Lactic acid for skin exfoliation and hydration
Lactic acid is an over-the-counter chemical exfoliant that comes from lactose fermentation, a carbohydrate found in milk. It's a common alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) used in cosmetic products due to its gentle exfoliating properties. And history shows lactic acid's usage dates back to ancient Egypt when Cleopatra bathed in sour milk to nourish her skin.
Chemical peels that contain AHAs, such as lactic acid, remove the top layer of dead skin cells. Superficial chemical peels contain a 10–30% lactic acid concentration. Although they are called peels, the skin does not noticeably peel off. Instead, the dead skin cells come away from the top layer of the skin when cleansing your face in the morning after usage.
What should you know about Lactic Acid?
How lactic acid works on the skin depends mainly on its formulation and concentration in the product. The lactic acid in lower concentrations can serve as a hydrating factor. At the same time, concentrations around 10% incline towards exfoliating effects.
Lactic acid can stimulate the generation of firmer, thicker skin, fewer fine lines, wrinkles, and acne lesions. Anyone with acne-prone skin or who frequently breaks out can benefit from lactic acid.
It's only recommended for use once a day at maximum, but should probably be used once every few days. Mainly because your skin follows a natural cycle of cell regeneration and death, a process that constant exfoliation can affect.
Lactic acid works well with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid. And may not mix well with other acids and exfoliants like AHAs or benzoyl peroxide. And avoid combining lactic acid with retinoids as well.
Benefits of lactic acid for skin
- Antibacterial properties: Research found that lactic acid helped eliminate skin infections in newborn infants. It tracks that it would do the same in adults, including the irritating, acne-causing kind.
- Soothes wrinkles and lines: Treatment with 12% lactic acid concentration can increase epidermal and dermal firmness and thickness, smoothing line and wrinkles appearance. This effect prevails at the superficial levels of the skin in products with concentrations of lactic acid at 5%.
- Calms acne: It may help to reduce acne lesions. Combined with green tea and bamboo extract, research shows that 5% lactic acid may be beneficial in treating acne and scarring. In addition, due to its cleansing and hydrating properties, lactic acid could help balance the skin in the production of sebum and breakouts.
Side-effects of Lactic Acid
As with any acid, it's essential to use it wisely. Therefore, please do not use it on irritated skin.
Too much acid can often lead to irritation, which accelerates the aging process. Also, using acids constantly once can lead to inflammation, rashes, and chemical burns. However, it is worth noting that lactic acid does irritate the skin less than many other acids. Meaning it is safe to use more often than, for example, salicylic acid.
How to Use It
There are recommendations to incorporate lactic acid products on a three-on/three-off schedule. Apply it three nights in a row, then take a break for three nights to treat and nourish your skin.
Also, consider discontinuing strong exfoliating products such as retinoids or scrubs when you're regularly using lactic acid. Since all peels, including lactic acid, exfoliate the skin, making it even more sensitive to sun exposure, you should apply a sun protection factor daily. Choose an spf of at least 30 or more to avoid sun damage to the "freshly peeled" skin.
There are lactic acid products in different formulations with different concentrations. Consider, to start slowly on your peeling journey and choose lower dosages, starting from 5 or 10 % maximum. We recommend following the particular usage instructions of any formula with this acid.
The Craft and Care Way
Including acids with exfoliating effects on the skin can result in sensitization and inflammation if you do not consider various aspects. Regular exfoliation according to your needs can be positive if you include gentle and nourishing care for your skin's balance.
We recommend our Soft Balm as gentle skincare to take care of sensitive skin. Based on organic ingredients and a simple formulation, this balm is ideal to help with calming irritated skin. Our soft balm contains:
- Cocoa butter
- Almond oil
- Coconut oil
- Vitamin E acetate
Combined, these five ingredients can protect, soothe, and stimulate the skin's natural regenerative properties. We recommend applying our Soft Balm after cleansing and moisturizing as the final step in your care routine.
We wish you good results, comfort, and well-being in your routines!