Of the Acid mantle Protects the skin from drying out and from micro- and noxious organisms through a hydrolipid film formed from sebum and sweat glands with a pH value of around 4.5. He is also under the term Fat film known, whereby the eponymous acid is assigned less protective function than under the concept of the protective acid mantle.
The protective acid mantle protects the skin from drying out by a hydrolipid film formed from sebum and sweat glands with a pH value of around 4.5.
In medicine, the definition of the term protective acid mantle is controversial because a large number of pathogenic bacteria also feel comfortable in an acidic environment and can multiply there. This concept is mainly spread by the manufacturers of supposedly “pH-friendly” personal care products for product differentiation.
The skin protection mechanism produces sweat and fat all day. Sweat contains organic acids and sebum fatty acids. These two “helpers” regulate the pH value in a range between 4 and 6. Since this protective function is distributed like a coat over the whole body and is located in an acidic pH environment, the definition is self-explanatory. The medical specialties are Dermatology and physiology.
The skin is the largest and therefore most important human sensory organ. It protects our body and serves as a contact surface with our environment. Healthy skin has an effective protective acid layer, which acts as a barrier to protect the human organism from the penetration of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, allergens and chemical substances.The protective skin coat ensures a balanced moisture balance and protects against external environmental influences such as heat, cold and injuries.
The skin is a sensory organ that enables people to perceive sensory impressions such as warmth, cold, pressure and pain through touch. The skin barrier in the form of the protective acid mantle is one of the most important components of human skin and is closely related to the cornea. It is built up similar to a wall structure in which several layers of horn cells are held together by epidermal lipids (horn fat). The denser this bond, the more resistant the skin is.
The protective skin coat consists of a thin film of fat and water covering the horny layer. It is made up of parts of the horny cells as well as sweat and sebum. The environment of the protective acid mantle is slightly acidic due to perspiration. This requirement is ideal for the balanced bacterial balance of a healthy skin flora. Unwanted and harmful foreign germs in the form of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms cannot multiply and penetrate the body with an intact protective acid mantle.
The protective acid mantle protects against alkaline substances and foreign germs. Without an acidic environment, the pH value would rise to 9 or 10 and develop into an ideal breeding ground for foreign germs, as they feel very comfortable in an alkaline environment.
However, medical professionals assume that the protective function of the protective acid mantle is not exclusively due to a low pH value, but rather is due to the interaction of several secretions secreted by the skin glands. The protective film of the skin created by the sebum and sweat glands contains water as its main component. Other ingredients are uric acid, urea bactericidal peptides, electrolytes and fatty acids. This interaction creates an ideal synergy to prevent the growth and reproduction of non-resident microorganisms in the form of a chemical barrier. The fats secreted by the sebum are stored in the horny layer of the skin and make it supple and water-repellent.
When medicine talks about the pH value of the human skin, it means the thin layer of moisture on the skin, which consists of sebum and sweat, which forms the protective acid layer with a pH value between 4 and 6. This value indicates that the skin protection film has a slightly acidic environment in which a large number of beneficial bacteria feel comfortable.
This value can change with the reduction or increase in perspiration on the skin. This change depends on how a person eats, how much they move, whether they do sports or take medication. Sweat formation is therefore to a large extent involved in the formation of this protective mechanism.
The unpleasant odor associated with sweating is caused by the breakdown of skin bacteria. The pH value and thus the protective acid mantle react briefly with changes when people clean their skin with soap or use cosmetics. These products contain basic substances that help remove the oily layer of sebum on the skin. After a shower, the skin feels clean and fresh, but in reality part of the protective acid mantle has been removed in the form of natural skin oils. This is also due to the fact that water has a pH value of 7 and also attacks the protective acid layer when showering. In addition, these cleansing products remove the natural skin flora in the form of the beneficial lactic acid-producing bacteria, which are important for stabilizing the pH value.
Most manufacturers of cosmetic and personal care products like to advertise that their products are pH-neutral or even help to restore this value. However, this statement is a marketing strategy of the advertising industry. These supposedly acidic or pH-neutral products contain surfactants that remove from the skin what is actually supposed to protect: the sebum and fat film in the form of the protective acid mantle. This makes the skin more susceptible to the side effects of creams, soaps, and other personal care products.
If the protective acid mantle is sensitively disturbed and the pH value is out of balance, allergies, skin irritations, skin blemishes, eczema, abscesses and inflammations can develop on this basis. Although a healthy skin flora restores an unbalanced pH value and a protective acid mantle within a few hours, care should be taken during body care not to stress the skin through excessive cleaning. The hygiene would then be counterproductive.