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What is the Acid Mantle and Why You Should Be using a Sulphate Free Face Wash to Protect It

Did you know that your skin had a protective layer called the acid mantle? The acid mantle is made up of sebum from the sebaceous glands, broken down by enzymes on the skin into free fatty acids, sweat, comprised of lactic acid and amino acids secreted by our bodies, and dead skin cells. All these substances contribute to the moisture barrier of our skin. The acid mantle is, not surprisingly, acidic and has a natural pH of 4.5-5.5.


The job of the acid mantle is pretty simple, protect the skin. The acid mantle provides a layer of the oils and tightly woven skin cells and lipid layers that waterproof the skin, and help the skin retain moisture by providing a barrier that stops moisture from escaping. The acid mantle also protects the skin from bacteria and fungi. This mantle is a delicate balance that can be disrupted by many factors, the most common being pollutants and environmental stresses like cold, wind, heat and commonly used facial products.


Did you know that just washing your face can damage this protective layer? It can. Most face washes and bar soaps contain surfactants. Surfactants provide a few different actions in cosmetics and products, but the most obvious is that they cause your product to foam. But they also break up surface tension, which is the cleansing benefit of the ingredient. 


"The key thing to know about surfactants is that they are chemicals which have parts that are both hydrophilic (water loving) and lipophilic (oil loving). This molecular composition means they have the ability to reduce the surface tension when placed into solutions of oil and water. In fact, the word “surfactant” is a shortened form of the phrase “surface active ingredient.” (1)


By breaking up the surface tension of both oils and water, they break down the dirt and oil on the skin so it can be washed away.  Commonly called sulfates, these ingredients also strip away these natural oils that form the acid mantle.




Most people are washing away these protective oils once or twice every day. But even more damaging is that sulfates are usually alkaline in nature, with a pH of 9-10, a far cry from the skins desirable 4.5-5.5 acidic pH. Once the pH of the skin becomes more alkaline, and no longer has the benefit of the acid mantle protection, one will begin to see the ramifications. The most common is dry skin, but you might also see acne, rashes and even conditions like eczema and Rosacea.


You can combat this loss of protection by using extra moisturizers, toners and creams, but the easiest and most cost effective way to halt the damage caused by sulfate face washes and bar soaps is to switch to a sulfate free facial product. BlackBox goes above and beyond just sulfate free and has truly packed a solid punch in all their products, but specifically their Face Washes. In addition to being sulfate free, Frost Face wash is paraben free, Non GMO, Gluten free cruelty free and contains no water. Frost is a highly concentrated facial cleanser that is packed full of vitamins and nutrients that really helps maintain the acid mantle, while still providing cleansing you can count on. Frost even removes make up. Just like all BlackBox skin care products, Frost is packaged in airless containers that further protect the product from breakdown, preserving the nutrients and ensuring a fresh product. 


FROST face wash is definitely at home in our family of Cosmeceuticals. It is a powerful product on its own and is full of Vitamin C, Niacinamide(B3), Beta Carotene(Vit.A), Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Panthenol (B5), Organic Aloe Vera, Willow Bark, Coconut oil, Pomegranate extract, Green Tea extract, Peppermint, Spearmint, and Tea Tree oil. Not only does it leave your face feeling cool, clean, and soft... it has a large dose of natural skin bacteria killers and it is non-comedogenic. Frost comes in 2 sizes to fit your needs, our standard 2 ounce size and the new extra large size of 4 ounces. Both in our airless bottles, to preserve freshness.



All BlackBox Cosmetics’ Products are Paraben, Gluten, & Sulfate Free and never tested on animals.


1. http://chemistscorner.com/cosmetic-surfactants-part-1/

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