LACTIC ACID: SMOOTH AND EXFOLIATE

Lactic acid is derived from milk and forms part of the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) family. Its primary goal is to improve the look and feel of your skin, exfoliating, unclogging pores, and brightening skin. 

As a chemical exfoliant, lactic acid gently clears out dead skin cells and sebum within the skin. It can help acne-prone skin with its pore-unclogging benefits, however, it also has anti-ageing benefits. These include targeting blemishes and targeting fine lines and wrinkles.


WHAT IS IT?

Speaking to Prevention.com, S. Tyler Hollmig, M.D., director of dermatologic surgery at UT Dell Medical School and Ascension Seton in Austin says, “The ingredient was first isolated from sour milk, and it is thought that Cleopatra took advantage of its beneficial properties on the skin by bathing in milk.”

Today, getting the benefits of this powerful AHA doesn’t require milk baths. The ingredient is commonly found in masks and peels, where it can penetrate into the top layers of the skin. It can be used by most skin types, from acne-prone to mature skin.


WANT TO KNOW A LITTLE MORE SCIENCE BEHIND IT?

Lactic acid is produced from milk - in particular, sour milk. 

Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele isolated the AHA compound from sour milk. Towards the end of the late 1800s, German pharmacist Boehringer Ingelheim discovered how to mass-produce lactic acid after noting that it was a byproduct of fermented sugar and starch in sour milk, made by bacteria.

As a light peeling agent, it smoothes out the skin, gently unclogging pores and giving your skin a youthful glow. 

Unlike other exfoliating AHAs such as glycolic acid, this acid has larger molecules. This means that it does not penetrate deeply into the skin. Instead, it focuses on the surface layers of the skin to polish, exfoliate and firm the skin. 


HOW DOES IT HELP YOUR SKIN?

"Lactic acid in the world of skincare is renowned for being an alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA) which is great for exfoliation, anti-ageing and reducing the appearance of superficial scars," says Dr Adil Sarwar, an aesthetic doctor speaking to Refinery29.

It also has anti-bacterial qualities (excellent for treating breakouts), helps the skin retain moisture, smoothes out fine lines, reduces spots, increases cell turnover, and improves the overall texture of the skin. 

WHERE IT’S FOUND: It is typically found in picked foods, fermented soy products, salami and yoghurt.

BENEFITS: The biggest benefit of this ingredient is its ability to increase skin cell turnover and help eliminate accumulated dead skin cells on the surface of the skin.

SHOP PRODUCTS: Glow Turmeric Mask, 32% AHA BHA Peel


SOURCES:

https://www.prevention.com/beauty/skin-care/a32743734/what-is-lactic-acid/

https://www.byrdie.com/lactic-acid-for-skin

https://www.refinery29.com/en-gb/lactic-acid-skincare

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/what-is-lactic-acid-why-this-natural-active-is-skin-care-fave

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