Lactic Acid and Salicylic Acid: How do they differ

You probably agree, whether you’re a skincare enthusiast like us or dabble with new ingredients or products occasionally, that skincare is not one size fits all. You may also think the best way to determine if a particular product or component is right for you is to test it. It can be not very safe to try new things.

Acids benefit the skin, even though the word may be intimidating. Acids are used in skincare to treat acne, wrinkles, age spots, scars, and skin tone. Acids are an essential part of any skincare routine.

Our Kate Somerville Skin Health experts have compiled this guide to help you choose the best acids for your skincare regimen. This includes comparing two common acids, lactic Acid and Salicylic Acid, and their differences. Continue reading to learn more about the differences between lactic Acid and salicylic acids and how to revamp your skincare routine to look and feel better.

What is Lactic Acid

Lactic Acid, an AHA derived from milk, is alpha-hydroxy Acid. When lactic Acid in cosmetics is synthesized, it can be more easily formulated and stable. The water-binding properties and exfoliating qualities of lactic Acid can help to reduce mild skin texture problems like hyperpigmentation and dark spots. AHAs are generally safe for most skin types, but those with sensitive or irritable skin should gradually introduce lactic acids to prevent irritation.

What skin type is lactic Acid best for

Lactic Acid can be used on all skin types when applied in the correct concentration. Using lactic Acid in concentrations between 5-8% is generally recommended. Combining AHAs, such as lactic Acid, and hydrating ingredients, like hyaluronic acids, in a product such as our Wrinkle Warrior (r) Hydration gel can boost the product’s effectiveness while minimizing irritation. Lactic Acid is best for those with normal to dehydrated skin and acne-prone or sun-damaged skin. Many skincare products combine AHAs with BHAs (salicylic acids) to increase their effectiveness.

What is Salicylic Acid

Salicylic and lactic acids are both AHAs, but salicylic is not. Salicylic Acid, also known as beta-hydroxy acids (BHA), is used to exfoliate the skin and reduce acne-causing bacteria. Salicylic Acid is found naturally in wintergreen and willow bark. When used in skincare, the Acid is usually synthesized artificially in a laboratory. Salicylic Acid has mild skin-soothing properties that make it perfect for exfoliating and smoothing skin while shrinking visible pores to reduce the signs of aging. It can also be used to exfoliate the dead skin cells on your surface by applying it directly. Products like EradiKate Salicylic Acid Acne treatment are ideal for acne-prone skin. They combine retinol with 2% salicylic to prevent breakouts, reduce pores, and even skin texture within 24 hours.

Which skin type is Salicylic Acid best suited for

Salicylic Acid is also suitable for all skin types. It best suits those with combination, regular, or oily skin. Salicylic Acid is also beneficial for skin prone to breakouts, blackheads, and clogged pores. Look for products that are gentle on sensitive skin. They should have a strength between 1-2%. If you use a salicylic acid product, you can also apply sunscreen, such as Daily Protector(TM) or Mineral Face Sunscreen, and hydrating effects, like Wrinkle Warrior (r) Eye Gel, to reduce the signs of irritation.

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