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What Is Lactic Acid and What Makes It Effective Against Acne and Wrinkles?

It's the sensitive skin-friendly exfoliant you need in your regimen.
What Is Lactic Acid and What Makes It Effective Against Acne and Wrinkles?
IMAGE Brands
ILLUSTRATOR Igi Talao
It's the sensitive skin-friendly exfoliant you need in your regimen.

With so many skincare ingredients that promise flawless skin, keeping track of all the products that we want to add to cart is practically a full-time job. However, lactic acid has always been on the radar of dermatologists, celebrities, and skincare junkies as an irreplaceable skincare ingredient for decades. While you might associate the term lactic acid with milk or exercise, the hero ingredient is so much more than just a molecular compound. Below, we explain why you should add lactic acid to your skincare routine and how it can work magic for your skin:

What Is Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid is a molecule that is derived from, you guessed it, fermented milk. The acid is found in over-the- counter (OTC) and professional grade skincare products, famously known for being an anti-aging and pigmentation fighting ingredient.

Being a chemical exfoliant, lactic acid is amazing for brightening and exfoliating the skin from the damaging effects of the sun. Since many lactic acid products work as peels and exfoliants, it is sought after by beauty junkies and celebrities alike to even out skin texture and make the skin look poreless and seamless to perfection. Aside from lactic acid being a fan-favorite for keeping the skin glowing, unlike other AHAs, it has a moisturizing factor and helps with water retention.

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What are the Skincare Benefits of Lactic Acid?

1. It helps reduce hyperpigmentation and acne.

Lactic acid breaks down dead skin cells and encourages the regeneration of the skin. This helps in reducing sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and stubborn acne scars over time. Additionally, lactic acid is known to kill bacteria on the skin, which includes those that cause acne.

2. It smoothens the skin.

As previously mentioned, lactic acid gets rid of all the gunk and dead skin cells on the surface of our skin. This means saying goodbye to the days of rough and textured skin and saying hello to a fresh and vibrant look. Lactic acid increases the rate of skin turnover, leading to new and younger-looking skin.

3. It reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

With frequent use, lactic acid can help reduce signs of aging. This is because it belongs to a class of exfoliants called AHAs, which exfoliates the outermost layer of the skin and encourages collagen renewal. However, it does not show results overnight as it requires a constant regimen to be able to work effectively.

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4. It's a good option for sensitive skin.

If you have been afraid to try acids because of a bad experience, give lactic acid a try. The molecular size of lactic acid is larger than other acids, meaning it works more on the surface of the skin than the layers beneath. This in turn makes it not as harsh as glycolic acid, which is a stronger AHA that's more likely to cause irritation.

Skincare Products with Lactic Acid

1. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

This affordable serum has lactic acid working together with Tasmanian pepperberry, an ingredient meant to reduce inflammation and sensitivity. As per the product name, it features hyaluronic acid to give a moisturizing finish while the lactic acid does its work in exfoliating and smoothing the skin. Its a great option for sensitive and dry skin types!

skincare products with lactic acid
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The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%, P593, THE ORDINARY, Lazada

2. Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

This leave-on treatment exfoliates the skin's surface with purified grade lactic acid, giving you radiant, even skin and less visible wrinkles overtime. When used regularly in your skincare routine, it'll help deliver a surreal glow.

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Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment, P5095, SUNDAY RILEY, Sephora.ph

3. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel

The Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross is enhanced with seven different kinds of acids (including lactic acid) to reduce the look of fine lines, acne scars, and shine. The two-step peel lifts away dead skin cells, smoothing and toning the complexion at once. To balance the potent formula, it includes chamomile which has soothing properties.

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Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel, P8660, DR. DENNIS GROSS, Sephora.ph

4. Ole Henriksen Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner

This exfoliating toner has two AHAs (lactic and glycolic acid) and antioxidants working together to rid the skin of congestion, leaving behind a smooth and supple complexion. The slight tingly feeling it gives aside, this formula is well-loved for its effective brightening and toning effects for a reason.

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Glow2OH Dark Spot Toner, P970 (65ml), OLE HENRIKSEN, Sephora.ph

5. Neogen Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon

These convenient exfoliating pads have glycolic and lactic acids teaming up with lemon extract to create a gentle twice-a-week peel for the face. It'll help smoothen skin texture and give it a more radiant appearance over time!

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Bio-Peel Gauze Peeling Lemon, P1295, NEOGEN, Lazada

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