Lactic Acid is one of the Hydroxy Acid Group which in cosmeceutical products consists of both the sub groups of AHA’s and BHA;-
Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) – water soluble
Mandelic acid and
Beta Hydroxy Acids (BHA) – oil and lipid soluble
Hydroxy acids can smooth, tighten, firm and brighten. And what’s great, almost everyone can tolerate them in lower concentrations and invariably will notice significant improvements in their skin when used as directed.
But how exactly do these multi-taskers-in-a-bottle work?
Hydroxy acids weaken the ‘cellular glue’ that makes dead skin cells stick together, encouraging exfoliation and revealing healthy, younger skin cells. Hydroxy acids at medium to higher concentrations can also function beyond the surface of the skin and work in the epidermal and dermal layers to deliver additional results, such as collagen and elastin remodelling, pigment lightening and melanin suppression (i.e., keeping brown spots at bay).
As this category deals specifically with Lactic Acid products, let’s stick to what Lactic Acid can do for you.
Lactic acid is a naturally occurring acid derived from a variety of sources, most commonly sour milk. Cleopatra is believed to have bathed in it as part of her beauty rituals.
Why it works: Like glycolic acid, lactic acid exfoliates as it increases moisture levels in the top layers of the skin, improving barrier function and resistance to dryness and flakiness.
Who will benefit from it: Like all AHAs, lactic acid is great for general exfoliation and skin lightening. But because this is a larger molecule, it makes it somewhat “gentler” than glycolic acid. Those with sensitive skin or darker skin often prefer lactic products over glycolic acid products because they tend to see less inflammation in the skin after use, but get similar desired results.
What else you need to know: Studies show that low concentrations and medium (12%) concentrations of lactic acid can increase epidermal and dermal firmness and thickness of skin as well as reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. It can also clear sunspots by accelerating cell turnover and directly inhibiting melanin production.