Have you ever heard of lactic acid? It's one of the most popular alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) found in skincare products, known for its hydrating and exfoliating properties. But what exactly is lactic acid, and how can it help you achieve more youthful-looking skin?
Lactic acid is a mild alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that helps skin cells turn over. This helps soften and smooth the skin, which makes it feel and look better overall. Also, lactic acid is a part of the skin's natural moisturizing factor, which is a mix of chemicals that help the skin hold on to water.
Lactic acid is a great cleanser for sensitive, dry, oily, acne-prone, and combination skin . Lactic acid is in many of Cosmedica Skincare products. It helps soften and smooth skin by smoothing fine lines, speeding up the skin's natural turnover, and getting rid of dead skin cells.
In this article, we will explore the benefits of lactic acid for skin, how to use it, and who can benefit from it. Let's dive in!
Table of Contents
● What is Lactic Acid?
● What Does Lactic Acid Do For Skin?
● What Does Lactic Acid Address?
● Benefits of Lactic Acid for Skin
● How is Lactic Acid Used?
● Lactic Acid For Sensitive Skin
● Lactic Acid For Dry skin
● Precautions and Side Effects
● Can I Use Lactic Acid Every Day?
● Who Should Use Lactic Acid?
● How to Choose a Lactic Acid Product
● How to Incorporate Lactic Acid into Your Skincare Routine
● How to Use Lactic Acid for More Youthful-Looking Skin
● What Should You Not Use Lactic Acid With?
● Can Acne Be Treated With Lactic Acid?
● Can Lactic Acid Cause Breakouts?
● How to Use Lactic Acid with Other Skincare Ingredients
What is Lactic Acid?
Lactic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) naturally found in milk, though it can also be produced synthetically. It is a water-soluble acid that is often used in skincare products for its exfoliating and hydrating properties.
AHAs work by breaking down the bonds between dead skin cells, allowing them to be easily removed from the skin's surface. Lactic acid works by gently removing dead skin cells, unclogging pores, and improving skin texture and tone.
This process helps reveal smoother, brighter skin and stimulates collagen production.
What Does Lactic Acid Do For Skin?
When used over time, lactic acid can make a big difference in how your skin looks. Lactic acid can treat fine lines, wrinkles, and skin discolorations like age spots and acne. It can also make the skin much brighter and smaller pores.
Lactic acid is a good exfoliant for the face that is also gentle. It can usually be used by people with sensitive skin, which isn't true of all AHAs .
You might feel tingling or heat when you put it on because it's breaking up dead skin cells, but other than that, side effects are usually not too bad.
However, people who already have skin problems like acne, psoriasis, or rosacea shouldn't use lactic acid without first talking to a trusted doctor.
Also, you might want to talk to a dermatologist if you use lactic acid with other AHAs or skin care items. Some products don't work well together, and it's especially not a good idea to mix lactic acid with other products that contain retinol.
What Does Lactic Acid Address?
Lactic acid is a versatile ingredient that can address a variety of skin concerns, including:
Lactic acid can help unclog pores and reduce the appearance of acne by exfoliating dead skin cells and reducing excess oil production.
Dry and dehydrated skin
Lactic acid is a natural humectant, meaning it helps to attract and retain moisture in the skin. It can improve skin hydration and reduce the appearance of dry, flaky skin.
Fine lines and wrinkles
Lactic acid can stimulate collagen production, which can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improve skin elasticity.
Uneven skin tone and texture
Lactic acid can help to even out skin tone and texture by gently exfoliating the skin and promoting cell turnover.
Benefits of Lactic Acid for Skin
● Lactic Acid for Exfoliation:
As mentioned, lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant that helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin.The gentle exfoliation provided by lactic acid can help smooth out rough patches and improve skin texture. This can improve the overall texture and tone of your skin.
● Lactic Acid for Hydration:
Unlike some other AHAs, lactic acid also has the ability to attract and retain moisture in the skin. This can help to plump and hydrate the skin, which can minimize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
● Lactic Acid for Brightening:
Lactic acid can help reduce the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation, leading to a brighter, more even skin tone. By removing dead skin cells and stimulating collagen production, lactic acid can eliminate dull skin and improve its overall radiance.
● Lactic Acid as an Acne Treatment:
Lactic acid can also help to reduce the appearance of acne by unclogging pores and reducing inflammation.
● Lactic Acid to Minimize Pores:
Lactic acid can help unclog pores and minimize their appearance, leading to clearer, smoother skin.
● Lactic Acid to Boost Collagen Production:
Lactic acid can help stimulate collagen production, which can help improve the elasticity and firmness of the skin.
How is Lactic Acid Used?
Lactic acid is typically found in skincare products such as cleansers, toners, serums, and peels. These products can be used in varying concentrations depending on the desired effect. For example, a lower concentration product may be used daily for gentle exfoliation and hydration, while a higher concentration product may be used once a week for a more intense peel.
Lactic Acid For Sensitive Skin
If you have sensitive skin, you may be hesitant to use any type of exfoliant. However, lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant that's well-tolerated by most skin types, including sensitive skin. It's less irritating than other AHAs like glycolic acid, making it a great option for those with sensitive skin.
Lactic Acid For Dry skin
Lactic acid's hydrating properties make it a great option for those with dry skin. It helps keep the skin moisturized and can help improve the appearance of dry, flaky skin. However, if you have extremely dry skin, you may want to pair lactic acid with a heavier moisturizer to ensure your skin stays hydrated.
Precautions and Side Effects
While lactic acid is generally considered safe for most people, there are some precautions to keep in mind.
First, it's important to start with a lower concentration product and gradually work your way up to higher concentrations. Using a high concentration product too quickly can cause irritation and even chemical burns.
Additionally, lactic acid can increase sun sensitivity, so it's important to wear sunscreen daily and avoid excessive sun exposure.
Finally, those with sensitive skin or skin conditions such as eczema or rosacea may want to avoid lactic acid or speak with a dermatologist before using it.
Can I Use Lactic Acid Every Day?
It depends on the concentration of the product you're using. Lower concentration products, such as cleansers or toners, can typically be used daily for gentle exfoliation and hydration. However, higher concentration products, such as peels, should only be used once a week or less frequently to avoid over-exfoliation and irritation.
Who Should Use Lactic Acid?
The daily use of lactic acid is suitable for all skin types, but it is especially beneficial for those with dry, dehydrated, and acne-prone skin. If you are looking to improve the texture and tone of your skin, lactic acid could be a great addition to your skincare routine.
However, those with sensitive skin or skin conditions should speak with a dermatologist before using lactic acid.
How to Choose a Lactic Acid Product
When choosing a lactic acid product, it's important to consider the concentration of lactic acid, as well as the pH of the product. Lactic acid is most effective at a pH between 3 and 5, so look for products within this range.
Try our 5% Lactic Acid Treatment + Hylasin. It is made with lactic acid and hylasin which is Cosmedica Skincare’s unique blend of hyaluronic acid, which work together to get rid of dead skin cells, provide anti-aging benefits and leave the skin hydrated.
It's also important to choose a product that's appropriate for your skin type and concerns. For example, those with dry or sensitive skin may benefit from a lower concentration product, while those with oily or acne-prone skin may benefit from a higher concentration product.
How to Incorporate Lactic Acid into Your Skincare Routine
If you're new to using lactic acid serum, it's best to start with a lower concentration product, such as a cleanser or toner. Use the product once a day or every other day, gradually increasing the frequency as your skin adjusts.
Once your skin has acclimated to the product, you can incorporate higher concentration products, such as peels, into your routine once a week or as needed.
It's important to always follow the instructions on the product and to avoid using lactic acid with other exfoliating ingredients, such as physical scrubs or other AHAs.
How to Use Lactic Acid for More Youthful-Looking Skin
When using lactic acid in your skincare routine, it is essential to follow a few key steps to ensure that you are getting the most out of the product:
- Cleanse your skin thoroughly before applying lactic acid. This will ensure that the acid can penetrate the skin and work effectively.
- Apply a small amount of lactic acid to your skin using gentle, circular motions. Be sure to avoid the eye area and any areas of broken skin.
- Leave the lactic acid on your skin for the recommended amount of time, usually 1-2 minutes.
- Rinse your skin thoroughly with water and pat dry.
- Follow up with a moisturizer to help lock in moisture and soothe the skin.
What Should You Not Use Lactic Acid With?
Lactic acid should not be combined with other alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic or mandelic acid, or with beta-hydroxy acids like salicylic acid, if you have sensitive skin.
However, this rule does not apply to products that contain a blend of several AHAs, since these products have been expertly created with the ideal ratio of acids to compliment each other.
For example, if you use lactic acid at a high concentration, followed by glycolic acid at a high concentration, you will almost certainly experience some irritation and sensitivity.
Because of the possibility of skin irritation and sensitivity, you should also avoid combining lactic acid with retinol. Keep them apart if you use lactic acid on sensitive skin already.
Can Acne Be Treated With Lactic Acid?
Acne does not respond well to lactic acid.
A stronger substance, such salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, is required to remove breakouts, but gentle exfoliation can always improve the skin.
Lactic acid is a gentle exfoliant that may also help calm irritated acne. However, there are many more effective treatments available for this specific skin condition, so integrating lactic acid for this purpose alone is unlikely to produce any noticeable effects.
Can Lactic Acid Cause Breakouts?
Lactic acid can indeed trigger acne.
Lactic acid is a "active," and like other exfoliating acids, it can hasten cellular turnover and force pore-clogging debris to the skin's surface.
This suggests the impending pimple will make its way to the surface sooner rather than later. If you use actives and experience what is known as a "purging period," such as moderate breakouts while using lactic acid, you should not be alarmed.
If the problem persists, however, in the form of frequent breakouts or inflammatory cystic acne, you should discontinue use of the product and consult a dermatologist.
How to Use Lactic Acid with Other Skincare Ingredients
When using lactic acid in your skincare routine, it's important to be mindful of other ingredients that may interact with it.
For example, lactic acid can increase the absorption of other skincare ingredients, so it's important to avoid using it with potentially irritating or harsh ingredients, such as retinoids or benzoyl peroxide.
It's also important to avoid using lactic acid with physical exfoliants, such as scrubs or brushes, as this can cause over-exfoliation and irritation.
Try Cosmedica Skincare's Lactic Acid Serum
Lactic acid for skin may be exactly what you need if you're looking for a potent yet delicate ingredient to improve your skin. Lactic acid has many positive effects on the skin, one of which is a more radiant appearance.
Lactic acid can be a beneficial addition to almost any skincare routine, helping to improve the texture, tone, and hydration of the skin. However, it's important to start with a lower concentration product and to gradually work your way up to higher concentrations. It's also important to be mindful of other skincare ingredients that may interact with lactic acid and to always wear sunscreen when using exfoliating products.
Use it with care and moderation, and keep your skin protected by using a moisturizer and sunscreen afterward. At Cosmedica Skincare, we're confident that this incredible ingredient can bring out your best skin ever.
1. Can lactic acid be used on sensitive skin?
While lactic acid is generally considered safe for sensitive skin, it's important to start with a lower concentration product and to patch test before applying it to the entire face. Speak with a dermatologist if you have any concerns.
2. Can lactic acid be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding?
It's generally considered safe to use. If you're pregnant or breastfeeding, it's always best to consult with your healthcare provider before using any skincare products. While lactic acid is generally considered safe for use during pregnancy and breastfeeding in small concentrations, it's always best to err on the side of caution.
3. Can lactic acid be used with other AHAs or BHAs?
It's generally not recommended to use lactic acid with other exfoliating ingredients, such as other AHAs or BHAs. This can increase the risk of irritation and over-exfoliation
4. Can lactic acid be used in the morning or evening?
Lactic acid can be used both in the morning and evening, depending on your skincare routine and preferences. However, it's important to always wear sunscreen during the day when using exfoliating products.
5. How often should lactic acid be used?
The frequency of lactic acid use depends on the concentration and type of product, as well as your skin type and concerns. Start by using a lower concentration product once a day or every other day, and gradually work your way up as your skin adjusts. Always follow the instructions on the product and speak with a dermatologist if you have any concerns.