“Your skin is your body’s primary defense against infection. If you let your skin become dried out and unprotected you could be giving all sorts of bacteria a way in, which can lead to more serious problems.”
What causes excessive oiliness or dry skin? Usually something in the environment – or something you’re doing to your skin that’s stripping away lipids that the skin needs, leaving it unprotected.
With oily skin if you’re using a harsh cleanser or soap it can make your skin feel tight and dry at first but by the end of the day your excessively oily – your sebaceous glands have to compensate for lipids lost. For dry skin you may start to develop flakiness, dry patches and increased sensitivity. Basically with both skin types the pH in your skin is not balanced.
Let’s start with some skin basics. Normal healthy skin is coated in a thin layer of natural lipids, or fatty substances. They keep in moisture, leaving the skin soft and supple. Healthy skin is meant to have a pH in the range 4.5 to 5.5.
A majority of soaps, including today’s handmade varieties, are made from oils and lye or potassium hydroxide. Most soap is alkaline. Alkaline substances neutralize the body’s protective acid mantle that is meant to be a natural barrier against bacteria and viruses. Lauryl sulfates also strip the skin of natural lipids. Lauryl sulfates are found in toothpaste, shampoos and face cleansers.
On a pH scale (meaning Potential of Hydrogen) lye is a 14—at the very end of the alkaline range. In nature, there is nothing more alkaline than lye. On a pH scale, 7.0 is neutral (water is neutral) and values below 7.0 are considered acidic. Values above 7.0 are basic or alkaline.
The skin has a protective barrier called the “Acid Mantle” and was named in the 1920′s. Scientists have been studying the body’s outer-most acid layer since then. Very recent research indicates an acidic environment on the skin is important for:
- Activation of the enzymes responsible creating fat or lipid molecules in the skin’s outermost layer
- Creation of a critical bilayer lipid membrane that forms around skin cells
- Restoration of the skin following damage
Continued use of harsh soaps and cleansers can lead to the destruction of the acid mantle and introduce your skin to more long-term problems like acne, dermatitis – inflammation of the skin. With careful skin care, you can usually solve the problem with a strict skin regiment. Corrective topicals can build and repair your skin. The essentials are L-retinol (vitamin a) and L-ascorbic acid (vitamin c). L-retinol builds up the skin promoting collagen and repairing the mantle. L-ascorbic acid protects the skin of free radicals.