You might have heard about lactic acid if you keep up with skin care trends and terms. While adding an acid to your skin care routine sounds a bit scary, there is a multitude of benefits of lactic acid. It can help to exfoliate skin and reduce the appearance of dry skin and improve skin tone evenness by enhancing skin cell turnover. If you’re interested in those results but not quite sure how or if they should be part of your skin care routine, we’re explaining everything you need to know about lactic acid for skin below.
What Is Lactic Acid?
Lactic acid is a member of the alpha-hydroxy acid family — also known as AHAs, according to the National Center of Biotechnology Information (NCBI). Lactic acid isn’t just important for maintaining the look of your skin but it’s also pretty essential to your overall physical health. Lactic acid is naturally made in the body, with most of it being made in your muscle tissues and red blood cells, according to the University of Michigan Health Library. It’s most commonly known for its production during humanly strenuous exercises. So if you’ve ever felt sore after a tough workout, that is lactic acid at work!
What Does Lactic Acid Do For Skin?
The lactic acid that makes its way into your skin care products isn’t the same form that your body produces, according to the Mayo Clinic. Lactic acid is an AHA like glycolic acid, tartaric acid, and citric acids. And the AHAs used in skin care products are synthetic versions that are derived from sugar-containing fruits. The Mayo Clinic shares that topical AHAs, including lactic acid, work on the skin by helping to remove dead skin cells from its surface. This is why AHAs are called chemical exfoliants. As opposed to mechanical exfoliants like face scrubs, these ingredients work chemically to polish away dead skin cells from the outer layer of the skin.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, skin care creams and lotions containing AHAs can help reduce the appearance of fine lines, irregular pigmentation, fade dark spots over time, and may also help to shrink the appearance of enlarged pores. Topical use of lactic acid skin care products isn’t limited to only cream and moisturizer, either. Per the Cleveland Clinic, the ingredient is often used in professional chemical peel treatments as well. Products formulated with lactic acid are also often available over the counter, Which is great for those with chronically dry and scaly skin.
What To Know Before Using Lactic Acid
The first thing to note before using any AHA is that they may increase sun sensitivity. So, before adding lactic acid skin care formulas to your routine, make sure you're using sun protection, too. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) recommends using sunscreen with an SPF value of 20 or higher every day and taking other sun protection measures, including wearing protective accessories like a broad-brimmed hat and seeking out the shade when outside.
Our Best AHA Products
Lactic acid isn’t the only AHA you can add to your skin care routine. We’re fans of the benefits of glycolic acid as well. It’s been recognized as an effective anti-aging resurfacing ingredient for evening skin tone and reducing the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. If you’re interested in trying out this skin care ingredient for yourself, here are our best options.
L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Glycolic Acid Serum: This serum, which was validated in partnership with an advisory panel of dermatologists, is formulated with 10% pure glycolic acid and aloe vera. It immediately makes skin feel smoother and visibly refined. Over time, it also helps your skin tone look more even and visibly reduces dark spots. apply four to five drops to clean, dry skin every evening before moisturizing. In the morning, make sure to use sunscreen. If you have sensitive skin, start by using the serum two to three times per week and build up to nightly use.
L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Daily Peel Pads: These daily peel pads with glycolic acid help resurface dull skin, even out skin tone, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles over time. smooth one of the pads over your skin every night, avoiding contact with your eyes.
L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Daily Scrub Cleanser: As your skin’s ability to shed its dead surface cells declines with age, you might consider adding a facial cleanser formulated with glycolic acid to your daily routine. This one is formulated with gentle micro-pearls and glycolic acid, and it helps exfoliate dullness and impurities to help improve skin tone, texture, and clarity.
L'Oréal Paris Revitalift Bright Reveal Brightening Day Moisturizer SPF 30: Besides being formulated with glycolic acid, this day moisturizer is formulated with SPF 30 sunscreen to help protect against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays.
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