That spoiled milk in the back of your refrigerator? It turns out that it may be beneficial to your skin. Well, sort of. Sour milk contains lactic acid, which has significant skin benefits. So much so, that many skin care companies include it in serums, moisturisers, and face washes.
There are several acids that are commonly used in skin care, such as salicylic acid for acne and hyaluronic acid (which is extremely hydrating) for moisturising.
However, lactic acid has a distinct set of properties that can significantly improve your complexion.
Continue reading to learn more about lactic acid and how incorporating it into your skincare routine can benefit your skin.
What Is Lactic Acid?
Lactic acid can be found in a variety of foods and dairy products. Sour milk has already been mentioned, but it can also be found in yoghurt, sauerkraut, and other fermented foods.
Lactic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (also known as AHAs). Lactic acid, like glycolic acid, is one of the most commonly used AHAs in skin care and cosmetics.
Citric acid, hydroxycaprylic acid, and hydroxycapric acid are other AHAs that can be found in skin care products.
In general, lactic acid (and other AHAs) exfoliate — or cause the shedding of — your top layer of skin.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that the use of AHAs such as lactic acid in skin care products is safe.
Many Benefits of Lactic Acid
So, why would someone want to put lactic acid on their face?
There are several reasons for this. Here are some of the most common advantages of using skin care products containing this type of acid:
Remove blemishes from your face.
Lactic acid has been shown to prevent and treat acne lesions. So, if you have acne-prone skin, this could be very beneficial.
Refresh your skin’s appearance.
Who doesn’t want brighter, younger-looking skin? Lactic acid accelerates cell turnover and renewal (this is the process where your skin sheds dead cells and replaces them with new ones). As a result, A more radiant complexion.
Reduce the appearance of ageing.
AHAs, such as topical lactic acid, can plump the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles. They can also help with sunspots and pigmentation problems.
Hydration, say hello!
This ingredient can also help improve the skin barrier and increase skin moisture (a natural protectant your skin has to keep moisture in).
Lactic Acid Side Effects
Lactic acid has a lot of advantages, don’t you think? However, before you begin using it, you should be aware of some of the potential side effects.
This way, you’ll know what to look out for if you use it.
- When you use lactic acid products, you may notice that your skin becomes more sensitive to sunlight. According to research, this sensitivity can last for up to a week after discontinuing use of AHA-containing products such as lactic acid.
- Because lactic acid exfoliates away dead skin cells, leaving you with new skin that is more prone to being burned by UV rays, your skin may be more sensitive to the sun.
- Given this, it is essential to protect your skin whenever you’re outside in the sun. You should protect your skin regardless of whether or not you use lactic acid products in your skin care routine. Sun-damaged skin, as we all know, stinks.
- The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. You should also look for something with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- People who use lactic acid products may experience irritation in addition to sun sensitivity. This may manifest as redness, itching, swelling, dryness, or burning. This is especially true if you already have sensitive skin.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional.
Applying Lactic Acid to Your Skin
Do you want brighter skin? How about fewer blemishes and a more youthful glow? “Who doesn’t want these things?” is a better question.
Lactic acid may be the answer — or at least one of them.
It’s one of the more common alpha hydroxy acids found in skin care products, along with glycolic acid.
This is due to the fact that this skin care ingredient can help slough away dead skin cells to improve skin texture, revealing fresher, brighter skin beneath.
Other advantages include reducing wrinkles and dark spots or age spots, preventing and treating acne, and increasing moisture.
Sun sensitivity and skin irritation are two potential side effects of using lactic acid. However, you should be aware that not everyone who uses AHA-containing products will experience these side effects.
Make an appointment with a healthcare professional if you’d like an expert opinion on whether your complexion would benefit from using something like a lactic acid serum or moisturiser. If you have sensitive skin, it’s also a good idea to consult with a professional before trying something new.