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Gentle exfoliation: what is lactic acid and why is it in beauty trends?

If you're hoping to give your skin a glow from the inside out, want to unclog pores or reduce redness, you better believe there's an acid for that purpose. Glycolic acid is known for its glow-boosting properties, salicylic acid exfoliates and unclogs pores, and azelaic acid fights redness and blemishes. But if you're looking for an acid that's much gentler on the skin, you need to know what lactic acid is.

Content What is lactic acid?What are the benefits of lactic acid in skin care?What is the best way to use lactic acid in skin care?

But how exactly can it help you and your skin? WomanEL will share with you the opinion of Lisa Kordecki, chief therapist of the skin care company SkinCity.

What is lactic acid?

“Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that is formed by the fermentation of lactose, a sugar naturally found in milk,” Margarita Lolis, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in New Jersey, tells SELF. Don't worry, the agents used in skin care products are usually derived synthetically and not from sour milk.

Reminder: Most skin care acids fall into one of three categories: alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) ), beta hydroxy acids (BHA) and polyhydroxy acids (PHA), which vary in chemical composition. Compared to its AHA cousins, lactic acid is one of the least irritating, Dr. Lolis notes. This is largely due to the fact that it does not penetrate the skin so deeply.

What are the benefits of lactic acid in skin care?

Typical of AHAs, lactic acid is an exfoliant that accelerates cellular turnover and stimulates cell turnover, helping to even out skin texture, reduce hyperpigmentation, and smooth fine lines. “However, lactic acid has additional benefits that you won't get from its AHA cousins,” says Lisa Kordecki, chief therapist at skin care company SkinCity. “It is a powerful humectant that helps improve the skin's natural moisture barrier and hydration levels. This makes it ideal for dry or sensitive skin, as well as a safe and effective ingredient for darker skin types.”

What is the best way to use lactic acid in skin care?

How to use lactic acid in facial care , Source:

Experts agree that it's always smart to use any type of chemical exfoliator through a cleanser. They say it's an easy way to help your skin acclimate first before choosing a leave-in formula.

Look for a cleanser with lactic acid. Massage it onto your face and leave on for 30 seconds before rinsing off to give the ingredient time to take effect. If all is well, you can move on to leave-in products. Lactic acid serums, toners, and peeling discs are good options. You can also find lactic acid in body moisturizers.

No matter which product you choose, try to save the lactic acid for evening use. Before going to bed, you should use ingredients that will help the skin renewal process that begins at night. Essentially, your skin goes into repair and healing mode while you sleep. Lactic acid makes it onto this list.

Another popular beauty ingredient is copper peptides. Find out what they are and what they will do for your skin.

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