With modern technology and improved general knowledge of skincare ingredients, acids no longer carry with them the bad reputation they once did. The worry of causing your skin to burn or peel off are certainly a thing of the past, but does this mean we can use acids any way we like?
Admittedly, skincare formulas are so advanced now that each active ingredient works effectively together with little side effects, but can this be said when different acids are layered on top of each other? This leads us to considering today’s blog post and with any luck we’ll answer the following, “Can I use lactic acid on top of AHA?”
What are AHAs?
- AHAs, also known as Alpha Hydroxy Acid, are a group chemical exfoliants that are often derived from plant and animal sources.
- AHAs are often formulated into an array of different skincare products, such as serums, toners, face cleansers, treatment face masks, and moisturisers.
- Some of the most common acids used are, glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, mandelic acid, citric acid, and azelaic acid.
- AHAs are most water-soluble and work on the outer surface of the skin, it can slough away the layer of dead skin cells and debris that can build-up and create blemishes, breakouts, such as whiteheads, and flaky patches of skin.
- Some AHAs penetrate further into the skin and rid the pores of dirt, bacteria, debris, and excess sebum.
- AHAs help to promote the production of collagen and elastin in the skin resulting in firmer, plumper skin, and a youthful bounce.
- They combat areas of hyperpigmentation and visibly reduce the appearance of dark spots, age spots, and sun damage on the skin surface.
- Improves the appearance of ageing on the skin, such as fine lines, and wrinkles.
- AHAs prevent acne flare-ups and reduce the chances of blemishes developing on the skin surface.
- If you wanted to find out more about AHAs and how they benefit the skin, check out our dedicated blog post.
What is lactic acid?
- Derived from soured dairy products, such as a milk, to help collect the fermented compound found in lactose.
- Known for being the gentlest AHAs due to its larger molecular size preventing it from penetrating too far in the skin and increasing irritation.
- Helps to dissolve the bounds holding the dead skin cells to the skin surface leading to acne, flaky patches of skin, signs of ageing, and a dull complexion.
- Gently exfoliates the skin ridding the surface of the barrier and helping other ingredients to absorb quickly.
- Contains a unique humectant trait meaning it can draw moisturiser into the skin and lock into the surface. This results in the skin barrier containing the correct level of water and oil ensuring it is strong enough to ward off free radical damage, such as pollution, UV light, central heating, and other environmental aggressors.
- Diminishes the appearance of ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, loss of firmness.
- There is more to find out about this clever acid over on The Beauty Insiders.
Can you use AHA and lactic acid together?
Yes, you can, but remain mindful of the layering ingredients containing different pH levels on top of each other. Ideally, you should wait about 15 minutes between applications as this allows enough time for the skin’s pH levels to rebalance and prepare for the following actives.
The order which you apply each acid depends on the skincare formula. It is understood that there is a specific way to use your products to ensure they all deliver optimal results, starting with the thinnest to thickest consistencies. Lactic acid and other AHAs are often found in similar formulas, so it really boils down to your own preference and the products you use in your skincare routine.
If you have a skin type that is sensitive and prone to redness, it may result in you benefiting the most from lactic acid on its own. Layering it with other acids can cause unwanted irritation, redness, itching, and discomfort. To prevent these negative side effects, start with building the skin’s tolerance before slowly introducing other acids and layering them together. If you ever have any worries with using lactic acid and other actives, seek the help from a doctor or dermatologist.
There are some other examples of using lactic acid with AHAs, such as.
- Alternating the time of day, you apply each ingredient. Try using lactic acid during your morning routine, following this in the evening with another AHA.
- Alternate the days you use lactic acid or AHA. You don’t necessarily need to use a chemical exfoliant every day, especially if your skin is prone to sensitivity. Instead, you can pick and choose when to apply your active keeping the skin healthy and happy.
- If you find your skin has a good tolerance to using these actives together, you can simply apply your skincare products in a routine you and your skin are benefiting from.
What can you layer with lactic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is considered the best ingredient to team with lactic acid. This is because, although it has the name acid, hyaluronic works differently on the skin, instead providing a boost in hydration for the skin. With its humectant abilities hyaluronic acid can help draw water into the skin and locking it into place. With this extra hydration, you’ll find the complexion is left plumped, healthy, with improved clarity and a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles.
How do I add lactic acid to my skincare routine?
This is very much dependant on the product formula that contains lactic acid. As I have mentioned already there an array of different products to choose from. From cleansers to serums. If you are new to lactic acid, or any type of acid for that matter, I would suggest using your product during your evening routine to begin with. This will allow you to reap the rewards without the worry of overexposure to free radicals, such as UV rays, pollution, and harsh climates.
There you have a little more detail about using lactic acid on top of AHA. If you have any further questions, you can find one of our beauty experts over on our Instagram.