The 8 Best Lactic Acid Products for Your Skin

When someone speaks about putting acid on their skin, it’s easy to wince. The word ‘acid’ can bring to mind a chemistry lab and maybe even a burn or two. But actually, when it comes to skincare, acids can revitalise your skin and give it new energy.

If you're new to Lactic Acid and AHAs, Jo explains it all in the video below...

AHAs: Everything you Need to Know

When you put a little acid in your skincare routine, you could find that your problem areas start to clear up. Wrinkles, age spots, scarring, and blemishes—there's an acid for everything! But if you’re looking to specifically improve the texture of your skin, tackle fine lines, and reduce dark spots, Lactic Acid skincare could be your perfect match.

Used extensively and loved by the beauty industry, Lactic Acid for skin is a firm favourite. It can be found in cleansers, toners, gels, and peels. Lactic Acid skin care offers a safety net for those struggling with tired, ageing skin.

What is Lactic Acid and What Does it do?

Lactic Acid forms when certain foods or bacteria go through a fermentation process. It’s one of the gentler AHAs available but still produces noteworthy results. Lactic Acid acts as a gentle exfoliator for the skin. When you use it regularly, it will help improve age spots and other signs of ageing.

Lactic Acid for skin helps slough away any dead skin cells. By doing this, a Lactic Acid exfoliant will help clear away debris and speed up cell renewal. A gentler alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), Lactic Acid benefits include naturally hydrated skin and a softer, smoother complexion. LA can also help bring firmness back to the skin and help rid you of any frustrating fine lines. Skin will be left moisturised and cared for after every use.

Adore Beauty - The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA - A close up of lower half of young woman's face. Her hair is in braids and she is smiling as she holds up the dropper lid out of a small glass bottle of  The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA - 1200 x 800Adore Beauty - The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA - A close up of lower half of young woman's face. Her hair is in braids and she is smiling as she holds up the dropper lid out of a small glass bottle of  The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA - 1200 x 800

Is Lactic Acid Vegan?

Lactic Acid is primarily made using fermented vegetables and cereals, which makes it safe for vegan and plant-based folks to use. It can be man-made or naturally occurring. Lactic Acids can be found in dairy products but aren’t always found in skincare products. If you’re vegan and concerned about the source of Lactic Acid, always check the ingredients list first.

Can You Use Lactic Acid and Retinol Together?

Lactic Acid and Lactic Acid skincare products are AHA and BHA exfoliants. They work hard to help resurface your skin and give it a softer, clearer look. Retinol is a Vitamin A derivative that helps soften wrinkles and reduce the signs of ageing.

Though both Lactic Acid and Retinol can be used together, you don’t want to overdo it. Your skin could react negatively if you pile too many ingredients on it. If you’re veering on the side of caution, use Lactic Acid in the morning and apply a Retinol product at night. Retinol can make skin more susceptible to sun damage, so it’s better to use that overnight anyway. You could also alternate your use, so you use Lactic Acid one night and Retinol the next. Really, it’s all a bit trial and error, but the bottom line is that you can use both in your skincare routine.

Can You Use Lactic Acid and Vitamin C Together?

Known for its many health benefits, Vitamin C is an extremely unstable antioxidant, which means you have to be super-careful about layering it with other ingredients. Great at brightening the skin and giving it fresh appeal, Vitamin C can protect you from many environmental aggressors.

But if you mix a Vitamin C serum with an AHA like Lactic Acid, you’ll render the former useless. An AHA is just too much for Vitamin C to take. When you’re picking a brightening treatment, choose either Vitamin C or Lactic Acid; avoid using both at the same time. You could use a Vitamin C in the morning and a Lactic Acid at night if you want to experiment.

How Often Can You Use Lactic Acid on Your Face?

Lactic Acid is one of the gentler AHA acids on offer, which means it’s safer to use more often than other AHAs. It depends on what part of your routine you’re using it in, but generally, LA is safe to use daily at a low dose and once or twice a week if it’s at a higher percentage. If you use a Lactic Acid serum for more than a few days in a row, it’s probably worth giving your skin a rest on the fourth day. Only use a Lactic Acid peel once a week to prevent any potentially negative side effects.

How to use Lactic Acid?

From a Lactic Acid lotion to a Lactic Acid cleanser, there are many ways to inject the skincare ingredient into your routine. Exfoliating products with Lactic Acid will help shift any unwanted dead skin cells. And Lactic Acid for stretch marks can help smooth away trouble spots.

If you’ve thought about trying Lactic Acid but don’t know where to start, we've rounded up the best products for you to try. Plus, we’ve asked renowned skin expert Tegan Mac from TEGANMAC.SKIN to recommend her Lactic Acid skincare favourites for you!

Tegan Mac says, “Ideal for dull, textured skin and pregnant or breastfeeding women. This serum gently delivers hydrating Lactic Acid into the skin in serum form, making it a lightweight addition to layer under your moisturiser. Perfect for reducing surface texture and adding luminosity to the complexion. Ideal for people looking to build up the skin’s tolerance before introducing Retinol, or pregnant/breastfeeding women looking for a substitute while they can’t use their Retinol products.”

This transformative lactic acid serum has been given a revamp and is now more effective than ever! With a potent blend of powerful ingredients, Aspect Exfol L 15 combines Alpha Hydroxy Acids to exfoliate the skin and leave it looking clearer. Clogged pores are decongested, and dull, dry, ageing complexions are given a fresh-faced appeal. Perfectly prepping the skin for any creams you want to apply after, this treatment won’t cause any redness or irritation. Formulated with a blend of Lactic Acid, Kakadu Plum, Desert Lime, and Davidson Plum, Exfol L 15 leaves skin deeply nourished and exfoliated.

“My favourite all-rounder Retinol is Cosmedix Define Age-Defying Treatment. Lactic Acid teams up with Malic Acid and Tartaric Acid to resurface the upper layer of the skin, while microencapsulated Retinol slowly releases its collagen-stimulating benefits to the deeper layers of the skin without causing excessive dryness and redness on the skin’s surface.” - Tegan Mac

This is a fabulous treatment for all skin types. Perfect if you want to pep up the appearance of your skin, this unique stimulant actively exfoliates for a radiant boost. Cruelty-free and artificial fragrance-free, Cosmedix Define Resurfacing Treatment works wonderfully on skin that’s showing signs of ageing and has been damaged by the sun. Hydrating the skin with Fruit Acids in a cream base, the formula also contains Retinol to help rebalance the skin and reveal a smoother, younger-looking you.

  • Beauty Tip: Always introduce Retinol products gradually into your routine to allow your skin time to adjust to the new ingredient.

Tegan Mac says, “Ideal for resilient skin, dull, normal skin types. Aspect Purastat 5 Cleanser is your go-to Lactic Acid cleanser for those looking for a more active cleanser. Gives the skin a good clean while the Lactic Acid gently exfoliates dead skin to reveal brighter and smoother-looking skin.”

This popular and effective cleanser is now available in a handy travel size! Aspect Purastat 5 Cleanser is a foaming, gently exfoliating formula that combines a mild blend of Sugar and Coconut Extracts to detoxify and thoroughly cleanse the skin. Made without any harsh chemicals, this exfoliating facial cleanser washes away impurities and removes blemish-causing bacteria with every use. Working to replenish the skin, Lactic Milk Extracts penetrate to stimulate cell turnover and add a hit of hydration. Wasabi Root and Canadian Willowherb blend to protect the skin from daily aggressors with a caring coat of armour.

Hot Tip: Double cleanse with this cleanser to give the skin a deeper clean.

The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid formula has quickly become a bit of a cult classic. This one is supported by purified Tasmanian Pepperberry, which is known to reduce the inflammation caused by AHAs. When combined with Lactic Acid, this serum offers gentle exfoliation. And because the formula is so caring, it’s perfect for sensitive skin too. Still, The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA shouldn’t be used on inflamed, broken, or very sore skin.

The Tasmanian Pepperberry added to this formula is a seasonal ingredient, so the colour of the product may vary each time you purchase. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% should be introduced slowly into your routine so your skin can get used to it. Cruelty-free, vegan, sulphate-free, and artificial fragrance-free, this lactic acid serum contains exactly what you expect it to—there are no hidden nasties. Use as often as you feel is necessary, but take care when applying with a Vitamin C formula.

If you’re looking for a formula to boost your skin post cleansing, sumptuous Aesop B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel could take your skin to the next level. With the signature Aesop aromatic approach, the gel has been designed to mattify the skin and give it a clear appearance. With Vitamin B and Vitamin C, this formula works beautifully with Lactic Acid included. If you struggle with blemishes and oily patches, this gel will help clear things up.

Perfect for use in humid or heavily polluted environments, Aesop B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel is a complex skincare system that will support you through seasonal breakouts. The skin will stay matte and shine-free, so you feel more comfortable and confident. Apply this unique balancing formula to the skin every morning to enjoy clear skin all day.

Infused with Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid, Alpha-H Liquid Gold Resurfacing Cleansing Cream is a winning formula that quietly works hard to even out the look of your skin. Offering gentle exfoliation, the formula removes excess oil and daily impurities with every use. By promoting softer, smoother, healthier-looking skin, fine lines and wrinkles are diminished. The Shea Butter and Coconut Oil keep the skin supremely nourished, and your moisture levels are boosted with every wash. Great at reducing the appearance of your pores, this exfoliating cream cleanser improves the skin’s texture and tone over time.

Designed to help brighten up dull, tired skin, Alpha-H Liquid Gold Resurfacing Cleansing Cream primes the skin, making it easier for creams and serums to sink in. Lactic Acid and Citric Acid work together to give your skin a firmer feel and reduce any sun damage. Use this creamy face cleanser twice a day to resurface the skin’s texture. Gently massage it into the skin. Or for extra hydration, leave it on for a few minutes and let it act as a mini fast mask!

If you want your face cleanser to have a little … extra, PCA Skin Facial Wash could be your new favourite perk-up. Perfect for normal, sensitive, and combination skin types, this comfortable gel lathers up to a low foam and doesn't dry the skin out. Formulated with Lactic Acid, which has a large molecule size to help prevent irritation, this face wash nudges skin cell turnover in the gentlest fashion. Aloe Vera Leaf Juice and Allantoin keep the skin soothed and comforted, while Willow Bark Extract helps decongest the skin gently.

PCA Skin Facial Wash includes ingredients that both exfoliate and hydrate the skin. A must-have for people who struggle to thoroughly remove their makeup, this low-foam formula removes all traces of makeup. It also washes away impurities and any signs of pollution. After every use of this facial wash, skin will look more radiant and be perfectly prepped for the next step in your skincare routine.

Makeup can be tricky to remove. Even when you think you’ve taken it all off, often some lingers, leaving your skin clogged and a little dull. Cinch Face It 5 in 1 Cleanser + Glow has been formulated to remove every last trace of makeup. Designed to cleanse the skin and give it a radiant glow, this unique formula cleanses, exfoliates, removes makeup, tones, and moisturises the skin with every use. Like a ‘no rinse’ micellar water, this cleanser leaves skin fresh and illuminated.

Cinch Face It 5 in 1 Cleanser + Glow contains a unique blend of caring ingredients that work together to care for your skin. Lactic Acid and Glycolic Acid help brighten the skin and diminish the appearance of fine lines. Kakadu Plum keeps you nourished. Soak a single cotton pad with the formula and sweep it over the face and eyes. Follow up with your favourite moisturiser.


If you’ve been wondering, What does Lactic Acid do for the skin? Well, now you know! One of the gentler AHAs, LA gently exfoliates while keeping the skin hydrated. Give exfoliating products with Lactic Acid a try if you want to bring out a youthful glow.

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

Now, let's recap! What are the Best Lactic Acid Products for Your Skin?

  1. Aspect Exfol L 15

  2. Cosmedix Define Resurfacing Treatment

  3. Aspect Purastat 5 Cleanser

  4. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%

  5. Aesop B Triple C Facial Balancing Gel

  6. Alpha-H Liquid Gold Resurfacing Cleansing Cream

  7. PCA Skin Facial Wash

  8. Cinch Face It 5 in 1 Cleanser + Glow

Brand and product inclusions are at the sole discretion of Adore Beauty’s highly trained Customer Service team. We do not seek or accept payment from brands or individuals listed in our guides.

Lactic Acid

    Join Now >
    Filled with the usual things we know you'll love, and surprises you might not expect, it's real rewards, really simple.