How Skin pH Affects the Acid Mantle and Barrier Function
Respect and protect your skin’s optimal pH to help restore healthy barrier functions.
Take, for example, the skin acid mantle – it’s a naturally-occurring acidic layer that fulfils multiple roles:
- Maintains the skin’s moisture levels
- Supports the structural integrity of the stratum corneum (the outermost layer of the epidermis)
- Forms the first line of defence against bacteria
- Assists in the activation of ceramide metabolism
- Modulates serine protease activity* relating to the formation of the cornified cell envelope** (a tough, insoluble structure which supports the skin barrier)
* serine proteases are enzymes that play a role in the renewal or regeneration of skin cells
In healthy skin, pH levels range from pH4-6, with tests indicating that pH5 or lower allows optimal barrier function
. In eczema-prone skin, however, pH levels are elevated; this leads to increased protease activity and activation of the protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR2) which causes: :
- Reduced synthesis of ceramides and free fatty acids, which are essential lipids
- Inhibited secretion of lamellar bodies which are integral to skin structure
- Defects in the acidic antimicrobial barrier
- Increased inflammation and itching
Ultimately, elevated skin pH leads directly to skin barrier defects; maintaining an optimal skin pH, therefore, is a significant factor in managing eczema-prone skin .
Established research show that restoring the skin’s pH level to its naturally acidic state allows its barrier functions to resume, effectively reversing the chain reaction that leads to inflammation and itching that are hallmarks of eczema-prone skin. This includes supporting the skin’s ability to produce ceramides, the dominant component in the skins’ physiological lipids.
Ceramides, which form a 3:1:1 ratio with cholesterol and free fatty acidsCeradan® Advanced Barrier Cream, a ceramide-dominant emollient cream designed to replenish essential lipids. With zinc lactobionic acid to normalise the skin’s pH level to its normal acidic state of pH4-6, it also helps to inhibit serine protease activity in a stable, low pH formula that is suitably mild to eliminate stinging upon application., can also be supplemented topically. This same ratio is employed in patent-pending
Tests show that ceramide-dominant emollient cream is effective in restoring barrier function, reducing the severity of eczema-related symptoms. After only three weeks of twice daily application, results included:
- Significant reduction in transepidermal water loss (TEWL)
- Reduction in the severity of itching
- Progressive improvement in the integrity of the stratum corneum
- Improved barrier function
These results, which contributed to significantly improved quality of life for participants, were measured using both patient self-assessment tests and clinical observations. Most importantly, they offer reassurance that symptoms of eczema can be managed with appropriate care, leading to reduced dependence on steroid-based treatment, a common cause for concern among parents of young children who suffer from eczema-prone skin.
Restoring the pH level to its naturally acidic state allows the skin barrier functions to resume
For more information on skin pH and the acid mantle in relation to managing eczema-prone skin, speak to your doctor for advice.
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