Sebum, Sweat, Skin pH and Acid Mantle
Sebum is an oily secretion produced by sebacious glands, tiny ducts adjacent to hair follicles. Sebum is secreted into the follicle, from which it spreads over the hair and skin. The main role of sebum is to waterproof the skin and hair. Both excess and lack of sebum are undesirable. Excess sebum is associated with oily skin and acne. It is particularly common in adolescents as the increased levels of sex hormones stimulate sebum production. Lack of sebum, which is common in middle and older age, leads to skin dryness and accelerates wrinkle formation.
Sweat is a salty, watery solution produced by sweat glands, numerous microscopic channels opening onto the skin surface. As sebum and sweat mix up on the skin surface, they form a protective layer often referred to as the acid mantle . Acid mantle has a particular level of acidity characterized by pH from about 4 to 5.5. A pH of 7 is considered neutral, above 7 is alkaline, and below is acidic.
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