The Skin Barrier Protector: Lactic Acid

The Skin Barrier Protector: Lactic Acid

You are about to see lactic acid blow up in the beauty industry over the next year. I can't get enough of this acid and I repeatedly formulate it because it is one of the few that doesn’t dry your skin out. It brightens and resurfaces the skin, helps with rosacea, protects the skin barrier and locks in moisture too. I have been championing this product for years which is why I have formulated it into: 

Even though each acid has its own set of benefits, I see and hear a lot of clients talking about how glycolic and salicylic acid often irritates and dries their skin so it's not my acid of choice. Glycolic and salicylic acid can thin the skin barrier over time and one of the reasons I love lactic acid is that it doesn’t do that. In fact, it does the opposite. There are loads of protective and restorative benefits of incorporating a lactic into your skincare routine. One of these is the effect that lactic acid has on ceramides in our skin barrier and how it can strengthen the skin barrier and its function.

Ceramides are lipids found in the top layer of the skin and these are an important part of the protective layer on the skin. Lactic has been shown, in vitro, to increase the levels of ceramides in the stratum corneum (the skin) and studies have also shown that this increase in ceramides lead to improvements in the barrier function of the skin (think thicker stronger skin) which in turn reduced transepidermal water loss. This means that using lactic acid can lead to firmer, plumper, better hydrated skin which will help to reduce and soften the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This increase in barrier function and strength of skin barrier has been supported by other scientific research too, also confirming that it comes from the increased strength of lipids in the stratum corneum. So, incorporating acid (wash) as part of your cleansing routine, holi (wash) for your daily shower, holi (lift) as your daily face serum, or holi (bright) as your overnight mask is going to not only exfoliate and refine the skin surface but it is also going to help with your overall skin health and anti-aging journey too. 

Lactic acid is a little less potent than glycolic and salicylic but Studies show that lactic and lactobionic acids are very beneficial at moisturizing and hydrating. They hydrate because the unique profiling of lactic acid and the lactic structure actually helps water to bind with the skin, instead of drying it out and even irritating it like glycolic and salicylic are known to. Hydration occurs because alpha hydroxy and polyhydroxy acids (AHA and PHA) are able to bind large amounts of water and act as a potent antioxidant agent through inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases and through their strong chelating properties. 

Lactic acid is also great to support any anti-aging journey because lactic acid is high in antioxidants and also promotes the regeneration of new cells and stimulates the production of collagen and elastin within the skin barrier. Lactic acid has smoothing and lifting properties but acids like glycolic can do the opposite, negatively impacting collagen levels over time and exacerbating the aging process.

Lactic acid is also really powerful for hyperpigmentation, dark patches and sun spots too (as well as more sensitive skin conditions like rosacea). The changes in melasma and dark spots that I have seen after people have started on a lactic-acid regime are nothing short of miraculous. I always recommend acid (wash) for anyone suffering with hyperpigmentation or melasma. Now the Agent range is bigger, I would pair acid (wash) with holi (lift) and holi (bright) too. All of these products also have lactic acid in them and an overnight application of the refining, glass resurfacing mask holi (bright) can allow the lactic acid to really get to work over a prolonged period of time. I love that I now have a lactic-based product for the body too in the form of holi (wash). Make sure to actively apply this to your neck and decolletage in the shower every day too because your neck and decolletage need attention too.  

So, how does it feel to use lactic acid in topical products? First of all, even though it is exfoliating and refining, lactic acid should never feel drying. For me, after cleansing with acid (wash) or sleeping in holi (bright), I almost instantly notice a brighter, lighter complexion with a gentle glow and this is because of how lactic acid exfoliates and refines the skin texture. This is the immediate effect of lactic acid (when you rinse it off you can see the difference almost immediately) but there are long term effects to incorporating lactic acid into your skincare routine too.

If you can’t tell, I love lactic! I formulated this incredible ingredient into my formulations to benefit you whether you are 20 or 70. Let me know how you get on with your lactic journey. 

Jena x