Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lactic acid: What is it?

What is it? Lactic acid is part of the alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA) family, which includes ingredients derived from sugar cane, fruit and milk. Specifically, lactic acid comes from milk; after it undergoes fermentation, it's a powerful exfoliating ingredient that regularly appears in skincare products.

Similar to the widely popular AHA glycolic acid, lactic acid reduces fine lines, wrinkles, age spots and hyperpigmentation while improving the skin's texture and promoting collagen production. But unlike glycolic acid, lactic acid typically doesn't cause allergic reactions or irritation.
You'll find it in: You can find lactic acid in a wide variety of skincare products today, especially because it's gentle enough for people with sensitive skin, rosacea or acne. Its ability to exfoliate puts lactic acid in many dry skin moisturizers, as it encourages the upper layer of skin cells to shed quicker, leaving the healthier cells behind. Plus it helps moisturizers prevent the skin's natural oils and water from escaping.

In addition, because lactic acid reduces the appearance of wrinkles, age spots and hyperpigmentation, it's used in many cleansers and anti-aging lotions. It's often found in acne products as well, as it's believed lactic acid reduces acne lesions if used appropriately. Alternately, too much exfoliation can cause more acne than you had to begin with, so just make sure to follow the directions on the product. To be on the safe side, start with a skincare product that contains a low concentration of AHA ingredients, only use it every other day at first and then work your way up to daily use.

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