We’ve all heard the term lactic acid before. It’s an ingredient in the skin care products we use, it’s in the milk we drink and it is also produced by our body. But apart from moisturising our skin, what does lactic acid really do and why do we need it? Today, we’ve got all the answers…
What is lactic acid and where is it derived from?
 

What is lactic acid and where is it derived from?

Lactic acid falls in the Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) family. Externally, it is derived from a number of natural sources including fermented dairy products like yogurt and cottage cheese.
In your body however, lactic acid or lactate is produced as a natural defence mechanism during rigorous muscle exertion like functional training or running. During exercise, the build-up of lactic acid (over time) and lack of oxygen in the muscles can cause soreness and fatigue. This signals the body to slow down, reduce exertion and immediately enter recovery mode.

What are the benefits of lactic acid for the skin?
 

What are the benefits of lactic acid for the skin?

Lactic acid is a familiar ingredient in many beauty products because it benefits the skin in numerous ways. It is gentler than most other AHAs and hence, the right strength and PH balance of lactic acid imply that it can be used as a moisturising agent, exfoliant or peel treatment.

When used in low concentrations, lactic acid works magically as a nourishing agent for the skin. This is because it is a humectant and reduces the trans-epidermal loss of water through the increased production of oils and fats within the skin. This helps hydrate the cell structure of the skin and keep it supple. So don’t be surprised the next time you find it in the ingredient list of your moisturiser!

In higher concentrations, lactic acid is used as an exfoliant. It is milder than most other AHAs and hence, gently sloughs away dead skin cells without any irritation. Lactic acid works on the surface of the skin to stimulate cell turnover, reduce pigmentation and brighten the appearance of the face. Along with that, lactic acid is also known to improve skin texture, reduce scarring and control oiliness.

How can you add lactic acid to your skin care routine?
 

How can you add lactic acid to your skin care routine?

From exfoliators to face washes, lactic acid is found in many beauty products. So the simplest way to add lactic acid to your skin care routine is by opting for products such as the Lakmé Peach Milk Moisturiser that consists of a rich blend of vitamins and antioxidants that hydrate skin. This lightweight moisturiser also has SPF 24 which shields and protects the skin from the sun when one steps outdoors.

For a face mask that’s choc-o-block with all that lactic acid goodness, combine 2 tablespoons of yogurt with 1 tablespoon of honey. Apply it over your face and neck, leave it for 30 minutes and wash it off with warm water. This face mask works especially well for dry skin and gives it a nourished, radiant touch.

Image Credits: Phil Milward, Dribble