What is lactic acid
According the Skincare Clinic, "Lactic acid belongs to a family of acids called alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Produced naturally within our bodies and also derived from milk products, lactic acid is synthetically produced for skincare purposes."
Due to it being derived from milk products you might be thinking it's related to lactose (which is a type of glucose found in milk). Or maybe you've been to the gym and heard your instructor mention lactic acid – it's naturally produced by the body when you workout.
You'll pleased to know the lactic acid that goes into your skincare is not extracted from the thighs of fitness instructors and its relativity to milk won't affect you if you're lactose intolerant.
Is Lactic Acid safe?
Many chemical peels contain lactic acid but if you're worried about them searing your skin, fear not says Natalie Abouchar, founder of Privee Clinic in Bondi Junction.
"Modern peels are a lunch time treatment due to the fact they only work on the surface of the skin." So in terms of safety, they're fairly safe but some caution is advised.
Skinceuticals who've been producing salon strength cosmeceuticals since 1997 say, "Immediately after a chemical peel, skin becomes more photosensitive. It is absolutely necessary that a broad spectrum sunscreen is applied daily post treatment, and that sun exposure is avoided or kept to a minimum."
Lactic acid products
"Depending on the strength, pH and bioavailability of the lactic acid, it can be used daily as a gentle exfoliant, moisturising agent or as an in clinic peel treatment," says the Skincare Clinic.
Many salons offer peels with lactic acid but there are a multitude of cleaners, masks and peels that contain varying levels of AHA.
Lactic acid isn't the only chemical peel on offer. Glycolic acid is common in salon peels but there is a difference.
"A 20% concentration of glycolic acid at a pH of 3 will be stronger than the same formulation of lactic acid because the glycolic molecule is much smaller and better able to penetrate the skin’s barrier," says Skinceuticals.
Is lactic acid helpful for acne?
According to Abouchar, chemical peels containing lactic acid are beneficial for aiding in the control of pimples and acne, decreasing the appearance of pores and smoothing out rough skin.
People have even report improved skin texture with acne scarring after using The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%.
Can you use lactic acid products if you're lactose intolerant?
Yes you can. Lactose intolerance occurs when your digestive system doesn't produce the lactase enzyme. Lactic acid isn't digested the same way and therefore won't incur the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
So, the good news is, you can use lactic acid to help boost your skin's brightness and get your skin bling on just in time for Christmas.