Choosing a Lactic Acid Cream

A lactic acid cream is a great way to exfoliate.  It can be used on the face to reduce age spots, wrinkles, and acne scars.  Lactic acid is also used on the body for dry skin, rough patches, and chicken skin.  Creams are typically mild products full of soothing ingredients, making them an ideal way to start using alpha hydroxy acids.

Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid(AHA) used in skin care for chemical exfoliation.  It removes dead skin cells in low concentrations, leading to smoother, brighter skin that better absorbs moisture and active ingredients in skin care products.  In higher concentrations, it removes live skin, known as peeling.  Peeling removes damaged tissue and exposes fresher, younger looking skin below.  A lactic acid cream is typically a mild to mid strength exfoliating cream that is unlikely to give a deep peel, but is still an effective way to reduce the signs of aging.  Chemical exfoliation is also useful for sensitive skin types and people prone to developing broken capillaries because it needs no friction.

The results you can expect from a lactic acid cream are determined by it concentration and pH.  This information is unfortunately not often listed on product labels.  Most lactic acid creams contain between 5% and 10% lactic acid.  This is a great product to start off with, as concentrations of greater than 10% will often irritate new users.  The best anti aging cream will typically list either the percentage or a warning if it contains 10% or more of an alpha hydroxy acid.  Most people can start out using these creams daily without issues, but sensitive skin types should use them every other day in the beginning to be on the safe side.

Concentrations of 10% or more are likely to produce mild peeling effect, but it is not as intense as a lactic acid peel.  The formulations should also have a pH of 3.5 or less to produce a peeling effect.  Products that peel are the most effective at getting rid of wrinkles, age spots, and acne scars.  Use a mild lactic acid cream in the beginning for a week or more to prepare your skin for stronger formulations like serums and peels.  A peeling lactic acid cream is a great product, because it heavily exfoliates and moisturizes in one session.

Lactic acid is considered a milder alternative to glycolic acid.  It has hydrating properties that are beneficial to dry skin types.  It is also less likely to lighten brown or black skin, which sometimes has problems with glycolic acid.  A lactic acid face cream will sometimes contain salicylic acid to help control acne.  Acne remedies that use both alpha and beta hydroxy acids are very effective.

A lactic acid body cream is a very popular treatment for dry skin.  It’s highly recommended for people who have keratosis pilaris, or chicken skin.  Body skin is thicker than facial skin, so it can tolerate a higher percentage of lactic acid.  Look for a body cream that contains more between 10% and 15% lactic acid for the fastest results.  You can enhance your results by exfoliating manually with a body scrub or loofah a few hours after you use a lactic acid lotion or cream.  You can also exfoliate with lactic acid as part of a stretch mark or scar removal regimen.

Alpha hydroxy acid products will cause your skin to become more sensitive to sun exposure.  It will burn easier for a week or more following each application.  You should only use your lactic acid cream in the evening.  Use sun protection daily on skin treated with AHAs, even on cloudy days.

It takes time to see result from exfoliation for skin damage like wrinkles, scars, and hyperpigmentation.  You’ll get better results from using other anti aging products in the same routine.  Removing damaged tissue with exfoliation is only half of the equation.  Renewing ingredients that stimulate healing, collagen production, and cellular turnover like Vitamin C, retinoids, antioxidants, and peptides work synergistically with exfoliation for maximum results.  Be careful not to add too many products to your routine at once to avoid irritation and over exfoliation.  Lactic acid creams should not be used too soon after a heavy exfoliation treatment like microdermabrasion.

Exfoliation is a critical part of a good skin care routine.  It helps all skin types and can improve a variety of skin complaints.  If you are looking to moisturize and exfoliate with a single product, try a lactic acid cream.

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