Lactic acid: benefits, how to use, contraindications
The lactic acid , for people who exercise regularly, this name is not uncommon. The body produces itself in cases of intense exercise or fasting, which is essential for generating energy for the body – but calm down because it’s not just muscles that benefit from lactic acid!
The substance belonging to the group of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA), is known in the dermatological industry as an organic compound aimed at cell renewal and can be a great ally for the most sensitive skin.
What are alpha hydroxy acids?
Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of natural acids derived from many vegetables such as fruit, sugar cane, and, in the case of lactic acid, curd – and they are found in a variety of skin care products. It is usually used in the treatment of acne, aging skin, melasma, hyperpigmentation and other skin problems.
Among the most famous are:
- glycolic acid
- mandelic acid
- malic acid
- citric acid
- Lactic acid.
What is lactic acid used for?
The functions of lactic acid are diverse. Like other AHAs, it’s a chemical exfoliant, so it doesn’t have the tiny granules and rough texture found in rubbing physical exfoliators. But that doesn’t mean it’s less powerful!
Active and ideal for those who do not like rubbing, it penetrates the skin, removing dead cells and stimulating cell renewal. However, it tends to cause less irritation, depending on the concentration used.
Moreover, according to Renato Pazzini, MD, a dermatologist at the University of the South Pacific and a member of the Brazilian Society of Dermatology (SBD), lactic acid has the ability to inhibit an enzyme called tyrosinase that is responsible for transporting melanin between skin cells.
In light of this, it is widely used in dermatological treatments that seek to lighten pimples on the skin, either by melasma or sun spots .
Lactic acid benefits
According to Franklin Verissimo, a specialist in aesthetic medicine, one of the main benefits is its moisturizing property , which provides the skin with greater water retention, which greatly contributes to the hydration and rejuvenation of the skin.
Moreover, due to the whitening effect, it is usually part of the treatment of diseases that cause skin pigmentation, explained Bazini. Being a medium AHA, it doesn’t penetrate deeply into the skin and promotes smoother exfoliation, great for people with sensitive and/or combination skin.
Other benefits of lactic acid include:
- Spot whitening
- deep peeling
- Improvement in skin texture
- Helps treat acne
- Skin Moisturizing
- Reduce fine wrinkles.
How to add it in skincare
Like other alpha hydroxy acids, lactic acid should only be used overnight after cleansing the skin, in the form of a serum or cream. In the morning, it is necessary to use a sunscreen, which protects the skin from UV rays responsible for blemishes and premature photoaging on the skin.
As Bazini adds, lactic acid can be used in the form of a peeling in dermatology clinics. This procedure acts as a way to whiten the skin faster, promoting cell renewal in a gradual manner.
The use of lactic acid is contraindicated for people who are allergic to any component contained in the active composition. Those with active dermatitis or lesions should also avoid using it.
For pregnant women, dermatologist Renato Pazzini explains that lactic acid can be used as long as it is in a low concentration (less than 6%) and with dermatological control.