The Science of Skincare: Understanding Lactic Acid and Retinol
When it comes to skincare, it's important to understand the ingredients that you're using in order to achieve the best results. Two ingredients that are often used in skincare products are lactic acid and retinol. In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at these two ingredients and explore whether or not they can be used together.
What is Lactic Acid?
Lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that is derived from milk or other natural sources. It is a type of chemical exfoliant that works by dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, allowing them to be easily removed from the surface of the skin. It is a popular ingredient in anti-aging and brightening skincare products because of its ability to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and uneven skin tone.
It also helps to hydrate the skin, by increasing the water content of the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin which is responsible for keeping the skin hydrated. Lactic acid is considered to be a milder exfoliant compared to other AHAs like glycolic acid, making it a good option for those with sensitive skin.
How Often Should I Use Lactic Acid on My Face?
The frequency at which you use lactic acid on your face will depend on your individual skin type and the strength of the product. Generally, it's recommended to start with once or twice a week and gradually increase the frequency as your skin becomes accustomed to the product. It's also important to use sunscreen when using lactic acid as it can make skin more sensitive to the sun.
3 Benefits of Lactic Acid
- Exfoliates the skin: By dissolving the bonds that hold dead skin cells together, lactic acid helps to remove dead skin cells from the surface of the skin, leaving it smoother, brighter and more even-toned. This also helps to unclog pores, which can help to reduce the appearance of acne.
- Improves skin texture: Another benefit of lactic acid is its ability to increase collagen production. Collagen is a protein that gives skin its structure and elasticity. As we age, collagen production decreases, leading to wrinkles and sagging skin. Lactic acid can help to stimulate collagen production, which can lead to firmer, more youthful-looking skin.
- Hydrate the outer layer: By increasing the water content of the stratum corneum, the outermost layer of the skin, it helps to keep the skin hydrated and plump. This can help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles caused by dryness.
What is Retinol?
Retinol is a form of vitamin A that is commonly used in skincare products. It's a powerful ingredient that can help to improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation. It works by increasing cell turnover and stimulating collagen production, which helps to improve the overall texture and tone of the skin.
Can I Use Retinol Everyday?
It's generally recommended to start with using retinol once or twice a week, and gradually increase the frequency as your skin becomes accustomed to the product. It's also important to use sunscreen when using retinol as it can make skin more sensitive to the sun.
FAQs on Lactic Acid and Retinol
1) What Goes First, Lactic Acid or Retinol?
Deciding on the order of application for skincare products can be a bit tricky, and it is important to understand the properties of each product before determining the correct order. When it comes to lactic acid and retinol, the general rule of thumb is to apply products with the lightest consistency first, and work your way up to the heaviest.
Lactic acid is typically used in the form of a serum or toner and it has a light consistency. Retinol, on the other hand, is usually found in creams or serums and has a heavier consistency. Therefore, it is recommended to apply lactic acid first, followed by retinol.
This is because lactic acid is an exfoliant, which helps to remove dead skin cells, and prepare the skin for the retinol. Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative, it can be quite strong and can cause irritation or dryness if not used properly. By using lactic acid first, you are helping to create a smooth surface for the retinol to penetrate, which can help to minimize any potential irritation or dryness.
The two ingredients work together to improve the overall appearance of the skin. Lactic acid helps to remove the dead skin cells and promote collagen production, while retinol helps to improve the texture of the skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It is important to note that while they can be used together, each ingredient should be used at the right time and concentration, and with the right pH levels.
In conclusion, both lactic acid and retinol can be great ingredients to include in your skincare routine, but it's important to use them properly and in the right order. Start with small amounts and gradually increase as your skin becomes accustomed to the products. Additionally, always use sunscreen when using these products, as they can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.