Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University Health Sciences, Medical Center Boulevard, Winston-Salem, NC 27157 , USA.
The "acid mantle" is a topic not only of historical interest, but also of clinical significance and has recently been linked to vital stratum corneum function. Despite compelling basic science evidence placing skin pH as a key factor in barrier homeostasis, stratum corneum integrity, and antimicrobial defense, application of the acid mantle concept in clinical care is lacking. We review recent basic science investigations into skin pH, discuss skin disorders characterized by aberrant pH, and finally discuss practical application for preservation of the acid mantle. Recognizing factors that alter skin pH and selecting products that preserve the acid mantle is of prime importance in treating dermatologic patients.