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When it comes to clear pores and balanced oil production, exfoliation is an essential element of any skincare routine. After cleansing, toning, and exfoliating, however, it’s important to hydrate and protect the skin. There are countless products on the market that provide these benefits individually, but there’s also one ingredient that packs a one-two punch of exfoliation AND hydration: lactic acid.
Lactic acid plays several key roles in supporting the function of cells, tissues, and organs in the body. It’s an energy source for mitochondria, a signaling molecule, and a precursor for glucose production.
What does that have to do with skincare?
Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that is commonly used in over-the-counter skincare products to remove dead skin cells, correct hyperpigmentation, and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Here’s everything you need to know about lactic acid in skincare.
What is Lactic Acid?
As previously mentioned, lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid – one of the most popular over-the-counter AHAs, in fact. It’s also used in professional-strength spa products. This AHA provides both exfoliating and hydrating benefits – it can even stimulate collagen production.
Before lactic acid was integrated into modern skincare products, it was used around the world for skincare in its most natural form. Dairy products are rich in lactic acid. It’s what gives soured milk its distinctive smell and tang. Milk baths have long been a popular treatment to soften and beautify the skin. Today, however, lactic acid can be found in many skincare products.
What Benefits Does It Have for Skin?
The primary skin benefits of lactic acid are linked to its exfoliating and hydrating properties. What makes this AHA so popular is the fact that it can facilitate noticeable change in the skin when used regularly. It’s also one of the more gentle hydroxy acids found in skincare products.
Here’s an overview of some of the benefits this AHA can provide:
Lactic acid helps remove dead cells from the skin’s surface by dissolving the bonds that bind them together – in other words, it acts as an exfoliator.
It can reduce the visible signs of aging by stimulating collagen renewal when used regularly.
This AHA speeds up cell turnover and cell renewal. It can give you a brighter complexion with smoother, softer skin by replacing old cells with new cells.
Lactic acid helps strengthen the skin’s natural moisture barrier to protect against dry skin.
It can be beneficial for individuals struggling with keratosis pilaris. It helps dissolve the plugs that form around the hair follicle, creating “chicken skin” bumps.
While lactic acid is gentler than many AHAs, it is still a very strong treatment and should be used with caution. Potential side effects include sun sensitivity, skin irritation, redness, burning, or swelling. Individuals with very sensitive skin should avoid lactic acid and this AHA should not be combined with the use of topical retinoids.
Popular Yon-Ka Products that Contain Lactic Acid
Lactic acid can be found in several different types of skincare products. Leave-on treatments like creams, serums, and lotions with lactic acid should be used as directed to avoid sun damage, and wearing sunscreen daily is a must. If you’re looking for a stronger dose, try a peel or mask.
Here are some popular Yon-Ka products containing lactic acid to consider:
Alpha-Peel – This anti-wrinkle night concentrate gel helps refine, refresh, and revitalize the complexion overnight. The lactic acid in the product offers exfoliation benefits which pair perfectly with the renewing and hydrating benefits of Alpha-Fluide
Essential White Solution Clarte – Formulated to treat dark spots and pigmentation, this solution is a brightening and exfoliating treatment. The lactic acid it contains is included for its exfoliating benefits and for helping unify the complexion. For best results, use in conjunction with the Essential White collection of products.
Juvenil – This purifying anti-blemish concentrate provides a balanced approach to treating imperfections. The lactic acid in this product acts as a post-biotic to help balance the skin’s pH and support healthy microflora.
SOS Spot – Designed as a roll-on treatment, this product purifies the skin of acne-causing bacteria and offers post-biotic benefits to protect the skin’s healthy microflora. The lactic acid in this product also helps balance the skin’s pH.
Hydra+ Booster – Hydrating for all skin types, this booster is intended to be added to your usual moisturizer. The lactic acid in this product helps to soften and hydrate the skin.
Please consult your Yon-Ka trained esthetician for the best recommendations of how to use lactic acid in your skin care routine.