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Everything You Need to Know About Lactic Acid.

Everything You Need to Know About Lactic Acid.

Lactic acid is known for its exfoliating effect on the surface layers of the skin. This active ingredient belongs to the category of alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA). It allows the elimination of dead epidermal cells, and makes the skin of the face smoother, bright and uniform. Discover all the information you need to know about what it is and how to use lactic acid.

What is lactic acid?

Lactic acid is a chemical exfoliant for your skin that comes from the fermentation of lactose, a carbohydrate contained in milk. Naturally present, it is produced by the good bacteria of the skin flora. It is thus qualified as post-biotic. In addition, this substance is also found in certain foods such as sugar cane and wine. It brings a sour taste to fermented foods.

In cosmetics, its use dates back to ancient Egypt. To have a soft skin, Cleopatra used to take baths with donkey milk containing lactic acid in large quantities. This AHA allows the elimination of the dead epidermal cells and makes the skin of the face smoother, bright and uniform. As a reminder, AHAs are water-soluble organic compounds recommended for a new skin by stimulating cell renewal.

In skincare, lactic acid can be of synthetic or vegetable origin. At Typology, the lactic acid in the gentle peeling serum is obtained by fermenting the sugar in corn seeds using specific bacteria, such as Lactobacillus.

Lactic Acid for the Skin.

When applied to the skin, lactic acid has many benefits:

  • It helps eliminate dead cells that clog pores and smoothes the skin texture. Lactic acid dissolves intercellular bonds, thus stimulating cell renewal. This process is called exfoliation. Thus, it revives dull complexions and prevents the appearance of blackheads.

  • It effectively moisturizes the epidermis. In fact, researchers have shown that lactic acid improves the skin's natural hydration factor.

  • It allows the fading of hyperpigmentation and smoothes the fine lines.

  • It lightens scars and post-inflammatory redness, including acne marks.

In addition, lactic acid is used in cosmetic formulas as a pH regulator, which must be slightly acidic to adapt properly to the epidermis.

Lactic Acid for Hair.

This fruit acid is mainly used in the treatment of dandruff. Indeed, it reduces possible itching and regulates the appearance of greasy dandruff. It helps to prevent the obstruction of hair follicles and to maintain a healthy scalp.

The ingredient, thanks to its moisturizing properties, also helps to prevent the drying out of hair fibers and therefore the appearance of split ends.

Lactic Acid: Instructions for Use and Contraindications.

Lactic acid is mild compared to other AHAs. In general, it is recommended for people with sensitive skin who are looking for a gentle exfoliation. This molecule, which is larger than glycolic acid, will penetrate less deeply into the epidermis and will therefore be less irritating than the latter. Lactic acid is therefore an excellent alternative for skin that has not tolerated glycolic acid products.

However, it remains a powerful active ingredient that can cause some side effects such as sun sensitivity and irritation. For this reason, as an exfoliant, lactic acid is authorized at a maximum concentration of 10% in a cosmetic product according to the European cosmetic regulation.

Lactic acid is a photosensitizing substance. It should therefore be applied preferably in the evening, so as not to cause skin irritation during exposure to the sun. We still advise you to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen the next day and the following days.

Before using a lactic acid product, perform a skin tolerance test. Put a few drops of your product on the arm or the back of your hand and wait 24 hours. If you observe any skin reaction, do not use your lactic acid product on your face.

Please note: Lactic acid treatments are not recommended if you are taking a retinoid-based treatment.

In which Typology products can I find lactic acid?

We have formulated a serum containing 10% lactic acid. Highly concentrated, it offers your skin a gentle exfoliation thanks to its superficial action. By ridding the skin of its dead cells, our gentle peeling serum revives the radiance of the complexion and fights against imperfections. The skin will be smooth and radiant. In addition, it contains an antioxidant, acerola extract, which fights free radicals responsible for dullness.

Our serum is suitable for all skin types (oily, dry and combination skin). It is also suitable for sensitive skin because, unlike glycolic acid, it is non-irritating and less deeply penetrating.


  • SMITH W. P. Epidermal and dermal effects of topical lactic acid. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (1996).

  • SACHDEVA S. Lactic acid peeling in superficial acne scarring in Indian skin. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology (2010).

  • RATHI S.K. Acne vulgaris treatment : the current scenario. Indian Journal of Dermatology (2011).


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