Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid used in over-the-counter skin care products and professional treatments. It’s naturally found in milk, though the lactic acid in today’s skin care products is synthetically produced. Lactic acid is used to exfoliate the skin, lighten dark spots, and improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
Lactic acid is a darling in the skin care world and one of the most popular alpha hydroxy acids available. It’s used extensively in over-the-counter skin care and cosmeceutical products, as well as in stronger professional peels and treatments. Lactic acid is naturally found in dairy products; it’s what gives yogurt and soured milk that distinctive tang.
Historically, dairy products have been used by people across the world to soften and beautify the skin. Cleopatra, legend tells us, regularly bathed in milk to keep her skin looking lovely. And it probably worked, thanks to lactic acid.
There’s no need for you to hop into a tub of milk (unless you want to, milk baths are actually a nice way to pamper your skin). Today the overwhelming majority of lactic acid used in skin care products and peels is synthetically produced, some of such products you may check below:
Lactic acid exfoliates the skin. It helps the older, dull cells on the skin’s surface to slough away by dissolving the bonds that hold them together. Lactic acid speeds up cell turnover and stimulates cell renewal. That’s what’s happening on the cellular level. But what you’ll see is a brighter complexion, as well as smoother and softer skin.
Lactic acid is popular for two main reasons: It can create real change in the skin if used regularly. It’s one of the more gentle hydroxy acids used in skin care.
All alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate and improve skin texture, but lactic acid has an extra benefit you won’t get from its AHA cousins. Lactic acid helps improve the skin’s natural moisture factor, or the way the skin keeps itself hydrated. Basically, lactic acid helps to keep the skin moisturized and feeling less dry.
When you use lactic acid regularly, it can also improve signs of aging. It stimulates collagen renewal and can firm your skin. Hyperpigmentation (sun spots or age spots) fade and fine lines and wrinkles soften and smooth out. Lactic acid won’t improve those deeper lines, though.
Interestingly, lactic acid is also the star ingredient in OTC lotions and creams for keratosis pilaris, or those “chicken skin” bumps on the backs of the arms. Lactic acid helps dissolve the plug of skin cells that build up around the hair follicle, smoothing out the bumpiness.4
It’s also used in topical treatments to treat eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea. You should ask you