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Lactic Acid - A Gentle Addition In Your Skincare Routine

November 02, 2021 4 min read

If you've been into skincare for a while, you've probably heard about lactic acid. Even if you haven't heard about it yet, we're here to fill you in.

Lactic acid, one of the mildest alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), is used in chemical peels and other in-office treatments to remove dark spots, scarring, and the appearance of ageing.


  • Lactic acid skin care benefits
  • Who can use lactic acid?
  • How to Include Lactic Acid in Your Daily Skincare Routine?
  • Lactic Acid's Potential Side Effects
  • What Can and Cannot Be Mixed With Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid skin care benefits

1. Works as an exfoliant

Lactic acid acts by permeating the skin's surface. It degrades and dissolves dead skin cells, revealing younger, healthier-looking skin cells. This helps your skin seem brighter and younger.

It also increases the cell turnover ratio, which replaces dead skin cells with healthy cells.

2. Reduces the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles

Lactic acid is a common element in anti-aging cosmetics. This is due to its ability to minimize the appearance of premature ageing indicators. Because of its moisturizing characteristics, it can help your skin seem plumper and wrinkle-free.

This AHA is also well-known for its ability to stimulate collagen production. Collagen is a fibrous protein found in the epidermis and dermis of the skin. The protein is in charge of keeping your skin tight and preventing it from drooping. However, as you become older and more exposed to the sun, your body's collagen production declines. This is why you need a collagen-boosting skincare product.

3. Moisturizing Properties

Lactic acid, as strange as it may sound, assists in skin hydration. While most hydroxy acids tend to dry out your skin, lactic acid stands out. It contains moisturizing characteristics that can help your skin feel smoother and plumper. The quality can also assist to decrease the look of ageing and sagging skin.

4Reduces the appearance of dark spots and patches

Lactic acid can be used on the skin to eliminate dark spots, sun spots, and melasma. Lactic acid was evaluated on 12 people in a research. After utilizing lactic acid peels for roughly 6 months, all 12 patients experienced a decrease in their melasma patches.

According to the research, lactic acid suppresses tyrosinase activity. Tyrosinase is an enzyme found in your skin that is responsible for the formation of melanin, which is responsible for the colour of your skin. Direct sunlight can cause an increase in melanin production, making your skin look darker (tanned). It also aids in the appearance of black spots.

Who can use lactic acid

Lactic acid is regarded to be the gentlest of the hydroxy acid family. It is widely accepted by all skin types, especially sensitive skin.

How to Include Lactic Acid in Your Daily Skincare Routine

"Lactic acid is utilized in varying doses to treat various concerns." In lower quantities, it acts as a humectant, attracting moisture to the surface of your skin. Its exfoliating capabilities are more effective at larger concentrations. The amounts of lactic acid used on a daily basis are significantly dependent on the concentrations used."

Lactic acid is available in over-the-counter products in quantities ranging from 0.5 to 30 percent. Begin with low concentrations and work your way up. Dermatologist advises using it 2-3 times per week and gradually introducing it into your everyday skincare routine.

A Word of Caution For Those With Sensitive Skin:

If you have sensitive skin, stick to products containing 5% lactic acid. Always remember to do a patch-test before to usage. If your skin does not respond to the product after 24 hours of testing, continue to use it 2-3 times a week. You may adjust how frequently you apply this AHA based on how your skin reacts to it.

Lactic Acid's Potential Side Effects

Despite the fact that this hydroxy-acid is milder than the others, it does have certain negative effects.

These are some examples:

  • Sensitivity to sunlight
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Peeling
  • Itchiness
  • Swelling

Consult your dermatologist before applying topical lactic acid on your skin. If you use topical lactic acid on a daily basis, make it a point to apply at least an SPF 30 sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside for the day. Reapply every two hours to keep your skin from burning.

What Can and Cannot Be Mixed With Lactic Acid

Lactic acid and vitamin C should never be combined. This combination will cause the product's pH to shift further towards the acidic side, perhaps causing skin irritation. Also, lactic acid, being the gentler of the two, can be harmed when combined with vitamin C since it is too powerful an alpha-hydroxy acid to interact with lactic acid. Consult your dermatologist about the products that can be used in conjunction with lactic acid.

Putting it all together

Lactic acid is one of the greatest alpha-hydroxy acids to include in your skincare routine because of its gentle nature. It is also appropriate for delicate skin types, and varying concentrations provide varied advantages. It does, however, have a few drawbacks. As is the case with every new skincare product, a patch test is required.

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