Lactic acid is a common ingredient in the skincare world. Countless products boast they contain lactic acid, but you may not know what lactic acid is, where it comes from, and how it can enhance your skin. Understanding the ingredients in your skincare regimen is crucial when choosing which products will produce the best results for your specific skin concerns. Below is all the information you need to understand how lactic acid functions and how it can be a great addition to your beauty routine.
What It Is and How It’s Made
Lactic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). It’s derived from fruit, vegetables, and sour milk. Lactic acid is produced by fermenting carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose, and lactose. If you’ve ever wondered why Cleopatra bathed in milk, it’s because she was unknowingly reaping the benefits of lactic acid. The ancient Egyptians knew milk enhanced their skin; they just didn’t know the specific ingredient in this dairy product that was producing their gorgeous results.
Exfoliator and Humectant
Exfoliation is essential for the health of your skin. Lactic acid is an excellent, non-abrasive exfoliant that sloughs dull skin cells away by breaking the bonds that hold these cells together. Lactic acid is a great component in facial cleansers because it creates a clean slate for the products that will be applied following cleansing.
Not only does lactic acid exfoliate your skin, but it also replenishes moisture as it removes dead skin cells. It increases your skin’s hydration by pulling moisture into the outer layer of your skin and helps you retain the newly acquired hydration. Many exfoliators can dry out skin and cause irritation, but to have an ingredient that can both exfoliate dead skin cells away and hydrate the outer layer of skin is a clear winner for revealing beautiful skin.
A Great Anti-Aging Defense
Enhancing the production of collagen is essential for combatting your skin’s natural aging process. Collagen is responsible for giving your skin its plump appearance. As you age, the skin naturally begins to produce less collagen which results in fine lines and wrinkles. Everyday movements of your facial muscles such as laughing and squinting also contribute to the slow formation of aging skin. Lactic acid stimulates collagen renewal which works to firm your skin and lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Hyper pigmentation is another factor that contributes to aging skin. Discoloration from sunspots and post acne marks give the skin an uneven appearance and texture. These dark spots will slowly fade overtime and become less prominent though the consistent use of lactic acid.
The Best AHA for Sensitive Skin
If you have tried other AHAs in the past and experienced skin sensitivities, lactic acid is an excellent AHA to use on your skin. Most AHAs contain small molecules which allow them to penetrate deeper into your skin. This can produce faster results, but it can also cause irritation for those with sensitive skin types.
Lactic acid is composed of larger molecules, making it harder for them to penetrate as deep into your skin, which reduces the risk of having an adverse reaction to products containing this ingredient. This allows those with sensitive skin to reap the benefits of AHAs without the harsh side effects. Caution should still be used when introducing lactic acid into your skincare routine if you have sensitive skin, but the chances of having an adverse reaction to lactic acid is greatly reduces due to its gentle nature.
Always Wear SPF when Using Lactic Acid
Studies have proven that using lactic acid increases the skin’s sensitivities to the sun. Due to this, users of lactic acid should always wear an SPF 30 or higher to protect their skin from the damaging effects of the sun. The increased sensitivity can lead to more dark spots and hyperpigmentation if SPF is not worn daily. Through the use of lactic acid and SPF, dramatic improvement of the skin can be expected with regular use. Sun sensitivity is not permanent and can be reversed by discontinuing any products that contain lactic acid.
Who Can Benefit from Lactic Acid
Whether you have normal or sensitive skin, lactic acid is a great addition to any skin care regimen as long as you understand the effects it has on your skin and you exercise caution to reduce UV sensitivity. If you are looking to improve the texture and appearance of your skin, lactic acid is a must have for your skin care routine. Using lactic acid is a great way to gently exfoliate your skin and ensure continued cell renewal to always reveal your most radiant skin.