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Comment est produit l'acide lactique ?

Lactic Acid Production: Its Process Explained.

Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid. It was first obtained from milk, but is now usually produced from plant-based raw materials. It is used in skin care products for its keratolytic, depigmenting, soothing and moisturizing properties. Here is its history and its production process.

What Is Lactic Acid? What Are Its Benefits?

o, what is Lactic acid, and where does it come from? It was the Swedish chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele, who first extracted lactic acid from milk. However, despite its name, lactic acid is also present in certain fruits and vegetables, in wine and also in the skin since it is part of the Natural Moisture Factor (NMF).

Note: The NMF or Natural Moisture Factor represents 30% of the total dry weight of the horny layer. It is composed of amino acids, their derivatives and extracellular compounds such as lactic acid or urea. Its hygroscopic properties enable it to capture and retain water in the stratum corneum, thus maintaining good skin hydration.

Lactic acid has many benefits for the skin. In cosmetics, it is an active ingredient widely used thanks to its keratolytic, moisturizing and depigmenting properties. It is very appreciated because, unlike glycolic acid, it has a gentle exfoliating power. Lactic acid is therefore suitable for all skin types, even the most sensitive.

Lactic Acid Production.

In most cases, lactic acid is obtained by a natural production. In fact, this process results from the fermentation of various carbohydrates such as corn, sugar, or lactose contained in milk with the help of microorganisms. Depending on the strain used, either the L(+) form of lactic acid or the D(-) form of lactic acid can be obtained. However, the L(+) form is the biologically active form of lactic acid found in the NMF. The L(+) form of lactic acid is obtained, among others, by microorganisms of the genus Lactobacillus.

There are also synthetic methods of obtaining lactic acid such as the degradation of sugars or the oxidation of propylene glycol. However, the product obtained is a racemic mixture of the two enantiomers L(+) and D(-) of lactic acid.

Note: In chemistry, some molecules can exist in two different configurations, we speak of enantiomers. A distinction is made between levorotatory (L) and dextrorotatory (D) compounds according to their rotatory power. Some molecules are only active in one of the two forms.

Which Typology Skin Care Products Contain Lactic Acid?

Now that we explained where lactic acid does come from and that it is the L(+) form of lactic acid that is biologically active, we would like to mention that this form is obtained among others by microorganisms of the genus Lactobacillus.

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 is smooth and radiant. In addition, it contains an antioxidant, acerola extract, which fights free radicals responsible for a dull complexion. 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 penetrates less deeply.

Our peeling mask combines the exfoliating action of 4 types of AHAs and a PHA to act at different depths of the epidermis. It eliminates dead cells to refine the skin texture and unify the complexion. By unclogging the pores, this gel-mask helps smooth the skin's texture and prevents the appearance of blackheads. Nevertheless, due to its high concentration in AHAs its use is not advisable for the sensitive skins.

As lactic acid is a photosensitizing molecule, these products should only be used in the evening. The application of a broad-spectrum sun cream is strongly recommended the next morning.

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


  • Rotsztejn H. & al. Lactic and lactobionic acids as typically moisturizing compounds. International journal of dermatology (2018)


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