Cleansing and Skin Barrier Function

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Where it all begins. Our skin layers work meticulously through a cycle of dividing, shedding, regeneration and protection. A healthy cleansing routine keeps this process harmonious and is the foundation of a balanced complexion

Acid Mantle | The acid mantle is a slightly acidic protective layer on the skin comprised of oils, fats, lactic acid, amino acids and the skins own moisturizing factor. This layer acts as a protective barrier from pathogens, viruses and other external toxins that can potentially penetrate the the skin. The acid mantle protects the skin from losing too much water, avoiding dehydration and inhibits the growth of bacteria. A healthy PH (potential hydrogen) of the skin should range between 5 – 5.5. This leaves skin soft, hydrated, protected and keeps skin enzyme activity stabilized to keep desquamation, skins natural shedding process, turning over at a healthy rate.

Skin should never feel tight and dry after cleansing. Using products that are too alkaline, such as bar soaps, gels, foams and other heavy sudsing products remove this protective layer, leaving the skin open and vulnerable to external pathogens, tight, itchy, dry skin, inflammation and perpetuates the cycle of breakouts and acne. Our bodies are always trying to bring themselves into a state of homeostasis, removing these oils triggers your skin to produce more oil in order to protect itself, which can clog pores and leave skin feeling like an oil slick by mid-day.

An 8 year British study from the Journal of Dermatology in 2010 showed skin with a more alkaline stratum corneum, most outer layer of the skin, developed more fine lines, wrinkles and was more prone to sun damage than those with an acidic skin layer. An alkaline surface offers no protection from external aging pollutants and toxins, leaving skin prone to a faster aging process due to skin inflammation. Chronically inflamed skin is a killer of tissue, leading to premature collagen breakdown and sagging skin.

In the case of acne, a stripped and disrupted acid mantle leaves the skin exposed to further bacteria driven breakouts and skin inflammation. Thanks to the world of false marketing, I see acne clients stuck in a cycle of using products too harsh and drying for the skin, thinking they will cleanse acne away by drying it up. I believe in quite the opposite approach. When treating the skin for acne, I treat the complexion as a whole. Facial treatments and home care routines start off by soothing and nurturing the skin through restoring the acid mantle. A balanced acid mantle helps the skin to start healing and protecting itself and as this occurs, breakouts will start to diminish. If necessary, the skin is now healthy enough to respond positively to exfoliating products, hydroxy acids and light peels to further rid the skin of breakouts and post-hyperpigmentation.

Oil Cleansing | Phenomenal results with this technique in restoring clients complexions/acid mantle. Oils hydrate, soothe and calm the skin, dissolve clogged pores and remove dirt and make-up without stripping the skin. The oil cleansing technique stems from long ago, was a favorite of Cleopatra’s and has been used for centuries by Geisha’s, known for their smooth and porcelain skin, to remove make-up. Oil cleansing can be used during morning and evening routines.

I recommend Josh Rosebrook Herbal Infusion Oil. It is the perfect oil consistency and leaves skin cleansed, renewed and protected. To be quite honest, I’ve used other oil cleansers in the past, nothing to make me say this is a must-have for my routine but Josh Rosebrook changed that. This cleanser knows just what to do as soon as it touches your skin. Not to mention the lovely aroma, awakens in the morning and calms at night. I’m totally not kidding when I say this cleanser knows just what to do. 

To Oil Cleanse: Massage oil onto dry skin in light, upward circular motions for 1-2 minutes. Wet a muslin or light cloth with warm water, place over face and lightly remove oil from center of face outwards. Can be done twice if necessary for make-up removal. Follow with toner and facial serum of choice.

If you follow me on Instagram or are familiar with my philosophy on health and wellness, you already know I’m pro oils and healthy fats. From internal cellular functions happening throughout every tissue in our body, to skin, our largest organ, healthy fats and oils are the building blocks of  cell communication throughout the body. Without fats and oils, cell membranes become rigid, oxidated and communicate poorly between each other, resulting in pre-mature aging, inflammation and dis-ease.

Exfoliating Cleansers | Safe to use up to 4-6 times per week, balanced hydroxy acid cleansers are an excellent way to exfoliate and stimulate skin cell turnover with out being abrasive to the skin. These formulations work to remove impurities, prevent breakouts, brighten complexions and resurface the skin. They diminish the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and keep skin cells turning over at a healthy rate. These products are best for anti-aging and preventative skincare concerns.

I do not always recommend the use of exfoliating formulations on sensitized or extremely inflamed skin, as light oil cleansing can be a superior method when the restoration of the acid mantle is needed first, which can be the case in come inflammatory and cystic acne conditions.

I prefer the use of hydroxy acids and other exfoliating products for p.m. use and it also is a must to protect complexion from the sun with the use of these products. I follow an a.m. routine of waking up and protecting skin for the day while p.m. being ideal for active and targeted treatment products. Learn more about my morning and evening skin routines here and here.

If you would like to learn more about choosing the best cleansing method for your skin or any skin care concerns at all, you can contact me here or

I look forward to connecting with you!

Jen | Mininal Beauty