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Skin Care Products > Articles > Skin Care Benefits of Lactic Acid

Skin Care Benefits of Lactic Acid

Posted On: - 2009-06-22 05:21:47

Lactic acid is extensively used in skin care formulations to enhance the overall quality of the skin and treat various skin concerns. Known for its anti aging properties, lactic acid is one of the prime ingredients found in skin care products.

What is Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). The AHA family is comprised of various ingredients derived from sugar cane, fruit and milk. As the name suggests, lactic acid can be derived from milk, after a steady process of fermentation. Lactic acid is a powerful exfoliant and is featured in many skin care products.

Just like glycolic acid, another popular AHA, lactic acid is very effective in reducing fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and hyperpigmentation. Moreover, it also enhances the skin texture and stimulates the production of collagen within the skin cells. What makes it better than glycolic acid is that it doesn't cause irritations or allergic reactions.

Benefits of Lactic Acid

It has intensive hydrating properties and moisturizes the skin very well.
It prevents photo-aging (premature skin aging as a result of sun exposure) and prevents sun damage.
It acts as an exfoliant and makes the skin soft and rejuvenated.
It stimulates collagen production within the skin cells.
It also acts as an antibacterial agent.
It is an excellent astringent.
It is used to treat skin problems such as acne, impurities, and oily skin breakouts.
Dermatologists and surgeons use higher concentrations of lactic acid in chemical peels.

Lactic acid is used in an extensive variety of skin care products in the market. It is not only extremely effective but is also gentle thus people with sensitive skin, oily acneic skin and rosacea patients can use it safely.


It is a natural exfoliator that works to shed off dead skin cells from the skin surface and promote the growth of fresh healthy ones. Because of this, it is an active ingredient in many dry skin moisturizers. It encourages faster shedding of the upper skin layers and reveals new cells from underneath. Moreover, it is a great humectant and helps to trap in the skin's natural moisture and oil contents.

Anti Aging Formulations

Lactic acid has an intrinsic ability to reduce the appearance of aging signs like wrinkles, fine lines, age spots and hyperpigmentation. Thus, it is used widely in cleansers and anti aging skin care products.

Acne Skin Care Products

When used properly, lactic acid can also treat acne inflammations and blemishes. This is why it is often included in acne skin care products and acne treatments. However, too much exfoliation can aggravate the acne rather than cure it. Therefore, make sure you follow the instructions on the skin care products very carefully. Start with lower concentrations of AHA ingredients and as you skin gets used to it, move on to higher concentrations and frequent use.

Side Effects of Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a mild ingredient. However, there have been cases when people have shown adverse reactions to it. Consult your doctor immediately if you experience any burning, irritation, peeling or stinging sensation.

Lactic acid, just like any other AHA increases the skin's susceptibility towards sunlight and the skin becomes more vulnerable to damage by the UVA/UVB radiations. Therefore, while using lactic acid containing skin care products, make sure you apply plenty of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.

Some Precautions

Lactic acid is suitable for all skin types. However, people with extremely sensitive skin should avoid using skin care products that contain higher strengths of lactic acid.

People who are using Retinol based skin care products should also avoid using higher strengths of lactic acid.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers should not use lactic acid based skin care products because it may get passed on through breast milk.

Product Suggestions:

DermaEarth SugarBerry Skin Resurfacing Cleasner

DermaEarth SugarBerry Skin Resurfacing Cleanser uses Chirally Resolved Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) that promotes ample skin hydration, and cellular renewal, effectively, decreasing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and pigmentation discolorations

Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermofoliant

dermalogica Age Smart Multivitamin Thermofoliant is a great anti-aging product that polishes the skin keeping it looking young and fresh. This powerful thermal skin polisher combines physical and chemical exfoliants to refine the skin's texture making it smooth and supple. It uses advanced technology ingredients to condition and treat the skin.

Obagi Nu-Derm Exfoderm Forte

Obagi Nu Derm Exfoderm Forte is a special formulation that contains alpha hydroxyl acid (Lactic Acid) to exfoliate dead skin cells from the skin surface. It also accelerates the absorption of treatment ingredients of the system by the skin.