By now, especially if you’ve been knocking around these parts for a while, you will have a good understanding of what lactic acid is and it benefits the skin. The focus on today’s blog post is how often to use lactic acid peel. Now, don’t let the name scare you, peels are a quick and effective way of achieving great skin, but it does require you to take some time ensuring you find the right formula and feel confident using it.
What is Lactic Acid?
- Naturally occurs in soured dairy products, such as milk, with derivatives used to formulate the lactic acid found in skincare products.
- Effective at combating signs of ageing and ironing out appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Sloughs away the build-up of dead skin cells, dirt, bacteria, debris, and other impurities that gather on the outer surface of the skin.
- Combats areas of hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and sun damage inhibiting melanin from becoming overproduced making these areas more pigmented.
- Boosts the production of collagen and elastin in the skin leaving you a hydrated and plumped complexion.
- Lactic acid acts as a humectant meaning it can draw moisture into the skin and locking in the protective skin barrier.
- Known for being the most mild and gentle of acids and can be used by all skin types, even though prone to mild sensitivity.
- Helps to revive the skin and reveals new skin cells helping the complexion look brighter and vibrant.
How does a chemical peel work?
A chemical peel will use an exfoliating acid, for example, lactic acid, on freshly cleaned skin. A thin layer is applied to the surface of the skin and allow it to remove the top layer of the epidermis. It’s this top layer that contains a build-up of dead skin cells, excess sebum, dirt, and bacteria that when left will develop into breakouts, spots, and can make the complexion look dull and lack lustre. In some cases, chemical peels can penetrate further into the dermis layer of the skin and help unclog the pores too preventing any flare-up in blackheads or whiteheads.
The difference with using lactic acid, is the fact it is one of the milder alpha hydroxy acids available and can be used by almost all skin types. Its benefits are the ability to tackle hyperpigmentation, sun damage, and age spots revealing a layer of healthy and glowing skin cells. You will also find lactic acid has a unique trait of acting as a humectant, meaning it is able to draw in moisture and lock it into place. This not only keeps your skin supple and hydrated but will also ensure the lipid barrier function properly and keep the skin protected free radicals, and exposure to other environmental aggressors.
If you wanted to know more about lactic acid itself and how it delivers results on the skin, check out our dedicated blog post.
How often can I do a lactic acid peel?
For a lactic acid peel, it’s best to use it every few weeks. Having said that, the percentage of the acid will play a role in whether you should use them more regularly. You will find 30% concentrate of lactic acid is a great starting point if you are introducing peels into your treatment routine.
Before we move on if the word peel sending shivers down your spine, don’t panic, as it doesn’t mean the skin will literally peel off your face. Instead, you will find the acid works in the lower layers and ridding the skin of bacteria, dead skin cells and other impurities. The “peel” will appear more like a fresh layer of skin coming to the surface. Just need to remain mindful that because of the exfoliation, you are exposed to increased risk of sun damage so applying a daily sunscreen is a vital step to keep your skin protected.
How often should lactic acid be used?
This is very much dependant on the formula and strength of lactic acid used. The weaker concentrates will often be found in cleanser and face wash products, both of which are rinsed off the skin and are gentle enough to use every day, some even twice a day. These formulas are favoured by those with dry skin that is prone to sensitivity as they will rarely cause too much irritation.
For more potent formulas, such as serums, these may need to be introduced slowly into your routine, especially if you have sensitive skin. If there is a high concentrate of the acid, I would also suggest using it in the evenings only as this will avoid the risk of further skin damage caused from exposure to the sun.
Many find teaming this acid with other ingredients, such as vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and niacinamide is an easy and effective task with little to no side effects. For more potent actives, such as retinol and salicylic acid, it is advisable to alternate when you apply each ingredient as this allows enough time for the skin and pH levels to rebalance, whilst preparing for the next steps in your routine.
If you are unsure of how your skin will react to certain ingredients, performing a patch test for 24 hours will establish whether you are able to apply it to the face whilst avoiding any side effects.
Can I use lactic acid peel every day?
As I have already mentioned, lactic acid is one of the gentlest acids to use on the skin. But this doesn’t mean it won’t cause irritation or severely dry the skin, you may also find that if you overuse an exfoliating formula (especially one as potent as a peel) the skin can become stripped of the correct levels of water and oil in the protective barrier resulting in it becoming weakened and susceptible to further damage.
Therefore, it is important to ensure you are using your product as described on the packaging. If you have any concerns about using certain acids, I suggest consulting with a doctor or dermatologist for the peace of mind you are using the best acid for you and your needs.
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