The Science of Lactic Acid in Skin Care
阅读时间 7 min
阅读时间 7 min
Have you ever wondered why lactic acid has been a popular skin care ingredient for thousands of years? Derived from natural sources like milk, fermented fruits, or yogurt, this hydroxyacid offers many advantages to dry, resistant skin types.
In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into what lactic acid is, where it comes from, its numerous benefits, potential side-effects, and its various applications in skincare. But before we dive into the details, let's start with the basics.
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Table of Contents on Lactic Acid
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Lactic acid in skin care is a hydroxyacid that can play a beneficial role in many daily routines. (3) Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) derived from natural sources like milk. AHAs like this one and glycolic acid are renowned for their exfoliating and hydrating properties, making them one of the most common categories of ingredients in skin care products. (2)
The lactic acid used in skin care products does not come from the human body even though we produce lactic acid. For skin care products, lactic acid can be sourced from various places, but one of the most common sources is milk. The extraction process involves fermenting milk sugars (lactose) using bacteria, resulting in a chemical reaction that produces lactic acid. (6) This natural production method ensures that the lactic acid used in skincare is safe and effective. The lactic acid produced by these reactions is used alongside other ingredients to serve particular functions in a variety of product types such as moisturizers, cleansers, sunscreens, balms, and more.
Common sources of lactic acid in skin care include:
Lactic acid is a versatile and multifaceted ingredient in skin care products. Some of the most notable benefits attributed to this compound in skin care are:
All of these benefits make lactic acid a great contender for acne prone, dry, or aging skin types who can tolerate a low pH ingredient.
It is also worth noting that studies have found lactic acid to be a good treatment for psoriasis (5) and xerosis.
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Lactic acid is used to treat many skin conditions. These are the most common:
Lactic acid has been extensively reviewed for use in skin care and is very safe to use. (3) Research organizations like the CIR and the EWG have published reports on the safety of lactic acid used in skin care. The EWG is adamant that the specific use of lactic acid determines it safety, grading it “1-5.” When used in concentrations of 10% or less, there is only a chance of irritating sensitive skin. (12)
Lactic acid is nonetheless one of the least irritating hydroxyacids on the skin, but that doesn't mean it's right for everybody.
There are really only two main considerations to keep in mind when choosing a lactic acid product:
Lactic acid has been used for centuries by some of history's greatest beauty icons. Cleopatra, known for her legendary aesthetics, reportedly bathed in sour milk, which contains ample lactic acid. (4) This practice contributed to her famously soft and radiant skin. Similarly, the character Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone with the Wind" used buttermilk on her shoulders to address hyperpigmented dark spots. (5)
If you are looking for an ingredient with endless historical precedent for your routine, lactic acid might be right for you.
Lactic acid's antimicrobial properties make it a valuable tool in the fight against acne. By killing acne-causing bacteria and exfoliating the skin's surface, it can help reduce breakouts. However, individuals with sensitive skin should be cautious, as lactic acid may cause some stinging. (14)
Exfoliation is one of the keys to anti-aging, and lactic acid excels in this regard. By removing dead skin cells and promoting collagen production, it helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. (1,9) Additionally, lactic acid can address photodamage, potentially slowing down the aging process. (15)
Lactic acid's humectant properties make it an excellent choice for dry skin. It attracts and retains moisture, keeping your skin well-hydrated. (7) Comparatively, lactic acid can be gentler on the skin than glycolic acid while still delivering effective results. It's a superb alternative to other hydrating ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
Notably, lactic acid can be found in products for the legs such as the prescription product AmLactin.
Incorporating lactic acid into your skincare routine can be a game-changer. Whether you're dealing with acne, seeking anti-aging benefits, or combating dry skin, lactic acid's versatility has you covered. If you're unsure where to start, consider taking the Baumann Skin Type questionnaire to discover the products best suited for your unique skin needs. Here's to healthier, more radiant skin through the power of lactic acid!
For dry skin on your body, use lactic acid 2 times a day. Apply SPF in the daytime.
Lactic acid is an exfoliant and can remove dark spots on the skin if paired with a tyrosinase inhibitor ingredient.
Lactic acid peels are used to treat acne, winkles and dark spots on the skin. It works by lowering the skin PH and causing exfoliation.
All hydroxyacids can cause hyperpigmentation in darker skin types if not used carefully. Start slowly only once a day 3 times a week and avoid sun exposure. slowly increase how many days a week you use it until you can use it 1-2 times a day without irritation.