About Lactic Acid
How does lactic acid work?
Lactic acid is a component of the skin’s natural moisturizing factor, or NMF, which is a blend of compounds naturally found in the skin that helps it hold on to moisture.3 In addition, lactic acid is an exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acid that helps promote the shedding of dead skin cells. By gently eliminating the buildup of dead cells, this ingredient helps soften and smooth your skin and improve its overall texture.2
How is lactic acid used?
Lactic acid is commonly found in lotions and creams that are formulated to help improve skin texture due to its gentle yet effective exfoliating effect.
What are benefits of lactic acid for skincare?
Lactic acid is helpful for smoothing and softening rough or scaly skin. Products containing this exfoliating ingredient can be suitable for dry and sensitive skin because of its hydrating benefits and because it is one of the gentlest alpha-hydroxy acids.5
Can lactic acid be used on the body?
Yes. Lactic acid is a gentle yet effective exfoliating ingredient for dry, rough skin anywhere on the body, especially on the backs of your arms, your legs, elbows, calluses, and knees.
Can lactic acid be used with other skincare ingredients?
A combination of alpha-hydroxy lactic acid and beta-hydroxy salicylic acid can be especially effective in products for improving the texture of rough or bumpy skin since both of these ingredients are mild exfoliating acids. Lactic acid is often used with other skincare ingredients because its gentle exfoliating effect may help reduce the layers of dead skin cells that can get in the way of product absorption.
Is extra sun protection needed when using lactic acid?
Yes. It’s important to always use broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect any skin exposed to UV rays. However, lactic acid’s exfoliating effects can leave your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, so taking extra sun protection measures is recommended.
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- Baumann, Leslie S. Cosmetic dermatology. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, 2009, page 105
- Baumann, Leslie S. Cosmetic dermatology. McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing, 2009, page 275-276
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