Lactic Acid is on the rise, but what makes it unique? Lactic acid is one of the gentlest alpha hydroxy acids in the family, and one of the smallest molecularly. Molecular size matters because the smaller a molecule, the more easily it gets into the skin. For example, glycolic acid is the smallest AHA, which means it penetrates the skin better and faster than all the other AHAs; this is why glycolic acid is considered the strongest AHA. However stronger doesn’t always mean better if you have sensitive skin, as it can cause irritation and redness.

Like other AHAs, lactic acid is a water-soluble exfoliating ingredient that breaks down the proteins that bind skin cells together, increasing cell turnover. The results are smoother, more even-toned, brighter skin with less acne-enabling pore congestion.

Though what sets lactic acid apart from the other acids is its natural moisturizing factor that other AHAs cannot provide, such as boosting hydration, stimulating collagen synthesis, improving skin discoloration, and more. In addition to being an alternative to glycolic acid, lactic acid is best for those with sensitive skin and for those who have never exfoliated with an AHA before.


Top skincare benefits


1. Exfoliates and brightens the skin

One of the key benefits of lactic acid is its ability to exfoliate and brighten the skin. Lactic acid is considered a chemical exfoliant. Lactic acid works by breaking down keratin, a protein that acts as a glue to hold together the dead skin cells that make up the stratum corneum. By dissolving keratin, lactic acid helps to slough off these dead skin cells, effectively exfoliating the skin. It also enhances cellular renewal by increasing cell turnover rates in the upper layers of your skin. Ultimately, lactic acid leaves the skin looking brighter with a more even tone.


2. Prevents acne

Lactic acid sloughs away the dead skin cells that can clog pores and cause breakouts. Plus, its moisturizing effects keep the skin hydrated and soft, allowing blemishes to heal better.


3. Boost skin hydration

Lactic acid is a powerful moisturizer. It improves skin hydration by functioning as a humectant. Humectants improve moisture retention and may also help other topical skin care ingredients to perform better. When lactic acid lotion is applied to the body, its exfoliating action helps to break down rough skin while its hydrating action replenishes dry skin. Lactic acid is also a key element of the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF). By using ingredients that help to replenish NMF, such as lactic acid, the skin will be better hydrated. Ultimately, the skin will look and feel healthy, smooth, and supple.

Lastly, lactic acid increases levels of ceramides, which are lipids naturally produced by the skin and are vital in supporting the skin’s barrier function. By stimulating ceramide synthesis, lactic acid helps to prevent transepidermal water loss and promote healthy, intact, moisturized skin.


4. Corrects skin discoloration

When lactic acid is used in high concentrations, such as with a lactic acid peel, it has the ability to lighten the skin and correct skin discoloration (hyperpigmentation). Specifically, lactic acid has been shown to directly inhibit tyrosinase activity. Tyrosinase is a key enzyme involved in the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that gives skin color and contributes to the formation of undesirable dark spots. Therefore, by inhibiting tyrosinase, lactic acid may be able to reduce abnormal pigmentation associated with aging and exposure to UV light.


5. Helps fight signs of aging

Lactic acid has the ability to reduce the appearance of lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging by stimulating collagen synthesis. Even though many skin care products include collagen as an ingredient, it is simply too large to penetrate the skin deep enough to have an anti-aging effect. This is why using ingredients that can penetrate the skin and stimulate collagen synthesis, such as lactic acid, provides effective anti-aging benefits.


Note that Lactic Acid pairs well with Salicylic Acid, Glycerin and Hyaluronic Acid, and it should not be mixed with Retinol.



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