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Adding Lactic Acid to Your Skin Care Routine

Last updated: June 14, 2022

A quality skincare routine is essential for maintaining healthy and youthful skin. Still, knowing which ingredients will work best for your skin type can be challenging with all the different products on the market.

If you're looking for a versatile and effective ingredient to add to your routine, you might want to consider lactic acid. But how exactly do you use lactic acid in a skincare routine, and what are its benefits?

In this article, we'll discuss:

Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about adding lactic acid to your skincare routine.

What is Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from milk. Its presence in dairy products is what gives them their characteristic tangy flavor.

Lactic acid has been used in skincare products for many years, but it has recently become more popular due to its gentle yet effective exfoliating properties.

AHAs like lactic acid work by dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together on the skin's surface. This helps slog off dead skin cells, revealing the fresh, glowing skin beneath.

While some people still take milk baths, most lactic acid used in skin products today is synthetic. However, it's still possible to find lactic acid derived from natural sources.

The Benefits of Adding Lactic Acid to Your Skin Care Routine

Now that we know a little bit more about what lactic acid is, let's take a closer look at some of the benefits of adding it to your skincare routine:


As we mentioned earlier, one of the main benefits of lactic acid is its ability to exfoliate the skin.

Regular exfoliation is vital for all skin types, but it's especially beneficial for those with dull, dry, or flaky skin. If your skin needs a little pick-me-up, adding lactic acid to your skincare routine can help achieve brighter, smoother skin.


Lactic acid is also known for its hydrating properties. When used consistently, it can help improve the skin's overall appearance by increasing moisture levels.

If you have dry skin, adding a product with lactic acid to your routine can help address these concerns. For best results, look for a product that contains hyaluronic acid, another ingredient known for its hydration benefits.

Skin Brightening

In addition to its exfoliating and hydrating properties, lactic acid is also known for its skin-brightening effects. When used consistently, it can reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tones.

For best results in brightening your complexion, use a product that also contains niacinamide, another ingredient with a reputation for brightening skin.

Improves the Appearance of Wrinkles

Lactic acid can also help to improve the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. By increasing moisture levels and stimulating collagen production, lactic acid can help to plump and smooth the skin.

For the best wrinkle-fighting results, look for a product containing retinol, another anti-aging super ingredient.

Reduces the Appearance of Pores

Lactic acid can also help to reduce the appearance of pores. By dissolving the sebum and dead skin cells that can clog pores, lactic acid can help reduce their size and improve their overall appearance.

For extra pore-refining benefits, use a product that contains salicylic acid, which is also known for its ability to shrink pores.

How to Add Lactic Acid to Your Skin Care Routine

You know why you should use products with lactic acid, so now let's take a look at how to add it to your skincare routine.

When adding any new product to your skincare routine, it's important to start slowly and increase usage gradually. This will give your skin time to adjust to the new ingredient and reduce the risk of irritation.

If you're new to using lactic acid, start by incorporating it into your routine 2-3 times per week. Once your skin has adjusted, you can increase usage to once daily or as needed.

When using lactic acid, be sure to apply it to clean, dry skin. Follow up with a moisturizer after applying it to keep your skin adequately moisturized.

When using any new product, pay attention to your skin. If you experience any irritation, redness, or other discomfort, discontinue use and consult a dermatologist.


Is lactic acid vegan?

Lactic acid from natural sources is not vegan. However, many lactic acid products on the market are synthetic and vegan-friendly. Check the labels of products to be sure.

Is lactic acid dairy free?

As we said before, this will depend on the source of the lactic acid. Lactic acid from natural sources is derived from dairy. Check for a vegan-friendly or dairy-free label before you buy.

Is lactic acid safe for all skin types?

When used properly, lactic acid is safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin. If you have sensitive skin, start slowly and increase usage gradually. You may also want to consider using a lower concentration of lactic acid.


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