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Is Lactic Acid the Summer Peel for You?

If you have skin woes like fine lines and discoloration, there is no quicker, well, easier way to correct these issues than with an exfoliating acid. How do we tackle these concerns during the warmer months when you’re not supposed to peel? There are varying chemical peels out there but one acid comes to mind and for good reason, this acid doesn’t bring on the intensity and crazy skin peeling. Perfect during the months when you’re outside in the sun and want to keep skin fresh through summer and prepped for the next peel season.

What is Lactic Acid and What Does It Do for Skin?

Lactic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid, or AHA. AHA’s are milder than Beta Hydroxy Acids, or BHA’s and topically is used on the skin in peel strengths ranging from 10%-20%. Lactic is sourced from milk, but vegans worldwide will be happy to hear that it’s typically produced synthetically for skincare products.

Like all AHA’s it delivers on refining texture, making skin smoother with a flushed pink, bright glow immediately. It does this by increasing the skin’s natural cellular turnover and strengthening the moisture level. Because lactic is also a humectant, it will pull moisture into the skin as well, which makes it super hydrating and plumping for skin. This helps to diminish the appearance of fine lines and refine the texture of skin while also lifting hyperpigmentation.

When Should I get a Lactic Acid Treatment?

Every month skin cells cycle and turn over. When we fail to help this process along, the cells builds up. This is how we get fine lines and bacteria build-up that can lead to breakouts. It’s helpful to exfoliate monthly. Lactic acid has a larger molecular structure, so it doesn’t go as deep as some peels, like Trichloroacetic Acid, or TCA. That’s also what makes it the treatment acid that you want to turn to get skin ready before an event, during the warmer months (still with professional homecare and daily sunscreen) or as just part of your monthly maintenance facial treatment. Lactic acid exfoliates to even skin tone, while also firming and plumping skin. There isn’t any downtime, but just like side effects from medications can vary from person to person, so can the degree of dry skin that can shed off after treatment. There is generally only minimal sloughing or dry areas 3-5 days after treatment. With regular monthly maintenance treatments, skin will become balanced and this will also help to minimize excessive sloughing.

Is Lactic Acid for Everyone?

Since lactic acid doesn’t travel as deep into the layers of the skin, it’s usually a top treatment option for all Fitzpatrick skin types. Depending on the percentage and the length of time left on the skin, sensitive, mature and dry skin types typically tolerate this treatment very well. And it’s also great for acne because it offers immediate surface exfoliation, hydrating benefits, and anti-inflammatory qualities to the skin that can be beneficial for treating the side effects of acne. It can be used as part of a professional skincare treatment or as a step in your daily skincare routine in face washes or toners for daily brightening results.

Lactic Acid is a beneficial exfoliating acid that delivers hydration and clarity to skin. Coming into the warmer months, AHA’s like lactic acid is beneficial for keeping your skin in shape. But don’t stop at your face! Lactic acid is great in body treatments and lotions. You can keep your entire body soft and supple as we start to shed layers and enjoy the sun.