Lactic Acid For Skin – The Comprehensive Guide

Our site is reader-supported. When you buy a product via our links, we may earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Read full disclosure here.

Share the love

One could imagine how a spoilt milk could render so many potentials to the skin, by deeply and mildly exfoliating the skin, slough-off dead skin cells, accelerates collagen production and brighten skin tone, — all hail lactic acid, a skincare ingredient that offers exceptional skincare benefits to the skin. Keep reading to know more about lactic acid for skin.

What Is Lactic Acid.

Lactic Acid is an AHA (alpha hydroxy acids), extracted from lactose in milk. As a chemical-exfoliant its been used in many over-the-counter products to gently exfoliate the skin and address skin texture irregularities. Apart from being extracted from fermented milk, lactic acid is found in pickled vegetables, sourdough bread, beer, wine, sauerkraut, kimchi, and fermented soy foods like soy sauce and miso. [1] It’s responsible for their tangy flavor. Lactic acid is likewise found in salami, a fermented meat. [1]

Of all the AHA family, lactic acid is more gentle and mild to the skin, (aside for mandelic acid, which is considered to be the mildest AHA).

Lactic acid is mild on the skin due to its large-structural size, which makes it a very suitable acid for sensitive skin and new acid-users. It offers mild exfoliation and anti-aging benefits to the skin.

It gently sloughs off dead skin cells, treats hyperpigmentation, age spots, and other factors that contribute to a dull and uneven complexion.

It also reduces pore appearance and helps to keep the skin moisturized and feeling less dry, because lactic acid acts as a humectant (especially on low concentration) to pull moisture from the atmosphere to hydrate the skin surface. Consider lactic acid a hydrating-chemical-exfoliator.

Benefits Of Lactic Acid For Skin.

Lessens Wrinkles & Fine Lines.

Lactic acid has anti-aging potentials as it mildly exfoliates the outer layer of the skin, while drawing moisture in it, thereby reducing the appearance of premature aging, making the skin look plumper and wrinkle-free. After two different concentration of lactic acid were tested (5% and 12%), research study accounts that a higher concentration actually penetrated both the dermis and epidermis (5% could only reach the epidermis) for firmer, thicker skin, resulting in fewer fine lines and wrinkles.

Kills Bacteria.

Lactic acid can inhibit the growth of dangerous microorganisms on foods, surfaces, and skin. Additionally, the bacteriocins produced by lactic acid can kill bacteria by disrupting the integrity of the cell membrane. According to a limited research study in 1985, found that lactic acid helped to kill skin infections in newborn infants. Which also has the potentials to do the same in adults.

Reduces Acne.

Due to its mild exfoliation capabilities, lactic acid aids to reduce acne and pimples, decreasing the appearance of large-pores and smoothen-out rough skin. A research study justifies that.

Increases Cell Turnover.

As an acid, lactic acid works to increase cell turnover and encourages cell regeneration process, causes new skin cells to surface while sloughing-off dead skin cells on the skin surface. [2]

Brightens The Skin.

Lactic acid encourages the departure of dead skin cells with melanin in them, thereby revealing a fresh, brighter and much healthier skin underneath, this goes a long was not only to brighten the skin but also address skin discoloration issues such as hyperpigmentation, age spots, acne scars, and dull skin.

Helps Hydrates The Skin.

Lactic acid acts as a humectant, it helps skin hold moisture, (especially on low concentration) to pull moisture from the atmosphere to hydrate the skin surface and keep it hydrated. [2]

It Improves Overall Skin Texture.

As previously mentioned, lactic acid gets rid of dead skin cells on the skin-surface, which means one thing – you’re going to enjoy a new fresh skin, with an overall improved skin texture, refined skin-tone, less visible pores, enhanced skin elasticity and an increased skin hydration. [2]

Unlike other AHAs, lactic acid is more mild and gentle on the skin, because of that fact, makes it most recommended for individuals with sensitive skin or those whom find other AHAs too harsh for their skin. Aside its mild exfoliating potentials, lactic acid also helps improves skin’s natural moisture by drawing moisture into it to hydrate the skin surface, thereby keeping the skin hydrated and less dry which also points out reasons why it’s a mild AHA and most recommended to new acid-users and individuals with sensitive skin. But nevertheless, lactic acid can be great for any skin types.

How to Use Lactic Acid.

Lactic acid can be found in hundreds (if not thousands) of OTC skincare products, you can find them in lotions, creams, serums, peels and toners. If you find yourself using a lactic acid serum, cream, lotion or toner, use it three-on/three-off schedule, example; you should apply the acid for three nights in a row, then take a break for three nights to treat your skin with hydrating ingredients that nourish the new cells, as advised by celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau.
When it comes to lactic acid peels, it should be used once a week.

Side Effect Of Lactic Acid.

Irrespective of how mild lactic acid can be to the skin, it can still cause irritations when not used correctly and also increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun.
When used too much, lactic acid can do more harm than good, which can lead to inflammation or worse rashes and chemical burns.
Always follow the product guidelines or instructions rendered by the brand, and also don’t forget to apply sunscreen to protect your delicate skin from the UV rays of the sun.

The Best Products With Lactic Acid.

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment.

Lactic acid for skin

Buy Now From Ulta

Buy Now From SkinStore

Buy Now From Dermstore

Buy Now From Cultbeauty

Check Amazon For Best Price

Combines lactic acid with licorice extract not only to smoothen fine lines and wrinkles but also balance uneven skin tones — and address issues of discoloration, while lemongrass helps improve circulation and defend against environmental toxins and aloe vera extract soothes and hydrates the skin.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%.

Best chemical peels

Buy Now From Ulta

Buy Now From Sephora

Buy Now From Cultbeauty

Check Amazon For Best Price

From a reputable and well recognized brand — The Ordinary. It pairs 10% lactic acid to address skin texture irregularities, smoothen wrinkles, fine lines and improve skin luminosity, all these without drying out or irritating the skin, all thanks to hyaluronic acid which helps hydrates the skin and tasmanian pepperberry which soothes the skin thereby reduce irritation associated with acid use by curtailing redness, tightness and stings. Read full review here

Paula’s Choice RESIST Advanced Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA.

Lactic acid for skin

Buy Now From Dermstore

Buy Now From Cultbeauty

Buy Now From Paula’s Choice

Check Amazon For Best Price

If you rather want a powerhouse of AHAs, then give this formula a shot. A blend of alpha hydroxy acids (glycolic lactic, malic, and tartaric acids) at 10% concentration to efficiently slough-off dead skin cells, tackle texturized skin, retrain skin aging-signs and treats acne. This formula is enriched with antioxidant-ingredients (chamomile, grape seed extract and green tea) to protect against further environmental damage. All these potentials for your skin without drying it out, all thanks to peptides and ceramides which helps makes skin naturally resilient and allantoin, oat extract and licorice which helps soothe the skin after treatment therefore curtailing irritations associated with acid use.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%.

Lactic acid for skin

Buy Now From Ulta

Buy Now From Sephora

Buy Now From Cultbeauty

Check Amazon For Best Price

Although lactic acid is suitable for individuals with sensitive skin, but a higher concentration can be too intense for some people, especially individuals new to acids or with super-sensitive skin. Therefore, starting from a much lower concentration is advised. The Ordinary brand has made a provision for that, — a 5% lactic acid serum for new acid users to start off with until their skin build tolerance to lactic acid before moving to higher concentrations (if necessary).

Tata Harper Resurfacing Serum.

Lactic acid for skin

Buy Now From Sephora

Buy Now From Cultbeauty

Check Amazon For Best Price

One of the best AHA serums on the market. This splurge-worthy serum merges AHA and BHA together to give your skin a refined look, smoothing wrinkles and fine lines, exfoliate and brighten the skin, giving you that dazzling glow you’ve always craved for. All thanks to vitamin C — a potent vitamin that not only helps neutralizes free radicals but also suppress melanin production for a brighter-looking complexion.

Biossance Squalane + 10% Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum.

Lactic acid for skin

Buy Now From Sephora

Buy Now From Cultbeauty

Check Amazon For Best Price

If you’re new to squalane, then know that squalane is a lipid fat, that is naturally produced by the oil glands in our skin to hydrate and maintain the barrier of our skin. Squalane oil mimicks our natural skin oil, which means when it’s applied on the skin, the skin recognizes it and takes it as its own, our skin understands and compliments it, making squalane oil a non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores). As an emollient-rich oil, squalane deeply hydrates the skin. The combination of squalane and lactic acid makes this pick very recommended if you’ve got dry skin.

Possible Questions & Answers.

Q: Who should use lactic acid?

A: Any one struggling with uneven, textured skin (texture irregularities) wrinkles and fine lines.

Q: Can pregnant or nursing mothers use lactic acid?

A: Lactic acid, glycolic acid and other alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) are safe to use during pregnancy or breastfeeding, and will help keep the skin smooth, hydrated, refine your pores and treats pregnancy-induced acne. This research study authenticates the fact

Q: Is lactic acid suitable for all skin types?

A: Lactic acid is suitable for use on all skin types, but it’s especially effective on textured, blemish prone and uneven skin as it helps to prevent pore blockages by exfoliating the skin, brightens the skin and Improves overall skin texture.

UP NEXT: Glycolic Acid Is Another Powerful AHA You Should Know About.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Share the love
You May Also Like