The return to the principle of alkaline body care
Human skin is a true multi-function organ. It serves as a sense organ, a means of contact with each other, as well as a presentation of inner health. It marks the physical boundaries between inside and outside. The skin has important functions in the field of metabolism and immunology. It is instrumental in the regulation of heat balance and protection of homeostasis. Also the skin protects us daily from adverse environmental influences. Here the so-called acid mantle of the skin is given great importance. To support this protective layer, using soap with a low pH value, should be reconsidered: the application of acid cosmetics can promote acidification of the organism. The return to alkaline skin care is especially important today and is highly recommended.
Man is around the clock in contact with acids, both body’s natural acids (such as lemon acid, or lactic acid, or hylauronic acid) and acids foreign to the body (such as maleic, fumaric, and salicylic acid). The acids not only penetrate considerably damaged outer layers of the skin, but also reach to the epidermal cells, where they usually produce irritation. An experience of the direct effects of acid on the skin has been experienced by anyone who has come into contact with nettles.
The legend from the protective acid mantle
The physical pH-value of healthy skin is currently listed with averages in the range between 5.2 to 5.7. This raises the question how the normal pH-value of the skin is determined, and who is actually responsible for the definition. The answer is simple: Since the end of the fifties selected army soldiers are tested, young people age 18-25, as exemplary examples to determine the values defined as healthy. Concerning any current standard, whether it is the blood fat level, the uric acid level, or the pH-value of the skin, is identified in this population and the average value is transferred to the general population. It is striking that the average pH-value of the skin was still 6.0 to 6.2 in the sixties, while the current value is in the range 5.0 to 5.5.
PH-value and wealth
With the industrialization of food a number of lifestyle diseases like rheumatism, gout, diabetes, eczema, psoriasis and cellulite have arisen too. The increasing consumption of fast food, sugar, coffee, meat and alcohol, and an explosion of environmental toxins have also damaged our skin, because it has to withstand a hitherto unprecedented number of acids from outside and from inside the body. The body’s buffering systems are overworked and when this happens the body begins to deposit excess acids into the subcutaneous tissues. Sebum and sweat, both acidic in nature, leave deposits under the skin, triggering blemishes, eczema, and itching.
Discovery of the acid mantle of the skin
Many of the acidic ingredients on the skin surface come from waste matter deposits in the connective tissues and subcutaneous tissues, and have nothing to do with the normal skin texture. When skin analysis started in the 1930 thies these acidic ingredients were thought to be “normal”.
After the introduction of the first acidic body care products, some short success could be observed in problematic skin, such as with atopic diseases. The so-called “pH-neutral” products have pH levels between 5.0 and 5.5 and are therefore acidic in nature causing acids transported to the skin surface to be transported back into the subcutaneous tissue. Here, only the symptoms of the disease are suppressed, the underlying cause remains.
Function of the acid mantle of the skin
For many decades the function of the acidic protective layer of the skin has been discussed. First the indirect microbiological defence and the direct effect of protection against alkaline pollutants and toxins was in the foreground. The classic findings and insights about the significance of the acidic pH-value of the skin, however, were refuted by more recent biochemical and molecular biological investigations. The thought that in the acidic milieu pathogenic germs are prevented from spreading and eczema formation is avoided, is proven again and again to be false. The number of atopic diseases and bacterial skin infections was never as high as in the last decade (and growing). This, in a period in which the acidic body care in industrialized countries has become widely popular!
Possible symptoms caused by over acidity
Headache, heartburn, gum bleeding, hair loss, fungus, flatulence, haemorrhoids, tendency for allergies, skin diseases, rheumatism, arthritis or gout, osteoporoses, irritability, psychological disorders, fatigue.
Acid from the bathroom cabinet
Many acid body care products are not suitable for continuous, daily use. Some contain a whole range of toxic materials which can be absorbed through the skin pores and deposited in the body.
Often medicated soaps are used, containing very aggressive substances such as sulphur or tar and damaging healthy skin. The use of medicated soap with certain skin diseases, such as psoriasis is therefore questionable. Also perfume soaps contain acidic perfume oil. In the nursing area, these soaps are not used because perfume oils can lead to allergies. “Syndets”, so-called “synthetic detergents” derived from synthetics, and detergents are also in the acidic range concerning the pH-value. Synthetic detergents and soaps containing surfactants (detergent-active substances) lead to an increase in transepidermal water loss. With frequent washing the skin can dry out and become sensitive to fungi, viruses and bacteria.
Oil applications in form of bath oils are often used for dissolving waste deposits like dandruff and scabs as well as used for moisturizing dry skin. Their impact can be harmful: skin pores can be clogged by oil, reducing perspiration and waste transport from the subcutaneous tissues to the skin surface. Oil-containing products should never be applied to irritated skin.
Ointment with high fat, (Vaseline, Bag Balm), coat the skin surface with an insulating and waterproof film. This film prevents evaporation of secretions and creates swelling on the top layer with a sustained hydration; also the release of heat is blocked. It is obvious that their moisturizing effect is very questionable.
The majority of cosmetics contain ethanol or isopropanol (monohydric alcohol), which serves as carrier solution for additives. They dry out the skin and block the natural moisturizing mechanism. Frequent applications of alcoholic body care products can be a starting point for dermatoses, eczema and allergies. Same applies to disinfectants with antibacterial ingredients.
The return to alkaline body care
The history of body care is a history of alkaline body care. The Romans, Ancient Greeks, Persians, Assyrians, Egyptians, all used basic fundamental components that were derived from wood ash and plant ash. The Romans used the fine-grained ash left behind from iron production, as a popular detergent. They noted the beneficial effects on the skin. Cleopatra enjoyed her beauty baths of donkey milk, which has an alkaline effect on the skin. Until 70 years ago body care was alkaline. The well-known example for this is the alkaline washing soap (pH value 8.5-9.0). People with skin problems may recollect the use of washing soap and appreciate its mild, itch-relieving effect. Alkaline body care means better cleansing, better regeneration of the skin by thoroughly clearing away old skin layers. Unfortunately, this knowledge increasingly faded into oblivion over the past decades. The modern acidic body care has a pH value of 5.0-5.5. In the light of modern knowledge one has to ask whether acidic cosmetics should enjoy popular usage, in particular, because the preservation of the acid protective mantle is not dependent on acidic skin care.
A return to alkaline body care is evident. For a few years alkaline body care products with a pH-value of 7.5 to 9.0 for all care needs have been available. Individuals taking regular alkaline baths also change their entire skin care products to alkaline products, and take alkaline body supplements. Individuals made the following observations:
• The hitherto excess or inadequate secretion process of the sebaceous glands, which leads to extremely oily or dry skin, can normalize.
• Under the skin surface deposits (such as cellulite) can be removed permanently. Atopic dermatitis patients may benefit from a reduction in itching and development of eczema.
• Blemishes such as black heads and comedones are rare.
• Skin can become resistant and feel supple.
• For individuals who tend to skin mycoses or bacterial eczema, a significant decrease in infections is observed.
Principles of alkaline body care
The principle of alkaline body care is subject to the basic idea of rejection of acids, such as fat acids from tallow and from callus layer lipids. Basic skin care is meant to aid the opening and regenerative ability of the skin and to accelerate the natural process of homeostasis, i.e. the decomposition of cells and excretion of metabolic waste products. Such a self initiated regulation leads to excretion of acids and wastes forming a protective film. Under the influence of alkaline applications the pores of the skin surface become more permeable, the emerging acids buffered and the natural detoxification and expansion process of the skin layers accelerated. With alkaline body care the skin is gently stimulated to preserve its natural moisture and fat content or rebuild it. For this no supply of external fat carriers like oil or artificial moisturizers necessary. The skin care should take into account the following points for understanding:
• Departure from the so-called “detergent” cleaning (soaps, synthetic detergents)
• Prevention of desiccation and leaching of the barrier layer in the callus skin zone by alcohol treatments (often the starting point of dermatoses).
• Avoiding emulsifiers such as stearyl alcohol, stearate, cetearyl alcohol, etc.
• Prevention of occlusive effects (e.g. crude oil layers on the skin surface)
• Skin repair with skin-identical or up-close skin ingredients
• Moisturize with natural ingredients such as urea, allantoin, mineral salts
• Use of natural biochemical and physical principles such as osmosis, to relieve the skin in addition of deposited waste/impurities.
As an appropriate medium for excretion of waste products and acids from the body alkaline bath salts have proven successful. They are suitable for full, foot, arm, and hand baths, skin liniments, as well as full body compresses and partial body compresses. Regular alkaline water applications can be an effective adjuvant treatment option for cellulite, uric acid diathesis (gout), rheumatism, skin blemishes, psoriasis, eczema and other diseases of civilization. However, not every bath salt is alkaline; The salt from the dead sea is, despite its attributed healing properties, not alkaline and should be used cautiously as a bath additive, because allergic reactions cannot be excluded with extended applications taken by sensitive individuals.
The alkaline full bath
The effectiveness of alkaline skin care can be most clearly demonstrated with alkaline full baths. A few spoonfuls of alkaline bath salts are added to the tub water to achieve a pH-value of 8.0 to 9.0. During bathing, the skin pores open and the deposited acidic impurities are released from the subcutaneous tissue via the principle of osmosis and are brought to the skin surface, where they are neutralized in the alkaline milieu. First the free fat acids become dissolved and then the wax and fat layers, finally the outer callus skin particles being softened and removed. After taking a bath and depending on the individual’s level of acidity, the water pH-value can fall below 7.0. Interestingly there is no skin irritation. The observational evidence is that people using alkaline skin care products regularly, rarely suffer from skin irritation associated with eczema, dry skin and itching.
Alkaline full bath:
Indications: Cellulite, Blemish skin, Acne, Dry skin, Dandruffs, Neurodermitis, Psoriasis, Pityriasis Versicolor, Diaper dermatitis, Contact eczema, Limited set of detoxification function of liver and kidney, Gout, Rheumatic discomforts, Hair loss, Decontamination of intoxication, Detoxification during fasting and diets
Alkaline Foot and Hand bath
One tablespoon of alkaline bath salts should be given in a large bowl of warm water. Bathe both feet or hands 45 min. to 2 hours. It is recommended to regularly add warm water.
Alkaline foot and hand bath:
Fatigue of legs, Corns, Cold hands and feet, Circulatory disorder, Calf cramp, Gout, Diabetic foot, Warts, Fungus, Spider veins, Sleep disorder, Dry and stressed hands
Degradation of acids against civilisation diseases
A functional dismantling of acids is important for the prevention of lifestyle diseases. In addition to alkaline body care, cosmetic and medical treatments can be significantly enhanced by various measures: Here first and foremost a conscious diet is recommended: food rich in fiber, vitamin- and mineral helps to reduce the acid supply. Herbal teas and mineral water make the blood thin and support the kidneys during acid flushing. Avoidance of stress may be helpful. Through regular exercise or relaxation waste deposits and stress mediators in the body decompose quickly. Where it is possible, the addition of nicotine, alcohol or drugs should be avoided.
Author: Stephan Wilmes is an Ayurvedic therapist and the AlkalineDietGuy. He is promoting the alkaline life style to prevent diseases in rebalancing the alkaline levels in your body through regeneration, purification and cleansing.
M. Steiner “The return to the principle of alkaline body care” in Die Naturheilkunde. M. Steiner is the founder of pH-Cosmetics skin care line. To purchase it visit www.youinfocusproducts.com