Lactic acid is a gentle alphahydroxy acid (AHA) that encourages exfoliation and cellular renewal, which helps tone and retexturise skin and reveals a fresh and more even complexion. Lactic acid also increases the ceramides in skin’s protective layer and stimulates collagen production. What sets lactic acid apart from other AHAs are that it actually enhances water retention. Lactic acid is used to treat hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, rosacea, skin bumps (keratosis pilaris), eczema, and psoriasis.
1. Cell exfoliation and renewal
Lactic acid dissolves the proteins that bind together dead skin cells, allowing them to shed more easily and encouraging new cells to generate. As a keratolytic agent, it helps refine pores, minimises the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brightens and evens out skin tone, reduces hyperpigmentation, and lightens dark spots.
2. Collagen boost
Lactic acid plays a critical role in the formation of new collagen by fibroblasts. Collagen is a protein that enhances the structure of skin cells and works together with elastin to maintain skin’s elasticity and plumpness.
3. Increased ceramides
Lactic acid helps to increase ceramide production. Ceramides are able to bind water and lipids, thus enhancing the skin’s barrier function and its ability to retain moisture so that skin feels firmer and plumper, and the appearance of fine lines are softened.
Being one of the gentler AHAs, lactic acid is compatible with all skin types, including sensitive, mature and acne-prone skin types. As lactic acid may cause increased sun sensitivity, we recommend using it alongside a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Lactic acid works well in combination with other products. It is especially recommended for use alongside hydrators such as hyaluronic acid.
You will see the best results if you regularly apply a product containing lactic acid to cleansed skin, followed by your favourite moisturiser and sunscreen. Lactic acid can be used once a day or every other day. Some dermatologists recommend a cycle of three days on, three days off.