Lactic acid is another one of those skincare ingredients that you may have heard about in passing but have no clue as to what it is and what it can do for your skin. And if you’re one of those people that’ve been wondering what makes this AHA so popular, you’ve come to the right place to get the inside scoop. To learn about the benefits of lactic acid for skin, the difference between this acid and others, how to incorporate it into your beauty regimen, and more, keep on scrollin.’
What is Lactic Acid?
While many believe lactic acid is a form of milk and contains milk ingredients, it doesn’t. Instead, this AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) derives from bacteria culture found in sour milk (which Cleopatra once bathed in to achieve softer, smoother skin). Whether in a cleanser, serum, moisturizer, or mask, lactic acid works as a gentle peeling agent and contains several skin benefits. More on that below!
Benefits of Lactic Acid for Skin
Softens Fine Lines + Wrinkles
Lactic acid can help soften fine lines and reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
As we age, our skin cell turnover rate begins to slow down, making it almost impossible to achieve the timeless and youthful complexion many of us crave. With even the lowest concentration of this AHA, lactic acid penetrates the outer layers of skin (but higher concentrations can penetrate both the inner and outer layers) and can help you achieve a firmer and plumper complexion.
Out of all the benefits of lactic acid, its ability to exfoliate is what usually wins beauty gurus over.
When this AHA is applied, it helps to loosen the bonds between cells (AKA it works to slough away at dead, dry, and damaged skin to pave the way for new, healthy skin cells to form). Say farewell to that rough, scaly complexion and hello to one that’s radiant and smooth!
Treats Acne + Bumpy Skin
Since lactic acid is a top-notch exfoliator, it’s one heck of a hero when it comes to treating acne, too. Not only does this AHA help to remove dead skin cells, but it also works to reduce and control the amount of sebum your skin produces.
Lactic acid is also a miracle worker for those with common skin conditions such as keratosis pilaris (AKA “chicken skin”). This AHA is often used in lotion form to help treat the tiny bumps and sometimes rough, dry patches that form on the back of arms and legs, which KP is notorious for. And although this condition is not known to be particularly painful, many still find it irritating (but not in an itchy sort of way, ya know). So, now that you’re familiar with the benefits of lactic acid, let’s jump into some more info that’ll help determine if this AHA is right for you and your skin’s needs!
Lactic Acids Versus Other Acids
When comparing lactic acid to other AHAs, you may be thinking…
Unlike other AHAs (such as citric, glycolic, or malic acid), lactic acid contains larger molecules, meaning that it can’t penetrate as deeply into the skin. But that doesn’t make this acid any less effective. It just means that your skin is getting more of a surface-level treatment when it’s applied. This is especially important if you have sensitive skin, as you’re less likely to experience any irritation or inflammation with this AHA. Other AHAs such as salicylic acid, for example, is harsher on the skin and can disrupt its pH levels, but good ol’ lactic acid won’t (in most cases). But that doesn’t mean you can just douse your skin in this AHA on your first try, so keep reading to learn how to incorporate it into your skincare routine.
How to Use Lactic Acid + Who Can Use It
With any type of acid, it’s best to start slow, both in concentration and frequency. Lactic acid can range from a 5 to 30 percent concentration, so it’s recommended to start with 5 percent and to not exceed ten percent until your skin gets well-acquainted with this AHA. It also depends what kind of lactic acid skincare product you’re using, too. Choosing to try out lactic acid in cleanser form is always a great option, as facial washes are rinsed off quickly, whereas products like serums are left to linger on the skin. Concentrations of lactic acid in serums and even masks tend to be higher and more potent, so perhaps incorporating a serum or mask with this AHA is best to do once your skin has built up its tolerance to lactic acid.
But do keep in mind that even the lowest concentration can create an adverse reaction, so remember to test-patch (under your jaw or on the side of your neck is always best) a product containing this ingredient first. If you do, however, find that you’re developing irritation, redness, inflammation, or dryness after test-patching any product containing lactic acid, discontinue use. Just because this AHA is on the gentler side of acids, doesn’t mean that it’s gentle enough for your skin. For the most part, lactic acid is safe to use on all skin types, but if you specifically have acne-prone skin…
MOZ Product Pick with Lactic Acid
Looking to get your lactic acid fix? Our Fresh Cleanser is booming with a plethora of skin-boosting ingredients, including lactic acid and vitamin C, which work together to help reduce inflammation, minimize redness, improve elasticity, remove dead skin cells, fight signs of aging, improve hyperpigmentation, cleanse pores, and even skin tone, leaving behind a tighter, brighter, and youthful complexion. And we can’t forget to mention that our natural face wash is a lightweight gel formula that’s suitable for all skin types and can be used daily, both morning and night!
Simply put, lactic acid is not only one powerful and popular skincare ingredient, but also a gentler AHA for those with sensitive complexions. If you already incorporate this acid into your beauty regimen or plan on doing so after reading this post, follow us on socials and let us know all about it! And if you’re diggin’ these kinds of posts, we’ll be continuing to cover more skincare ingredients throughout the duration of this year, so be on the lookout for those. Until next time, friends!