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What does Lactic Acid do for the skin?

The hydrating and brightening Lactic acid is commonly used in skincare and by Skin Therapists due to its popular benefits to the skin. This acid is definitely one of my favourites to use on my skin!

What is Lactic Acid?

Lactic Acid is a hydrating Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) derived from milk, hence why Lactic Acid is famous for its hydrating properties.

Lactic Acid popularity actually dates back to Ancient Egypt, when Cleopatra would bathe in milk for softer, hydrated and smoother skin - unknowingly receiving the benefits of an exfoliating acid found in sour milk.



How does Lactic Acid work?

Lactic Acid is known for being a non-friction type of exfoliant, which works by breaking down and dissolving the structure of dead skin cells without irritating the skin. The reason Lactic Acid is less irritating to the skin is its larger molecule structure, which means this Acid can not penetrate deeply into the skin.

Instead, it is a more superficial acid that polish the skin, brightens dull skin, and promotes cellular renewal by increasing cell turnover rates in the upper layers of your skin (epidermis), for firmer and plumper skin.

What does Lactic Acid do?

  • Brightens dull skin
  • Promotes cellular renewing by increasing cell turnover in the epidermis
  • Firms and plumps skin
  • Increases the ceramides in the skin's protective barrier
  • Increases water retention and prevents moisture loss

Even though Lactic Acid is one of the gentler acids and suited for sensitive skin types, you should still slowly introduce it into the skin and not overuse it. Two and three times a week should be enough, depending on how your skin takes on Lactic Acid and according to your Skin Therapist's prescription.

#ProTip: Lactic acid works wonders when layered with Hyaluronic Acid! Learn how to layer your serums here.


Here are my go-to lactic acid products:



A triple-action exfoliant that combines ecoscrub, enzymes and AHA’s to gently polish, removing lifeless cell


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A professional-grade at-home peel clinically proven to enhance radiance, visibly reduce fine lines and reveal brighter, healthier skin in just minutes a week.

This maximum-strength exfoliant delivers powerful results with no downtime using a unique complex of phytoactive AHA extracts, Lactic Acid and fermented plant enzymes to help reveal new, firmer skin.


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CosMedix Simply Brilliant


Uncover remarkable results and brighter skin with this gentle yet powerful brightening serum; Complete with lactic and salicylic acids to refine texture and improve penetration of brightening ingredients, Simply Brilliant helps skin appear brighter and more radiant


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About The Author


Skin Therapist Sari Pols

My name is Sari Pols,

I have been in the skin care industry for over 15 years. My passion lies in ‘Health’. Health for the skin and body. My philosophy is if we have a good well being on the inside, then it shows our vitality on the outside.

I have furthered my knowledge in Skin Anatomy, Skin Concerns and Fitness. I am a true believer in how to make my clients feel their best both inside and out. My emphasis is on guiding my clients through their personal journey of skin concerns and conditions. I do not like to bandaid a concern or condition but want to get down to the root of the cause. I aim to give personalised consultations with treatment and correct prescribed skin products.


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