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What to mix lactic acid with

Lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that naturally occurs in milk, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also produced by our bodies as a byproduct of exercise. Lactic acid has many uses, including the exfoliation of dead skin cells to reveal smoother, more vibrant skin.

When used as an ingredient in cosmetics, lactic acid acts as a mild exfoliant and humectant (moisturizer), which makes it useful for treating dryness and flakiness. It also helps reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing collagen production in the skin. Lactic acid can be found in many skincare products such as cleansers, moisturizers, toners, masks, serums and peels. It’s often paired with other ingredients such as glycolic acid or salicylic acid to enhance its exfoliating effects on the skin.

You may find it hard to access the right information on the internet, so we are here to help you in the following article, providing the best and updated information on What to mix lactic acid with, Lactic acid peel. Read on to learn more. We at cosmeticsurgerytips have all the information that you need about Best moisturizer after chemical peel. Read on to learn more.

What to mix lactic acid with


Acids are the best ingredients in skincare for the sole reason that they work great, give instant results, and can have a transformational effect on the skin.

However, there seems to be a lot of misconception floating around the internet when it comes to using acids, layering them properly, combining them with the right products to boost the effects, as well as which acid can help you with your particular skin concern.

Not every acid works for everything, so you need to know which one to choose to effectively tackle your skin concerns.

Lactic acid is one of those acids that many people claim works for everything when this is simply not the case. So today, I will give you the “complete guide” to using lactic acid and transform your skin with this great ingredient.

What Is Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid is an exfoliating acid that belongs to the alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) family. This ingredient is derived from sour milk or sugar-rich foods and it is a water-soluble substance that possesses larger molecules than other AHAs such as glycolic acid.

Due to its large molecules, lactic acid won’t penetrate deeper into the skin and will instead work on the surface, which leads to a lighter degree of exfoliation that is more suitable for sensitive skin types.

What Does Lactic Acid Do To The Skin?

The Complete Guide To Using Lactic Acid

Lactic acid is a well-known part of the skin’s natural moisturizing complex, therefore it can efficiently moisturize the skin. Lactic acid is naturally present in the gut and skin and it also contributes to the cell cycle in human keratinocytes (the skin cells).

Besides this, lactic acid can successfully acidify the skin, which means that when our skin is exposed to more alkaline environments that can have a negative effect on the epidermis, lactic acid can effectively bring the pH level of the skin back to normal.

Besides this, here are a few other benefits of lactic acid on the skin:

  • Hydrates the skin.
  • It brings the pH level of the skin back to normal.
  • Fades hyperpigmentation.
  • Reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Nourishes sensitive skin.
  • It can have a mild effect on acne due to its exfoliating properties.

What Percentage Of Lactic Acid Is Most Effective?

Lactic acid is one of those gentler alpha-hydroxy acids, however, overusing this ingredient in higher concentrations can still lead to potential skin irritation. However…

The most effective percentage of lactic acid in an at-home treatment is anywhere between 5% for more sensitive skin types or 10% for more resilient skin types.

Additionally, lactic acid like all other exfoliating acids works best at a lower pH and the optimal pH level for an effective lactic acid treatment should be anywhere around 3.5-4.0.

How To Start Using Lactic Acid?

As with all chemical exfoliants, it is important to start introducing lactic acid into your skincare routine slowly and always opt for a lower concentration when first starting out.

Depending on the formula, initial tingling is pretty normal, especially if your skin is dehydrated or super sensitive, however, if this initial tingling becomes uncomfortable burning, this may mean that the product is too strong for you, therefore, you should wash it off and opt for something else instead.

Additionally, make sure to always follow up with a high SPF in the morning as lactic acid can make your skin sensitive to the sun.

Can You Use Lactic Acid If You Have Milk Allergy?

Can You Use Lactic Acid If You Have Milk Allergy

Due to lactic acid being derived from milk products, you might be thinking that it is related to lactose (which is a type of glucose found in milk).

However, lactic acid that goes into your skincare products won’t affect you if you are lactose intolerant because this type of lactic acid is synthetically produced.

But, if you are truly allergic to milk and you get the most severe reactions such as hives, shortness of breath, etc, then you should definitely have a little chat with your health provider before using lactic acid products.

On the other hand, it is always helpful to test a product somewhere in a small area like the inside on your wrist or behind your ear.

Especially with products such as The Ordinary Lactic Acid that cost around $10, even if you are sensitive to it or an allergic reaction happens, you can always give it to someone that might benefit from it.

Is It Okay To Use Lactic Acid Every Day?

No, it is definitely not okay to exfoliate every day, no matter how low the concentration of your product is or how mild the formula is.

Additionally, our skin doesn’t need daily exfoliation because the mature cells that sit tightly packed on the surface of your skin are a part of what’s called NMFs or natural moisturizing factors, therefore, they play an important role in helping your skin retain moisture.

Exfoliating daily, and thus constantly removing these mature cells may potentially damage your skin barrier and lead to irritation, sensitivity, and all sorts of skin problems.

Therefore, be mindful about exfoliation as this is a practice that happens regularly in a good skincare routine, but exfoliating daily is just excessive and your skin doesn’t need it.

Should You Moisturize After Lactic Acid?

Yes, you should always moisturize after any type of exfoliation you do.

Lactic acid naturally moisturizes the skin, however, once it’s absorbed into the skin, you still want to use something a little heavier and create that nice, occlusive barrier that will help your skin retain moisture.

Can You Combine Lactic Acid With Other Actives?

Lactic acid is still a strong exfoliant on its own, so combining it with other active ingredients is really unnecessary because this can potentially increase redness, irritations, and sun sensitivity.

Combining lactic acid with other actives isn’t a good idea. A good solution to this would be to alternate your actives and use them on different days.

What Should You Not Use Lactic Acid With?

What Should You Not Use Lactic Acid With

If you have sensitive skin, you should not be using lactic acid with other alpha-hydroxy acids such as glycolic or mandelic acid as well as beta-hydroxy acid such as salicylic acid.

However, the same rule doesn’t apply when you purchase a product that contains a blend of different AHAs as this is a properly formulated product with the right percentage of acids to complement each other in the formula.

Using a decent concentration of lactic acid and following it up with a decent concentration of glycolic acid, for example, will most definitely lead to unwanted irritation and sensitivity.

Additionally, you should also avoid combining lactic acid with retinol because of the potential irritation and sensitivity it can cause on the skin. If you are already using lactic acid on sensitive skin, it is best to keep these two apart.

Is Lactic Acid Good For Acne?

Lactic acid is not a good treatment for acne.

While mild exfoliation can always help the skin, you will definitely need a stronger ingredient such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to eliminate breakouts.

Lactic acid is a good exfoliator and may have a mild effect on soothing inflamed pimples. Still, there are many more useful treatments out there for this particular skin concern, so if you plan on incorporating lactic acid for this sole reason, this will not yield any significant results.

Can Lactic Acid Cause Breakouts?

Yes, lactic acid can cause breakouts.

Like all exfoliating acids, lactic acid is considered to be an “active” and what these actives do is they can speed up cellular turnover and push the gunk that’s inside the pore to the surface of the skin.

This means that what was going to become a pimple in a few weeks will come out on the surface sooner than that.

This is called a “purging period” and is very common when using actives, so if you start getting some mild breakouts while using lactic acid, this is not something you should be afraid of.

However, if this turns into a bigger concern such as severe breakouts, or inflamed cystic acne, you should definitely stop using the product and seek professional advice.

5 Best Lactic Acid Products

Here are some excellent lactic acid products with different price points you should take a look at:

The Inkey List – Lactic Acid Serum

The Inkey List is a new and revolutionary skincare brand that is often compared to The Ordinary due to their ridiculously low prices and great product quality.

Their lactic acid serum is a gentle blend of naturally derived acids from milk and fruit sugars and what I love about it is that the product has a short list of straight-to-the-point ingredients.

This serum is a very gentle exfoliant, super-suitable for sensitive skin and it also contains 1% hyaluronic acid for extra hydration.

The Ordinary – Lactic Acid 5%

The Ordinary - Lactic Acid 5%

This was by far my favorite lactic acid product before the Inkey List stepped on the dancefloor and now I have to make a comparison review between the two.

Anyhow, this one is a super-gentle lactic acid exfoliant, very suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin types with an additional 2% of hyaluronic acid for an extra hydration boost.

The Ordinary – Lactic Acid 10%

The Ordinary - Lactic Acid 10%

My skin loved the 5% version, however, the 10% was a completely different story for me. Since I enjoyed using the milder version, I thought I should step up my game and try to take on the bigger sister instead. I wanted even better results, so who can blame me for that?

But, little did I know my skin would immediately start rebelling against this decision. My skin broke out very badly after using this product and I have been avoiding it ever since. It still has a place on my shelfie, but it’s not going anywhere near my skin anytime soon.

I added it to this list because many people seem to enjoy this product and my skin’s reaction seems to be falling in the category of “isolated incidents” when you take a look at the customer reviews on this product.

So, I am not writing off the fact that I might have done something wrong with this product, but anyhow, it’s here. Let me know in the comments if you have had a similar experience with the 10% lactic acid. I would love to know.

Paula’s Choice – Smoothing Treatment 10% AHA

Paula's Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment AHA 10%

I’ve already mentioned this product in my guide to using glycolic acid, but since it’s a blend of exfoliating acids and I briefly touched on this earlier, I will mention it again.

This product isn’t the best option for beginners, however, my skin liked it, and I also suggested it to my beloved mother, who also enjoyed using it.

It’s great for mature skin types as it has a blend of several alpha hydroxy acids, including glycolic, lactic, and malic acid. It works to rejuvenate the skin and minimize fine lines and wrinkles.

It is excellent to be followed up with low percentage retinol such as the Barrier Repair Moisturizer or the Retinol + Bakuchiol Treatment for amazing anti-aging benefits.

This is what I mean when I say that using a properly formulated product that contains multiple exfoliating acids is totally fine, however, you should never go ahead and use one lactic acid product and follow it up with another salicylic acid or glycolic acid product, for example.

Biossance – Squalane Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum

Biossance - Squalane Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum

I don’t have this product and I have never tried it, however, it comfortably sits in my CultBeauty cart, waiting for this global pandemic to end so it can be on its way to me (because, delays, ugh).

I have heard some great reviews on this product, and while I am not really impressed with several ingredients on the bottom, I am willing to forgive and try it out.

So I will be updating this post and obviously give you a proper, detailed review once that happens.

Lactic acid peel

Lactic acid is an antiwrinkle and pigmentation-fighting ingredient found in over-the-counter (OTC) and professional-grade skin care products.

Derived from milk, lactic acid belongs to a class of anti-aging ingredients called alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs). Other examples of AHAs include glycolic acid and citric acid.

Keep reading to learn how a lactic acid peel can improve your skin, OTC products to try, what to expect from a professional peel, and more.

How can a lactic acid peel benefit your skin?

A chemical peel works by using a chemical — in this case, lactic acid — on bare skin. It removes the top layer of skin (epidermis). Some stronger formulas may also target the middle layers of skin (dermis).

Despite the name, your skin doesn’t noticeably “peel” off. What is noticeable, though, are the effects underneath the removed epidermis: smoother and brighter skin.

Lactic acid is specifically used to treat hyperpigmentation, age spots, and other factors that contribute to a dull and uneven complexion. Other benefits of AHAs like lactic acid include improved skin tone and reduced pore appearance.

However, unlike AHAs such as glycolic acid, lactic acid is a bit milder. This makes a lactic acid peel a better choice for sensitive skin. Lactic acid may also be an option if you’ve tried another AHA in the past and found the product too strong.

Are side effects possible?

Despite the milder nature of lactic acid, it’s still considered a powerful AHA.

Its “peeling” effects will make your skin more vulnerable to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays, so sunscreen is key. Make sure you apply sunscreen every morning and reapply as needed throughout the day.

Over time, unprotected sun exposure can lead to more age spots and scarring. It may even increase your risk for skin cancer.

Lactic acid peels can also cause irritation, rash, and itchiness. These effects are usually mild and improve as your skin gets used to the product. If your side effects persist after the first few applications, discontinue use and see your doctor.

You shouldn’t use a lactic acid peel if you have:

  • eczema
  • psoriasis
  • rosacea

If you have naturally darker skin, talk to your doctor or dermatologist before use. Chemical peels may increaseTrusted Source your risk of hyperpigmentation.

How to use a lactic acid peel

Instructions for use vary based on a product’s makeup and concentration. Always read the product label and follow the manufacturer’s directions.


For a lighter peel, look for a product with a 5 percent acid content. Medium peels can range from 10 to 15 percent lactic acid, and deeper (professional) peels have even higher concentrations.

As a rule of thumb, the higher the concentration, the stronger the results. You may not have to use stronger peels as often, but any subsequent irritation may last longer.

Preparation and use

It’s important to do a skin patch test before your first full application. This can help reduce your risk of side effects.

To do this:

  • Apply a dime-sized amount of product to the inside of your forearm.
  • Cover the area with a bandage and leave it alone.
  • If you don’t experience any irritation or inflammation within 24 hours, the product should be safe to apply elsewhere.
  • If you do experience side effects, discontinue use. See your dermatologist if your side effects worsen or last more than a day or two.

Lactic acid peels are designed for evening application. Like other AHAs, lactic acid increases sun sensitivity, so you should never use them in the morning.


You should wear sunscreen every day when using lactic acid. For best results, apply sunscreen every morning and reapply as needed throughout the day. You can use a sunscreen-containing daytime moisturizer as well as a foundation with an SPF.

Lactic acid products to try at home

Lactic acid peels are widely available in drug stores, beauty supply stores, and online retailers.

Popular options include:

  • Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant. Suited for more sensitive skin, this cream-based lactic acid exfoliant also contains salicylic acid. These two ingredients remove dead skin cells that can lead to a pigmented, dull complexion.
  • Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Full Strength. This all-encompassing peel targets wrinkles and hyperpigmentation with the help of lactic acid and other AHAs. It also contains willow bark, a natural type of salicylic acid, and vitamins A and C. This peel is not recommended for sensitive skin.
  • Patchology Exfoliate FlashMasque Facial Sheets. These lactic acid-based disposable face sheets work by sloughing off dead skin to improve overall appearance and texture. As a bonus, the facial sheets are easy to use, with no extra steps or rinsing required.
  • Perfect Image Lactic Acid 50% Gel Peel. If you’re looking for a deeper lactic acid peel, this product might be a home-based option for you. It contains 50 percent lactic acid to improve your complexion, and the gel is easy to manage without the product running off your face. It’s a professional-grade peel, so consult your dermatologist before use.
  • QRx Labs Lactic Acid 50% Gel Peel. Considered a professional-grade product, this gel-based peel also contains a higher concentration of lactic acid at 50 percent. Although the company promises professional results, it’s a good idea to run this by your dermatologist first to prevent side effects.

Consider getting a professional lactic acid peel

Despite the availability of at-home lactic acid peels, the Mayo Clinic says that deeper chemical peels offer the best results. The effects also last longer than OTC peels, so you don’t have to use them as often.

You might consider getting a lactic acid peel from your dermatologist or skin care specialist if you aren’t seeing results from OTC versions but don’t want to use a stronger AHA.

Before getting a professional lactic acid peel, talk to your dermatologist about all the medications you take as well as your level of sensitivity. These can all factor into the strength of the peel your dermatologist or skin care specialist chooses. This can help prevent side effects and complications, such as irritation and scarring.

Also know that it can take up to two weeks to recover from a professional lactic acid peel. Mild peels may cause side effects that last a day or so, but after a deeper peel, your skin may need to be bandaged for a couple of weeks.

Lactic acid peels can vary in cost, and they aren’t covered by insurance. That’s because they’re considered cosmetic treatments and not medically necessary therapies. However, you may be able to work out a payment plan with your dermatologist’s billing department.

The bottom line

Lactic acid is used to create a mild chemical peel that can help even out your skin tone. It can help address age spots, melasma, and rough texture, along with fine lines.

Although OTC options are available, it’s important to discuss your skin care needs with a dermatologist before trying a lactic acid peel at home. Certain skin conditions may increase your risk of side effects.

If you do try an OTC peel, make sure you do a skin patch test before your first full application. You should also apply sunscreen every morning and reapply as needed throughout the day.

Best moisturizer after chemical peel

chemical peel

After receiving an intensive treatment, it is important to take good care of your skin. This is why it is essential to have a good after care plan following your chemical peel.

Your treatment provider will discuss how to take good care of your skin post-peel. This will help your skin to peel more evenly and to heal quickly. Our highly qualified and experienced doctors at Evolution MedSpa Boston can provide a wealth of information about chemical peels. Here they share some of their knowledge with you.

How do you take care of your skin after a chemical peel?

A chemical peel will remove the top layers of your skin, including the dead and unhealthy skin cells. This can help to improve the appearance of acne, discolouration and aging skin. Peels provide the opportunity for your healthy, glowing skin underneath to shine through.

How exactly should you treat your healing skin after your treatment?

A chemical peel will remove the top layers of your skin, including the dead and unhealthy skin cells. This can help to improve the appearance of acne, discolouration and aging skin. Peels provide the opportunity for your healthy, glowing skin underneath to shine through. Allowing your skin to recover after a chemical peel is essential.

After a peel, your skin is much more sensitive so specialist care is needed. This is why it is important to follow your doctors guidelines carefully. Here are some expert tips for post-peel skin care:

  • Use cool water to cleanse your face. This will help to soothe any redness or swelling of the skin after your treatment.
  • Apply a good moisturizer
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water
  • Use an SPF30 + sunscreen to protect your more delicate skin from the aging effects of the sun
  • Don’t perform strenuous workouts or visit saunas and steam rooms. These things can irritate your sensitive post-peel skin.
  • Avoid exfoliating for a few days after your peel. Exfoliating could increase the redness and sensitivity you experience after your treatment

Which moisturizer should you choose?

Keeping your skin well moisturized can speed up healing and help to prevent scarring. But, with so many moisturizers available on the market, how do you choose the best one?

As a chemical peel disrupts your skin’s natural protective barrier, it is beneficial to reinforce this barrier using a medium or thick moisturizer. This moisturizer should also be neutral and gentle, containing no harsh chemicals or fragrances to avoid irritation. Zinc oxide creams, in particular, can provide gentle moisturization to the skin post peel.

Can I use makeup after a chemical peel?

This will really depend upon the strength of your peel. With some superficial peels you may be able to wear makeup the next day. However, deeper peels may require 7-10 makeup free days after treatment.

Again, it is important to follow your doctor’s advice as applying makeup too soon can lead to increased irritation.

How long will it take to recover from a chemical peel?

This will also depend upon the strength and depth of your peel.

Skin will typically take 1-7 days to heal after a light peel, 7-14 days after a medium peel and 2-3 weeks after a deep peel.

Following a good post-treatment skincare routine will help to speed up the healing process.

Effectiveness of chemical peels for acne scars: amazing results clear in before and after pics

Chemical peels are a popular cosmetic treatment choice for acne scarring and the reason for this is simple - they provide great results!

Chemical peels are a popular cosmetic treatment choice for acne scarring and the reason for this is simple – they provide great results! The dramatic difference is clear to see when browsing through before and after pictures.

When choosing your treatment provider, ask to see before and after pictures of patients that they have previously treated. This will help to reassure you about their standard of work.

Will a dermatologist perform my chemical peel?

While there are weaker, superficial DIY chemical peels that you can perform in the comfort of your own home, stronger peels should always be performed by a qualified dermatologist. This will ensure that you get the most effective results and the safest possible care, limiting the risk of any adverse effects, such as discoloration and scarring. Your chosen dermatologist should assess your skin type and condition prior to deciding on your treatment, their expert analysis is essential for deciding on the best course of action for you.

Can I get a DIY chemical peel for my acne scars?

There are low strength, at-home peels available which can improve the condition of oily and breakout-prone skin. These provide a mild exfoliation all over the face which can help with some acne scarring. However, if you have deep acne scarring or lots of scars then it is probably worthwhile booking an appointment with your dermatologist for a deeper peel.

How much does a chemical peel treatment cost?

It is difficult to answer this question as the cost of a chemical peel varies greatly depending upon the chemical strength that you require. Within the Boston area, the price tag for a light peel can be as low as $150, while a deep peel may set you back up to $3000. The current average cost of a chemical peel, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, is around $669.

Once you have chosen your physician, you can discuss how much they will charge you for you individual treatment at your initial consultation appointment.

How much is a chemical peel for acne scars?

The cost of a peel for the treatment of your acne scars depends upon the severity and extent of your scarring. If you have deeper scarring and require a stronger peel, then you will have to pay more for this.

You can often combine your peel with other treatments, for example dermaplaning. Most MedSpas offer a bundle deal for multiple treatments that are booked at the same time.

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