The Ultimate Guide to Lactic Acid for Skin: Benefits, Uses, and Side Effects

Have you ever heard of lactic acid for your skin? If not, you may be missing out on one of the greatest natural remedies for achieving smooth and glowing skin. Lactic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) produced from lactose or other carbohydrates through fermentation. It is commonly found in dairy products such as yogurt, milk, and buttermilk. When applied topically, lactic acid can work wonders to improve the texture and hydration of your skin.

Benefits of Lactic Acid for Skin

  • Exfoliating: Lactic acid is a gentle yet effective exfoliant that can slough away dead skin cells from the surface. It works by dissolving the bonds between cells, allowing them to be easily removed without being harsh on the skin. It can reveal the younger, brighter layer of skin underneath.
  • Moisturizing: Lactic acid has excellent humectant properties, which means it can attract and retain moisture in the skin. This hydration helps to plump up the skin, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, and improve skin elasticity.
  • Brightening: Lactic acid can help to even out skin tone and lighten hyperpigmentation. It does this by inhibiting the production of melanin, which is responsible for skin discoloration.
  • Anti-aging: Lactic acid can stimulate collagen production in the skin, which helps to improve skin texture and firmness. Collagen is essential for maintaining youthful-looking skin, and its production decreases as we age.

Using Lactic Acid for Skin Care

If you’re interested in using lactic acid for your skin care routine, there are many products available on the market. Look for products that contain 5-10% lactic acid and have a pH of around 3.5-4.0 for optimal effectiveness. Some popular products include:

  • The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA 2%: This serum contains 5% lactic acid and 2% hyaluronic acid to hydrate and exfoliate the skin. It is suitable for all skin types except sensitive skin.
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 8% AHA Lotion: This lotion contains a blend of AHAs, including lactic acid, to exfoliate and brighten the skin. It is suitable for all skin types except for sensitive skin.
  • REN Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Tonic: This toner contains lactic acid and other AHAs to exfoliate and brighten the skin. It is suitable for all skin types.

It is important to note that while lactic acid is generally safe to use, it can cause irritation or sensitivity in some individuals. If you have sensitive skin or are new to using AHAs, it is recommended to start with a lower concentration and gradually work your way up. Additionally, always wear sunscreen when using any type of AHA as they can increase sun sensitivity.


Overall, lactic acid is an excellent addition to any skin care routine. It can help to exfoliate, moisturize, brighten, and anti-age your skin. If you’re looking for a natural and effective way to achieve smooth and glowing skin, lactic acid may be just what you need.

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