Lactic Acid Peel - Why You Should Use It

Afraid to try a lactic acid peel? Don’t be! Mild at-home peels offer INSTANT results by revive aging, dry, or dull skin. If you're over 40, your skin can really benefit from this.

You probably already heard that an at-home lactic acid peel is an inexpensive way to give your face a beautiful glow, with tighter, bouncy-looking skin and a reduction in the appearance of lines, wrinkles and pores. 

But, if the words “Acid Peel” conjures up images of a red, angry,  peeling face…Read on, because I have great news for you.

The excellent news is lactic acids, the kind you purchase without a prescription, are very gentle and surprisingly hydrating. 

We’ll show how to choose them, use them, and the type of results you can expect.

What is lactic acid

Lactic Acid Definition

Lactic acid is a type of alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) that's derived from soured milk or fermented grapes and is considered the least irritating of all the AHA's on the market. It improves the look of aging skin because the acid helps dissolve and remove dead, damaged skin cells from the upper layers of the skin.

Also, it's super hydrating because it helps draw moisture into the skin which makes it an excellent choice for aging, mature, dry, or sensitive skin. 

Choose your lactic acid peel

Lactic Acid Products

Basically, you’re looking for a product to deliver a superficial peel at-home. However, lactic acid products vary from 10% to 90% concentration. And, the higher percentage can burn your skin if left on too long!

If you're new to chemical peels, it's best to start off with a mild and easy to use lactic acid product. It does a fantastic job of smoothing your complexion and brightening your skin. Then after a few months, you can move up the stronger peels as your skin adjusts.

Mild Lactic Acid Peels

Start with a mild lactic acid toner that's fruit based.

If your skin is very sensitive, or you've never used a home chemical peel, look for a mild lactic acid with a 5-10 percent concentration. Anything higher might cause some irritation if you’ve never used a facial peel before.

I’ve been using a fruit acid exfoliant with a 10% concentration and 2.3 pH for years with no side effects and amazing results. It's so mild you don't have to rinse it off, and you can use it around the eyes and lips.

Lactic Acid Skin Peel 10% - Fruit Based

Strong Lactic Acid Peels

Stronger lactic acid products for quicker results.

Stronger lactic acid (range from 35% to 90% concentration) products offer significant rejuvenation without the downtime associated with professional skin peels. But, make sure to follow directions carefully.

However, if you don't follow directions exactly, you can risk a mild burn. Most of these peels are only left on the skin for 1-5 minutes and need to be neutralized with a mixture of water and baking soda.

Skin Beauty company makes stronger lactic acid products including 50%, 70% and 90%. It's always advisable to start with the 35% until your skin adjusts to the peels.

The company recommends you perform a series of peels (once a week) over a two-month period. Then stop for a month, then resume for two months. You can read more at the link below.

35%, 50%, 70% Lactic Acid Peels

Effects of lactic acid

Lactic acid treatments can modify the upper and lower layers of the skin's surface. Studies show they can change the firmness, thickness, texture, and smoothness of the skin and reduce the depth of fine lines and wrinkles.

Lactic acid also aids in increased cell turnover. This means it helps to "un-stick" or "un-glue" all those dead skin cells that just sit on top of your skin, making it look flaky, dry, and dull. 

Why is this important? Because dead skin cells can get stuck inside the tiny groves of lines (wrinkles) and pores - making them look broader and deeper than they are. Plus, exfoliating old skin cells helps encourage collagen renewal.


So how does skin benefit from a bi-weekly lactic acid peel? The benefits are many and the best part – you’ll see instant results.

Just after one treatment, most people notice a significant improvement in the tone, texture, and smoothness of the skin. You’ll notice a glowy, sort of bouncy skin appearance. And, the benefits increase with repeated application. I ALWAYS use my peel before a special event for that "extra glow". 

Also, because your skin is super smooth, your favorite moisturizing or anti-aging creams will be able to penetrate better – instead of just sitting on top of your skin.

The benefits of a mild lactic acid peel include:

  • smaller pores
  • cleaner skin
  • brighter skin tone
  • reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
  • improved absorption of skincare products
  • improved hydratation
  • bouncier skin texture

Side effects

For Mild Peels (5-10%) Concentration

For the mild (5-10%) concentration peels or fruit acid toners, the side effects are pretty gentle. Some people with sensitive skin might experience slightly tighter or drier skin for a few days. But this usually goes away with over time.

However, as with any peel or exfoliant, your skin could be a bit sensitive to the sun for a few weeks. So it’s best to wear sunscreen (which you should do daily anyway).

Strong Peels (35%-90%) Concentration

With the stronger skin chemical peel (ranging from 35%-90%) - in addition to slight dryness, you may experience mild burning around sensitive areas like lips and nose or if you leave the product on too long.

Again, test a small area and get a feel for how your skin reacts. 

If you begin to feel a burning sensation, rinse immediately, and try to extend the time the next time you apply the peel.

Combining lactic acid and over-the-counter retinol creams

Also, if you’re using retinol creams (over-the-counter), don’t use on the peel on the same day you use lactic acid. Or do a patch test in a small area first to see how your skin will react. Most over-the-counter retinol creams are relatively mild, but to be on the safe side, test it first.

I use a retinol booster every day, and after 3-4 months of adjusting to the retinol, I am now able to add the a twice a week lactic acid peel to my skincare regime with no problem.

If you are using a prescription retinoid cream, any skin medications, or are under a dermatologist’s care, check with your doctor first.

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