Do you have sensitive skin and does the idea of using acid on your skin terrify you? If Yes, then you are not alone. This is the situation with a lot of people. But not to worry as we are talking about Lactic Acid which is well-known for its beauty and health benefits. Lactic acid, which is considered to be packed with nutrients is beneficial for your health as well as for enhancing your beauty. Lactic Acid is the main component in milk that has gone sour. Lactic Acid is a beauty ingredient which has taken the cosmetic industry by storm. Let us find out more about the beneficial properties of Lactic Acid on your body.
What Is Lactic Acid?
The name Lactic Acid is derived from the Latin word Lac- which means milk. Lactic Acid which is also known as 2-hydroxypropanoic acid is an organic acid which is white coloured. It is in solid-state and dissolves completely in water. In the dissolved state, Lactic Acid is a colourless and an odourless liquid. Lactic Acid is produced artificially by the bacterial fermentation of carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose or galactose or by the chemical synthesis from acetaldehyde. Naturally, Lactic Acid is derived from fermented milk products such as yoghurt and some varieties of cottage cheese. Lactic Acid has a plethora of uses and applications, as it has made its space in general healthcare, skincare and haircare industry.
Lactic Acid In Healthcare
Lactic Acid is a group of organic compounds which is collectively known as AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid) due to the presence of carboxyl group adjacent to the hydroxyl group. It is a naturally occurring carboxylic acid which is found in many foods. Lactic Acid is widely used as a food additive, as a food preservative, flavouring agent, curing agent and in pharmaceutical companies. Lactic Acid is primarily found in the fermented milk products such as yoghurt, cottage cheese, laban which are packed with nutrients beneficial for your health.
Lactic Acid In Skin Care
Lactic Acid is used as a light skin peeling agent and a mild exfoliator which works by breaking down and dissolving the structure of dead skin cells without irritating the skin. Its moisturizing properties help to make your skin soft and smooth and it is also known to possess anti-ageing properties. It helps to nourish your skin, making it radiant and youthful. Lactic acid is known to work on the skin surface by stimulating cell turnover, reducing hyperpigmentation, control sebum production and improves the texture of your skin.
Lactic Acid In Hair Care
Lactic Acid helps to acidify your hair by maintaining the low pH balance of your hair and scalp. When the pH balance of your scalp is disturbed it gives rise to numerous hair problems such as dandruff, hair fall, hair thinning, split ends. Lactic Acid helps to maintain the low pH balance of your scalp, thereby helps to overcome major hair problems.
Benefits Of Lactic Acid For Your Health
There are several health and nutritional benefits of Lactic Acid present in food. Lactic Acid is found in fermented dairy products, which is quite beneficial for your health.
- The lactose in the milk is converted to lactic acid, which lowers the pH of milk and it curdles to form thick yoghurt which is known to be quite healthy for your body especially yogurt.
- Lactic Acid is a popular food additive as it is commonly used in salad dressings, breads, spreads, desserts and jams. It gives a flavour to the food as well as it acts as a preservative.
- Due to the probiotic effect of Lactic Acid present in fermented milk products, it helps to improve digestion and aids in the treatment of diarrhoea.
- The Lactic Acid bacteria found in fermented milk products adds to the nutritive value of food, helps prevent intestinal infection and improves digestion of lactose.
- Lactic Acid is widely used in pharmaceutical industries because lactic acid and its salts are easily accepted by our body.
Lactic Acid is diverse in its properties due to which it is extensively used in the food industry as well as the pharmaceutical industry.
Benefits Of Lactic Acid For Your Skin
Lactic Acid is also known for its beauty benefits as it helps to nourish and hydrate the skin. It makes your skin more bright and radiant, keeping it soft and supple. Due to the beneficial properties of Lactic Acid, it is widely used in skincare products. Let’s take a closer look at what does Lactic Acid do for your skin.
1. Acts As An Exfoliator
Lactic Acid acts as an exfoliator which is mild as compared to other AHAs. It sloughs off the dead and rough skin cells from the surface without causing any skin irritation.
2. Promotes A Youthful Skin
The exfoliation of the dead skin cells promotes regeneration of new skin cells by increasing the cellular turnover in the upper layer of the skin which boosts a more youthful skin.
3. Moisturizes Your Skin
Lactic Acid is a wonderful moisturizing agent which acts as a humectant and reduces the loss of water from the upper layer of the skin by increasing the production of oil and fats underneath the skin. This helps to retain the moisture content of the skin, thereby making your skin soft, supple and hydrated.
4. Eliminates Bacteria
Lactic Acid is known to eradicate skin infection in infants. Even in adults, it works the same by reducing skin inflammation and skin irritation caused by acne and severely dry skin conditions.
5. Reduces Wrinkles
Lactic Acid in higher concentration (above 10%) is able to penetrate through the upper layers of the skin i.e dermis and epidermis, making your skin look plump, thereby reducing fine lines and wrinkles. It makes your skin more firm, thereby making your skin youthful in appearance.
6. Reduces Acne
Lactic Acid is effective in fighting bacterial infection and controls the sebum production which is known to be the major cause for outbreaks on the skin.
7. Increases Cell Turnover
Lactic Acid helps to get rid of dead skin cells from the surface of your skin, thereby promoting the process of cell renewal and boosts the overall cell turnover thereby, improving the texture of your skin and making it more youthful in appearance.
Lactic Acid acts as a multi-tasker and takes care of all your skincare needs and works accordingly adding a natural glow to your skin and making it look and feel good.
Benefits Of Lactic Acid For Your Hair
Most of us are unaware of the fact that the natural pH of our hair and scalp is acidic and almost all the haircare products that we use are alkaline in nature. The natural pH of your scalp is 5.5 and excessive use of these hair care products disturbs the normal pH balance of your scalp which in turn gives rise to numerous hair problems such as dandruff, dry and frizzy hair, hair fall, hair breakage and split ends. Lactic Acid has an important role to play in bringing the pH level back to normal by acidifying your hair. Lactic Acid is beneficial to your hair and scalp if used in moderation. Because of its immense beauty benefits, Lactic Acid is used extensively in many hair care products. Let’s check out the benefits of Lactic Acid for your hair
1. Maintains The pH Balance Of Your Hair
The alkaline nature of the haircare products disturbs the pH balance of your scalp and Lactic Acid helps to lower the pH by acidifying your hair and bringing the pH level back to normal. Maintaining the normal pH level of your scalp helps to ward off many hair problems.
2. Prevents Dandruff
When the pH balance of your scalp is disturbed, your scalp tends to become itchy and flaky giving rise to dandruff. Lactic Acid aids in maintaining the normal pH level of your scalp.
3. Moisturizes Your Strands
The smaller size of the molecules makes it easier for Lactic Acid to penetrate deeper into the layers of your hair, thereby making strands soft and smooth, making your dry, frizzy hair more manageable.
4. Protects Your Hair
The conditioning and moisturizing effect of Lactic Acid is known to protect your strands from the damage caused by the use of excessive styling tools and also from the damaging effect of the sun rays. It forms a protective layer over the surface of the hair, thereby protecting your hair from environmental aggressors.
5. Acts As An Exfoliator
Lactic Acid acts as a mild exfoliator as it aids in getting rid of dead skin cells, dirt and grime from the scalp without stripping the hair off its natural moisture.
6. Boosts Blood Circulation
It aids in the deep cleansing of your scalp and also boosts blood circulation thereby promoting hair growth.
As Lactic Acid is loaded with amazing hair care benefits, it is increasingly being used in many shampoos, conditioners and serums for cleansing, conditioning and moisturizing your strands.
Uses of Lactic Acid
- It is commercially used in the food industry as a food additive, food preservative, flavouring agent, and in the manufacturing of cheese and yoghurt.
- It is used in the pharmaceutical industry in maintaining the pH level of certain medicines.
- Because of its beauty benefits, Lactic Acid is used in many skin care products such as creams, body lotions and moisturizers.
- It is also used in the production of personal care and beauty products due to its moisturizing, antimicrobial and nourishing properties.
Lactic Acid is used in numerous hair care products such as shampoos, conditioners, hair serums and hair mousses because of its hygroscopic and emulsifying properties.
Potential Side Effects Of Lactic Acid
Generally, Lactic Acid is known to be a mild AHA as compared to other AHAs such as glycolic acid. This makes it a better choice for use in many cosmetic products. When used in moderation, Lactic Acid is known to have no harmful side effects. Excess of it can have a damaging effect on your skin and hair leading to excessively dry skin and hair. Other side effects include skin peeling, hyper pigmentation, skin rashes, skin irritation, itchy scalp and your skin and hair tend to become dull and dry due to the excess use of Lactic Acid. It is always recommended to perform a patch test if you are using it for the first time, and check for any allergic reaction on your skin. People with hypersensitive skin should avoid using Lactic Acid. If the allergic reaction persists, discontinue its use and immediately consult a doctor.
Written By - Akhila Menon
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