The acid mantle is a very fine, slightly acidic film on the surface of the skin acting as a barrier to bacteria, viruses and other potential contaminants that might penetrate the skin. It is secreted by sebaceous glands. The pH of the skin is between 4.5 and 6.2, so it is acidic. Since blood is slightly alkaline (7.4), pathogenic bacteria that become adapted to the pH of the skin and are able to reach internal tissues will encounter an environment to which they are less well adapted. This combination of acidic exterior and alkaline interior is one of the body's non-specific host defenses against bacterial pathogens.
- Monika-Hildegard Schmid-Wendtner; Korting Schmid-Wendtner (2007). Ph and Skin Care. ABW Wissenschaftsverlag. pp. 31–. ISBN 978-3-936072-64-8. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
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- Schmid MH, Korting HC (1995). "The concept of the acid mantle of the skin: its relevance for the choice of skin cleansers" (PDF). Dermatology (Basel) 191 (4): 276–80. doi:10.1159/000246568. PMID 8573921.
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