid mantle may be too alkaline. The acidity of this toner will help to lower the pH balance of the skin, therefore reducing excess oil production that can lead to clogged pores, acne, and other blemishes.
On the contrary, if the skin’s pH is TOO acidic, it can become dry or inflamed. That’s when our Rosewater Facial Toner comes into play. The Rosewater Toner has a pH of about 5.5 – right in the range for healthy skin! This toner is more hydrating than our Raspberry Vinegar toner – but they are both suitable for sensitive skin! Honestly, we love mixing the two of them.
How to restore your skin’s acid mantle:
Whether you over-exfoliated or have naturally dry skin due to a weak acid mantle, there’s a few steps you can take to rebuild your skin’s protective barrier. Ready to reboot?
1. Stick to oil-based cleansers
Foaming, soap-based cleansers with astringent properties can strip away the oil that makes up your acid mantle. Try swapping those acidic cleansers out for oil cleansers, like our Organic Facial Cleansing Oil. Oil actually breaks down oil, so you will still be cleansing the skin of excess oil, without breaking down the “good” oils that make up the acid mantle! Your skin should never feel tight after cleansing, it should feel clean and hydrated (if you’re following our direction)!
2. Tone, tone, tone
Toning is one of the quickest, easiest, and most effective ways to get your acid mantle game back on track! If you notice that your skin is feeling overly oily or you’re struggling with clogged pores and breakouts, you’ll want to reach for our Raspberry Vinegar Toner, which will help to reduce the acid mantle’s pH and lower the production of pore-clogging sebum. If you’re extremely dry and irritated, however, our Rosewater Facial Toner will help to bring moisture back to the skin and raise the skin’s pH a bit to a more hydrated and balanced level.
3. Use omega-rich moisturizers
Essential fatty acids help to make up the acid mantle. Therefore, simply by introducing moisturizers and serums rich in these essential fatty acids into your skincare routine, you can help to protect your skin and restore this protective barrier! Try introducing your skin to our omega-rich Golden Elixir or Chia Facial Oil.