Posts Tagged ‘acid mantle’
There are numerous skincare regimens that center around the theory that “less is more”. We’ve discussed the Oil Cleansing Method here, showing that most of us use far too many products in our daily skincare regime that strip the skin of its natural oils and encourage breakouts. But what happens when you don’t use any skincare at all on a daily basis? That theory is referred to as the caveman approach to skincare and we’re here to explain what it is, how you implement it, and the results many people are receiving.
What is the Caveman Regimen?
Most people have heard about the Paleo diet, where people are choosing to eat like our ancestors (natural food of the Earth) and this diet is also associated with the caveman approach to skincare that focuses not on what you put on your face, rather what you don’t put on your face. The Caveman Regimen is a skincare routine that isn’t much of a routine at all. The idea that “less is more” is the basis on which those that use this method practice the maintenance of their skin. By not washing the skin or applying any serums, creams, or topical treatments, this is said to allow your skin to ‘heal’ and ‘rebalance’ naturally, without interrupting it’s pH and oil balance with products that weaken and dry out the skin. Since we can’t know for sure how exactly caveman looked, this theory considers that perhaps they never struggled with acne. In present day, we are faced with an abundance of ointments, treatments, and literature on how to keep our skin clear, but what if these chemicals and face creams are the exact reason why modern day man has a problem with acne? There’s only one way to know for sure and testing the “caveman approach” to skincare is exactly what we wanted to discover.
How To Implement the “Caveman Approach” to Skincare?
Much like this blog post discusses, this approach centers around our skin’s “acid mantle”, which is essentially our skin’s protective barrier. This is made up of an acidic film that keeps bacteria out of our skin cells and contains a mixture of secretions and inoffensive bacteria. Modern day man has been encouraged to strip the skin of its natural oils with drying agents and oil fighting cleansers advertised at most drugstores. If the skins outer layer, or acid mantle, is temporarily removed by harsh soaps, the skin then becomes susceptible to breakouts, dryness, and infection. Instead of treating your skin with wipes, creams, and ointments to prevent acne, you’d literally leave your skin alone to take care of itself. We know what you’re thinking “Gross! So I just let all the dirt and bacteria sit on my skin?” Essentially in this method, yes.
Does It Actually Work?
The Caveman Routine is practiced in many different ways. Some believers in this method think that splashing water on the face is an acceptable form of skincare maintenance, while others don’t allow anything to touch their face since water is said to dry out the skin. That means no makeup, no shaving (except beard trimming is allowed), and anything else that touches the skin that can disrupt its acid mantle. It is said that not allowing water to touch the face builds up dead skin cells over time and that acts as a protective mask to heal and restore the skin. There are two problems with this approach. The first is that not everyone’s skin is the same and the second is that we aren’t living in an age where environmental influencers are identical to cavemen’s time. Cavemen lived in entirely different climates without dealing with pollution. They also didn’t sleep on pillows or use cell phones, some of which can attribute to acne in today’s society. They also didn’t wear makeup.
Although some fads go to extremes, the caveman approach is on the right track. While most people run to their drugstore to find an instant cure in the form of topical treatments for acne, the caveman approach suggests that these options only dry out and weaken our skin, opening us up to more breakouts. Using a simple, chemical free oil cleanser and moisturizer is often enough to maintain clear and healthy skin.
*See testimonials here.
If you haven’t heard of the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM) before, allow us to introduce it to you. OCM is a method of skincare where oil is used to clean your face. I know, shocking, right? Though we’ve all been told that any kind of oil on the face is the root of all skincare woes, that idea isn’t really necessarily true. Let us explain.
Oil is an essential part of our bodies and when we use stringent cleansers and chemical skincare products that dry our skin out everyday, our skin suffers the consequences. What we need to understand is that our skin lubricates itself with oil— it needs it. Our natural oil heals, protects and moisturizes our skin in order to ensure proper functioning. Harsh products strip away the natural oil in our skin, leaving our skin to repair itself by replacing the missing oil. Each time we remove the oil, our skin overcompensates for the lack of moisture by producing more oil. This causes a vicious cycle to form where our skin becomes tight and dried out by cleansers and then becomes overly oily and greasy as our skin attempts to restore balance.
Now the basic concept behind this method of cleansing is based on the chemistry rule which states that “like dissolves like,” which means that one substance can break down substances similar to it. So in this case, the best way to get rid of the sebum and oil in your pores is by using substances that are similar to them in composition. Oil dissolves oil. By using the right kind of oils, you can rid your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively. In turn, you can also replace bad oil with good ones extracted straight from nature, which can heal, protect, and nourish your skin instead. Oil cleansing is meant to replace the daily routine of washing your face with harsh cleansers and is meant to restore balance to your skin. When done properly and regularly, the OCM can get your skin to a place of true functioning and health.The Oil Blend
With so many oils out there, it’s also hard to figure out which one you should use. The first step to creating your personal blend is to understand what kind of skin you have. People with generally dry skin will want less Castor Oil, and those with oily skin will want to blend in more. Finding the perfect combination of oils for your own skin will probably take some trial and error, so it’s definitely a good idea to start with very small batches. Once you figure out what your ratio of oils looks like, you’ll be able to blend much more at a time.
Here are some suggestions for oil blends:Dry skin: 10% Castor Oil and 90% Grapeseed Oil Oily skin: 30% Castor Oil and 70% Grapeseed Oil Balanced skin: 20% Castor oil and 80% Grapeseed Oil
You can of course vary these percentages to adjust to your own skin’s needs.
So how does the OCM work? Well it’s simple. All you’ll need is a soft washcloth, your oil blend, and some hot water. You can even do the cleansing in the shower.How To Oil Cleanse: Pour a quarter size amount of oil into the palms of your hands and rub hands together to warm it up. Thoroughly massage the oil into your dry face. Wipe the oil gently away with a warm washcloth. Make sure the washcloth is warm so as to open the pores. Gently pat dry, leaving a thin film of the oil on your face to help retain your natural moisture barrier.
*Oil cleansing also replaces the need for makeup removers that can sometimes irritate the skin and cause breakouts. These natural oils gently dissolve even the most pigmented of makeup products like waterproof mascara or concealer.
The oil cleansing method is the best at home way to restore your skins pH balance while protecting its acid mantle. The reason over the counter cleansers don’t seem to cure unwanted breakouts are because these products strip the oil from the skin, leaving the skin in a cycle of being tight and dry followed by an oil slick. Every time we strip the skin of its oils, it has to overcompensate for the lack of moisture by producing more oil. That combined with most products being scented, can cause irritation and dryness. Try the oil cleansing method to heal, nourish, and restore balance to your skin!
Understanding your skin’s basic needs can be confusing when you often see phrases like “the acid mantle” or “pH balance” being thrown around, making it seem like a firm grasp of chemistry is necessary to obtaining clear skin. However, having a basic understanding of the acid mantle is crucial when determining what to treat your skin with and how it can react to different environments. One of the worst things you can do for your skin is upsetting the pH balance of your acid mantle when using products that are too alkaline for the healthy function of the skin. Lathering up with these foamy, oil fighting cleansers weakens the skin’s immune system and increases dryness, leading to the dreaded dry skin and acne combo. Drying out the skin with these products only makes the sebaceous glands produce more oil. This works in a counter productive way, leading to a vicious cycle of drying out the skin, treating it with harsh topicals, and adding moisture back onto the surface. Re-evaluating your skins daily regimen and following the proper skin chemistry is the first step in achieving a healthier, blemish free complexion that can protect your acid mantle from bacteria and restore it to it’s natural form.What Is The Acid Mantle?
The acid mantle is essentially our skin’s protective barrier made up of an acidic film that keeps bacteria out of our skin cells and contains a mixture of secretions and inoffensive bacteria. These secretions of bacteria work together to provide a number of essential roles in the breakdown of the skin that guard the skin from adverse environments such as pollutants, UV rays, or temperature changes. Many include protecting the outer layer, boosting the immune system, adding moisture that helps skin elasticity, and most importantly, secreting enzymes to help break down oil. Sebum is also an important factor that contributes to the acid mantle. It is an oily secretion that spreads over the hair and skin. Sebum’s main role is to waterproof the skin and hair, but when combined with sweat, excess sebum can lead to oily, acne prone skin and lack of sebum can lead to dryness and wrinkle formation.Why Should You Care About Your Acid Mantle?
Stripping the skin of its natural oils with drying agents and oil fighting cleansers does the opposite of reducing oil and preventing irritation. If the skins outer layer, or acid mantle, is temporarily removed by harsh soaps, the skin then becomes susceptible to breakouts, dryness, and infection. In order for the acid mantle to protect the skin and kill bacteria before it gets inside the body and provide moisture to the skin, natural sweat and oils must be allowed to occur. Sometimes excess sweating can alter the acid mantle and pH levels, throwing them off balance. This combined with the tendency to use oil-fighting soaps can worsen pH levels. That’s why focusing on certain acne treatments that restore the skin’s pH to acidic levels can help prevent breakouts and irritation.How To Protect Your Acid Mantle?
There are a few things that can be done to protect your acid mantle and it can take anywhere from two weeks to two months to fully restore the acid mantle after using harsh cleansers.Steps Taken To Protect Your Acid Mantle: Avoiding the use of foaming soaps high in alkaline, shampoo running down the face, and oil stripping toners are effective ways in protecting the skin against unbalanced pH levels. Focus on using oil cleansers that restore the skins moisture and balance its oil production at the same time. Don’t over cleanse. There should be no need for deep cleansing in the morning if you’re waking up with skin cleansed the night before. We don’t want to over cleanse our skin as this will only irritate the skin and cause more oil production. Deep cleaning while balancing our skins oil production at the same time is the objective to cleansing our skin properly.
These preventative steps are necessary in balancing pH levels, protecting the acid mantle, and restoring your skins barrier to fight off unwanted bacteria from entering the top layer of your skin.Sources:
http://www.smartskincare.com/skinbiology/sebum.html http://www.doctoroz.com/blog/audrey-kunin-md/chemistry-lesson-healthy-skin http://thenakedchemist.com/understanding-the-acid-mantle/ http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-the-acid-mantle.htm http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com