Do you know your AHAs from your BHAs?
Utilising Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) has become common practice in today’s at-home skincare regimes, as they offer a less abrasive, chemical exfoliation alternative to harsher, physical exfoliation such as manual scrubs.Under the AHA umbrellasit a variety of acids that offer different molecular weights (the size of the molecule), which deliver both a different level of exfoliation and varied risk of skin sensitisation. However, all AHAs work by breaking down the bonds between the surface skin cells, helping to remove the dead skin cells in the process, to reveal brighter, healthier cells beneath.
What is Lactic Acid?
Lactic acid is among the most well known and best-researched in the AHA family. Usually derived from milk, this naturally occurring AHA has a larger molecular weight than other AHAs, which slows down its penetration into the skin, delivering a gentler exfoliation (making it a preferred acid for more sensitive skins).
How can Lactic Acid Benefit my Skincare Regime?
Lactic Acid is a true powerhouse active ingredient, offering a multitude of benefits to support overall skin health. Notably, Lactic Acid is used for its effective yet gentle exfoliation, by dissolving the bonds that keep dead skin cells attached to the skin’s surface. Removing this accumulation of dead skin cells which often lead to clogged pores, breakouts, dullness and uneven texture, helps to increase the speed of skin cell turnover, making the skin appear brighter, smoother and firmer.
Unlike other AHAs, Lactic acid is a humectant; humectants draw water from the environment into the skin, therefore helping to retain moisture levels in the skin and keeping it feeling moisturised. This makes Lactic acid the ideal AHA for all skin types, especially for those with drier complexions or more sensitive skin types.
How can Lactic Acid help with my pigmentation concerns?
Among the multitude of skincare benefits associated with regular use of Lactic Acid, its ability to fade hyperpigmentation including dark spots, ages pots and acne scarring is one of the notable benefits of incorporating Lactic acid into a regular skincare regime.
While chemical exfoliation helps to reveal a brighter overall complexion, Lactic Acid is also a melanin suppressor, inhibiting the production of an enzyme called tyrosinase which is responsible for melanin production in the skin. This benefit, alongside the gentle exfoliation given with regular use of Lactic Acid, helps to reveal a more even-toned, brighter complexion without the drying side effects or high risk of irritation.
What do I need to know before adding Lactic Acid to my Routine?
Lactic Acid is the ideal AHA to try if you have found that other AHA’s have caused increased sensitivity, dryness or if you have concerns with hyperpigmentation. While Lactic Acid is known for its gentle exfoliating capabilities, it is important to patch test beforehand to reduce the risk of sensitising the skin.
Like all AHA’s, Lactic Acid is a powerful exfoliator that increases the skin’s vulnerability to sun damage. It is imperative that SPF is worn every day to protect the skin from the increased risks associated with UV exposure, including sunburns, unwanted wrinkles and further pigmentation.