The American skincare industry has ballooned to a $5.6 billion valuation on the strength of specialized ingredients that are proven to enhance the look, feel, and health of the skin. Lactic acid is one of those ingredients, and for people looking for natural relief for their skin woes, it’s certainly one to pay attention to.
Here, we’ll take a look at why lactic acid is so good for your skin and also share a list of products that contain the lactic acid your skin is craving.
What is Lactic Acid?
If you’ve spent any time in the personal care or beauty aisle, you’ve likely seen product labels boasting Alpha Hydroxy Acids, or AHAs. These chemical compounds have become a favorite of companies manufacturing products designed to improve the look, feel, and health of skin. Lactic acid is one type of Alpha Hydroxy Acid, and it is found in both natural and synthetic forms.
Alpha-hydroxy acids gently slough away dead skin cells. That means old cells slough off with ease when goat milk is added to the mix, leaving you with smooth, hydrated and vibrant skin. So if you’re looking for a natural exfoliator, this is it. Harsh exfoliators leave your skin red and irritated, but goat milk soap is gentle and does the hard work for you (without it feeling like work!).
Lactic acid was first found in samples of sour milk, which explains the name “lactic” acid. In dairy products, lactic acid is created during fermentation, which can occur as milk begins to sour, or in the creation of fermented products like yogurt. But sour milk products aren’t the only place lactic acid is found.
Lactic acid is created naturally in the body — during exercise, for example — and it is also found in non-sour milk products, including goat milk.
It is said that Queen Cleopatra of Ancient Egypt took regular milk baths to enhance her complexion, as the milk was believed to keep her skin soft and supple while preventing wrinkles and other signs of aging. As modern science has proven, Cleopatra was on to something. Goat milk naturally contains lactic acid which helps to remove dead skin cells by weakening the bonds between them. Imagine a handyman scraping the shingles off of a roof with a shovel. The ugly, dead skin cells are removed leaving more youthful, supple skin in its place.
Because of its numerous benefits for the skin, lactic acid, which occurred naturally in the donkey milk Cleopatra bathed in, is now recognized by top dermatologists as a not-so-secret beauty secret to keep your skin fresh, healthy, and looking its best.
The Top Four Skincare Benefits of Lactic Acid
Benefit #1 - Promotes Anti-Aging
Aging skin typically shares similar characteristics: It’s often thinner, feeling papery or crepe-like, and it can also display more fine lines and wrinkles. The good news is that lactic acid helps on both fronts.
In a study testing the epidermal (referring to the outermost layer of skin) and dermal (referring to the layer under the epidermis) effects of lactic acid, participants who applied a 12% lactic acid solution twice per day experienced dramatic results. In addition to having firmer, thicker skin, there was also a “clinical improvement in skin smoothness and in the appearance of lines and wrinkles.”
Benefit #2 - Increases Moisture
Like other AHAs, lactic acid is a known humectant. “You can think of humectants as magnets that attract water,” reads a Healthline article on the subject. “They pull moisture from the air into the upper layer of your skin.”
Regarding lactic acid, specifically, research shows that it stimulates ceramide synthesis, or the creation of additional fat molecules that help the skin retain moisture. This promotes a “superior skin lipid barrier and dry skin resistance.”
All of the above means that products containing lactic acid won’t just provide temporary moisture for the skin. They’ll also decrease the need for additional moisturizers in the future.
Benefit #3 - Improves Skin Tone
No one wants blotchy, rough, or uneven skin—which explains why chemical peels are a popular treatment in day spas and at-home formulations.
Chemical peels can certainly be effective in treating acne, age spots, scars, and other skin issues, but they also come with a host of potential side effects. Chemical peels have been shown to cause redness, scarring, and potentially permanent changes in skin coloring.
Because of its natural exfoliant properties, lactic acid is an ideal alternative to harsh chemical peels. And it’s just as effective. "At higher concentrations, [lactic acid] acts as an exfoliator helping to dissolve connections between skin cells,” dermatologist Joshua Zeichner, M.D. explained in an interview with Shape Magazine.
This dissolving of skin cell connections makes it easier to remove them. Lactic acid also promotes cell renewal, ensuring that those damaged cells are replaced with new, healthy ones. This is exactly why our goat milk bath product makes such a great all-natural foot soak!
Benefit #4 - Is Super Gentle on Skin
Considering all of the benefits of lactic acid, including its exfoliating and skin renewal properties, it may be hard to believe that lactic acid is also very gentle to skin. Often, the most effective skin care products can cause stinging or redness, particularly if they contain an acid as its active ingredient, but lactic acid is both powerful and mild.
A study comparing different types of AHAs found that lactic and glycolic acid were the most effective in increasing skin cell renewal, improving moisture content and reducing lines and wrinkles. Additionally, lactic acid was found to be much less irritating, causing fewer complaints among participants.
The Best Way to Incorporate Lactic Acid in Your Skincare Routine
As we mentioned, synthetic lactic acid is created and added to tons of products lining the shelves of drugstores and high-end beauty counters alike. These products may be effective, but we believe in taking a natural approach to skincare, and one of the best ways to naturally incorporate lactic acid into your skincare routine is by using products made with goat milk.
At Bend Soap Company, we’ve created a line of products with super-short ingredient lists that begin with one star ingredient: fresh goat milk. Our goat milk is farm-fresh (from our own goats!), vaccine-free, and full of nutrients including vitamins A, D, E, and K — and, of course, lactic acid.
Our goat milk soap is made with 26% goat milk, and it provides superior hydration in a bar that’s gentle enough for face and body, young and old. Our goat milk lotion helps seal in the moisture implanted with our soaps, and it does so without any of the artificial fragrances, dyes, and other chemicals normally found in conventional lotions and creams.
And if you’re looking for an easy, convenient way to treat your skin a la Queen Cleopatra, our goat milk baths are definitely for you. Made from our shredded bars of goat milk soap, they deliver a nourishing, spa-like experience in the convenience of your own bathroom. We also offer milk bath varieties that are scented with essential oils, like Honey Grapefruit and Hint of Lavender, for the added benefit of all-natural aromatherapy.
Back to You
Lactic acid is one of the hottest ingredients on the skincare market right now, and for good reason. It has anti-aging properties, increases moisture, improves skin tone, and is gentle enough for irritated sensitive skin. Numerous products contain synthetic versions of lactic acid, but if you’re looking for natural ways to nourish your skin, try our collection of all-natural skincare products made with farm-fresh goat milk. You’ll be feeling like Queen Cleopatra in no time!
- Blog Post: The #1 Thing Missing from Your Skincare Regimen
- Blog Post: How to Winter-Proof Your Skin in 4 Easy Steps
- Blog Post: Your Exfoliating Face Wash is Doing More Harm Than Good
- Blog Post: 8 Reasons to Choose Oatmeal & Honey Milk Bath
- Blog Post: The Benefits of Milk Baths You Need to Know About
- Blog Post: The 7 Benefits of Goat Milk