Can I use a Salicylic Acid Cleanser with Lactic Acid?

Can I use a Salicylic Acid Cleanser with Lactic Acid?

You’ve no doubt heard the words AHA and BHA when talking about skincare formulations. In recent years our knowledge and love for these chemical exfoliants have irrupted onto the beauty scene, and now it’s hard to think of a skincare routine without at least one acid included.

Now, if you are wanting to know more about what are AHAs and BHAs and the benefits they deliver to the skin you can check out our blog post. As for today’s blog post, we are going to find out together whether you can use a salicylic acid cleanser with lactic acid.

What can you not mix with lactic acid?

When using lactic acid, it is considered best to avoid applying it to the skin with vitamin C. The reason for this is because of the pH levels of each ingredient are both low, due to the fact they are both acidic. When layering products, it is important to remember that teaming ingredients together effectively relies on the pH levels complimenting each other. Having said that, a worthwhile skincare routine would in fact include vitamin C and lactic acid. If you are wanting to use both then I would suggest applying a serum enriched in vitamin C in the morning. The antioxidants in the formula will help combat free radical damage such as exposure to UV rays, pollution, and environmental aggressors. You can use a lactic acid toner during your evening routine to rid the skin from the build-up of impurities, dirt, bacteria, and layer of dead skin cells.

Should I use a cleanser with salicylic acid?

Yes and no, this is very much dependant on the skin type you have. Those who have an oily or blemish-prone skin type will find that they are able to introduce salicylic acid in their routine with little to no sign of irritation. For the most effective formulation of face wash and cleanser should include percentage varying between 0.5% up to 2%. This active level of salicylic acid will penetrate the lower layers of the skin, deep into the pores and unclog them of any build-up of excess sebum, impurities, dirt, and bacteria.

The beauty of using a cleanser contain salicylic acid is the fact it is rinsed off the skin, this prevents the potent acid remaining on the skin with the potential side effects of causing dryness and irritation. 

Can you use a salicylic acid cleanser with AHA?

You can, but with caution. If you have a skin that is dry with a tendency to become sensitive using salicylic acid and other AHAs, such as lactic acid it is best to avoid overloading the skin with too much exfoliation.

If you have a combination or oily skin type teaming acids together could be a secret formula to skin clarity. With lactic acid being one of the gentlest AHAs it is unable to penetrate too far into the skin and cause irritation. It also delivers unique benefit of drawing water into the skin surface and locking it into place keeping the barrier fully functioning and at its healthiest state. To use both ingredients in your routine and reap the rewards it is important for you to leave around 15 minutes between applications, this is generally considered the right amount of time between applications to allow the skin’s pH level to rebalance itself.

Is it OK to use lactic acid every day?

It is not advised to use potent active level of lactic acid every day. However, lower percentages in rinse off formulas such as face wash, cleansers and exfoliating toners are thought to be low enough to effectively clear the skin without minimal side effects. Even if you find your skin to be quite robust and you’re accustomed to using acids in your everyday routine, if there is the slightest flare-up of redness, dryness, irritation, or skin flaking stop using the product immediately and seek the help from a doctor or medical professional. There is a dedicated blog post about lactic acid over on the Skin School blog for more information. 

Is it OK to use salicylic acid every day?

You should only use salicylic acid every day if you are certain your skin is happy with you using it on a regular basis. With this BHA being one of the most potent of chemical exfoliants I would suggest firstly introducing it 3 times a week. If there are no signs of irritation, flushing, redness or dryness then you are able to step it up to more applications if you wished to. If you have any concerns or worries about using salicylic acid consult with your GP to get a better understanding and peace of mind that your skin will be happy using salicylic acid on a regular basis. If you are wanting to know more about salicylic acid, there is a dedicated blog post about its full benefits.

Can I use lactic acid every night?

Yes, it is usually considered that using a chemical exfoliant in the evening is the optimal way of obtaining the full benefits. This is because whilst you sleep, the acids can work on the surface of the skin, ridding it of any impurities or debris without having to compete against damage and exposure to free radicals, such as UV rays and pollution.

When using lactic acid in the night I would say try teaming it with a serum enriched in hyaluronic acid. This will give the skin the ultimate boost in hydration ensuring the protective barrier is packed with correct level of water and oil.

Can you put lactic acid on pimples?

Yes, you can, although it is thought that salicylic acid is the most effective ingredient to use on pimples, lactic acid makes a good alternative to those with a dry, yet blemished skin. Lactic acid will rid the skin gently of any bacteria and dead skin cells that can lead to blemishes and breakouts.

So, there you have it, hopefully I have cleared up some confusion that you may have had about whether you can use a salicylic acid cleanser with lactic acid. Come and follow us on Instagram for new product launches, discounts, and skin expert tips!


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