What is the skin barrier and why is it so important?

It seems the more you learn about your skin, the more complicated caring for your skin can be. Does this sound familiar?

Our mission at SARA Skin is to simplify your skincare and empower you with the knowledge behind it.

The science behind our products is centred around your skin’s natural barrier, or the acid mantle. But what is it?

What is the acid mantle?

Your skins acid mantle is the thin film on the skin’s surface and is actually made up of sebum – that waxy, oily substance that is secreted by the sebaceous gland under the skin. It has multiple functions:

  • It acts as a barrier against bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants. 
  • It holds in moisture and liquid, retaining the skin’s hydration levels. 
  • It creates a happy pH level for your skin, by mixing with the amino acid from your sweat (sounds kind of gross, but completely necessary, trust us!)

What does the acid mantle do?

  • Help keep skin cells tight and flat, promoting a smooth, strong barrier.
  • Prevents against water loss.
  • Protects from environmental assaults like harsh weather and pollution.
  • Reduces the risk of infection and/or occasional breakouts.
  • Secretes enzymes that help break down excess sebum, keeping skin oils in balance.
  • Helps to soften skin and keep it hydrated.
  • Works with the skin’s own immune system to produce antigens that keep bad bacteria away.


While an excess in sebum can lead to unwanted oiliness and clogged pores, sebum is essential to make up the acid mantle and therefore protect the skin. Harsh, soapy and foaming cleansers can be damaging to the acid mantle, as they strip away ALL oils of the skin – including the sebum that makes up the skin’s protective barrier. This leaves your skin susceptible to bacteria and environmental stressors!

This is why we have created different kinds of skincare essentials for different skin types - some need extra hydration and gentle cleansing, while others need just a little less oil and deep pore cleansing.

5 signs that your acid mantle could be damaged

Signs of an unbalanced acid mantle include: 

  • Dryness/flaking 
  • Redness/inflammation
  • Sensitivity
  • Clogged pores/blackheads
  • Acne/breakouts 

How can SARA Skin help you?