The Ordinary Lactic Acids Review

The Ordinary Lactic Acids
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I won’t dare to drink milk but I’ll put spoiled milk on my face. You read that correctly. It sounds ridiculous but the AHA lactic acid actually comes from sour milk! Lactic acid is a larger molecule making it a gentle AHA that works very well for sensitive skin. It’s benefits run as far as killing acne causing bacteria and diminishing wrinkles. So, have I convinced you to put sour milk on your face yet?

The Ordinary Lactic Acids

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary’s 10% Lactic Acid + HA serum is a high strength lactic acid, but a pretty mild exfoliator. How so? 10% Lactic acid is not the same as 10% Glycolic acid. It’s a much larger molecule, similar to Mandelic Acid meaning it cannot penetrate the skin as deep. This makes it gentler and much more tolerable for sensitive skin.

But, don’t let the idea of a more gentle formulation turn you off. Lactic acid does so much good for the skin and it works for all skin types. First, it targets acne and irritation causing bacteria. This is an especially good thing for those with oily and sensitive skin types. For those with oily prone skin, alternating Lactic acid and Salicylic acid is a great way to keep breakouts under control.

Next, Lactic acid helps to diminish fine lines as it target’s the skin’s surface. It chemically exfoliates the skin and increases cell turnover which leads to a more radiant complexion. It even helps to fade hyperpigmentation and target textured skin. Regardless of your skin type, these are pretty common skincare concerns that many look to improve.

Lastly, Lactic Acid can hydrate the skin, reduce pore size and improve your overall complexion. Lactic acid’s larger molecule size is a good thing, it’s gentle and effective! It proves to be an advantage because this means most people can consistently use it without worry of irritation. It definitely makes the case for less is more.

The serum’s peachy-red hue is from Tasmanian Pepperberry which helps to reduce irritation or inflammation caused by acids. This is also present in The Ordinary’s Glycolic Acid Toner. The color can vary from batch to batch but remains as a peachy, pale red hue.

I love using this serum. Lactic acid works so well for my skin and I don’t experience the irritation or tingling that I often get when using a glycolic acid. As someone with skin that is prone to sensitivities and inflammation, I love that this product helps to keep that at bay. Even though it’s a gentler formulation, I didn’t feel like it was lacking.

Pros:

  • Very affordable Lactic acid serum. Finding serums with exclusively lactic acid is tough.
  • 10% Lactic acid is still a gentle formulation due to its large molecule size.
  • ALL skin types can benefit from using Lactic Acid. It’s low in irritation which means virtually everyone can use it.
  • Lactic acid targets acne-causing bacteria. Works to diminish wrinkles and increase cell turnover. It also helps to target texture and chemically exfoliates the skin.
  • The inclusion of Tasmanian Pepperberry helps to eliminate irritation or inflammation that is a common side effect with acid use.
  • This serum gets very favorable reviews. People go as far to call it their holy grail.
  • Vegan and cruelty-free formula. Oil and alcohol-free.
  • Parabens, sulfates, and phthalate-free.
  • Lactic acid helps to moisturize the skin. This product should not dry out your skin like other acids can.
  • This serum does not have a detectable smell. (This may vary from batch to batch.)

Cons:

  • Lactic acid can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. So it is a must that you include SPF in your AM routine when using lactic acid or any other acid. Ideally, you should be wearing SPF every day!
  • Using Lactic acid too often or too much of it can lead to inflammation. While gentle, you don’t need to chemically exfoliate daily. As for how much, use no larger than a pea-size amount.
  • Some reviews said the lactic acid dried out their skin. Make sure you’re not pairing it with other direct acids or retinoids.
  • The packaging is very simple and no-frills.

How to use

The Lactic Acid serums are used ideally in the PM, advised by The Ordinary. They are water based serums, used before oils and creams. They conflict with Direct Acids, Peptides, Retinoids, Vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), 100% Niacinamide Powder or EUK 134 0.1%.

As acids make your skin more sensitive to the sun, it’s a must that you wear SPF 50+ in the AM. Daily!

Where to buy it

The Ordinary’s 10% Lactic Acid Serum is available at:

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA

The 5% Lactic Acid serum isn’t too different from the 10% formula. Think of all the benefits from the 10% formulation at a less intense and more mild scale. The Lactic Acid 5% formula offers very mild exfoliation but that’s not a bad thing.

Those benefits include:

  • Reduces acne and bacteria-causing bacteria.
  • Helps to target fine lines.
  • Moisturizes the skin.
  • Chemically exfoliates.
  • Helps to improve the skin tone and reduces pore size.
  • Treats hyperpigmentation and texture.

The 5% formulation also includes the Tasmanian Pepperberry to help ease inflammation and irritation associated with acid use. This serum is great for those who have sensitive, dehydrated skin and for those who have experienced irritation with acids in the past. It’s also a great option if you want to start incorporating acids into your skincare routine.

While gentle, it is still recommended not to mix the 5% Lactic Acid serum with other direct acids, retinoids or Vitamin C in the same routine. It’s best to use those on alternating nights to avoid irritation. You can pair the Lactic Acid serums with Niacinamide serum and that’s a really effective and low irritation combo.

The Ordinary recommends starting with the 5% Lactic Acid serum and working your way up to the 10% formulation. If you’re starting off with acids, start with the 5%. If you have used glycolic acid or other AHAs in the past and your skin has reacted well to them, you may want to start with the 10% formulation. You may not see the results you are used to with the 5% formulation.

Having used the 10% and the 5% formulations, I prefer the 10% simply because my skin can tolerate it. There’s not a huge difference in the two, just that the 5% is a little more mild. When my skin is extra sensitive or I’m experiencing pretty bad eczema, I’ll definitely reach for the 5% formulation.

Pros:

  • 5% Lactic Acid is very gentle and a fantastic option for sensitive skin. If you have never used acids before or you find your skin to be sensitive to them, this is a good place to start.
  • Lactic acid works to chemically exfoliate and target hyperpigmentation.
  • Targets wrinkles
  • Works to diminish texture and helps to expel acne and irritation-causing bacteria.
  • Helps to eliminate redness and inflammation.
  • The inclusion of Tasmanian Pepperberry helps to eliminate irritation or inflammation that is a common side effect with acid use.
  • Vegan and cruelty-free formula. Oil and alcohol-free.
  • Lactic acid works for ALL skin types. Virtually anyone can use this product.
  • Parabens, sulfates, and phthalate-free.
  • This is a good option for those who want a mild exfoliator. At 5% less is more and this product can totally help to improve your skin at a slower and realistic rate.
  • This serum does not have a smell. (This may vary from batch to batch.)

Cons:

  • The 5% may feel too mild if your skin is accustomed to acids.
  • Some reviews said the lactic acid dried out their skin. Even though the 5% is mild, don’t try to pair it with other acids, Vitamin C, or retinoids.
  • The color of the formulation can vary by batch.
  • Using lactic acid too often can make your skin inflamed. You don’t need to use this serum daily.
  • The packaging is very simple.

How to use

The Lactic Acid serums are used ideally in the PM, advised by The Ordinary. They are water based serums, used before oils and creams. They conflict with Direct Acids, Peptides, Retinoids, Vitamin C (LAA/ELAA), 100% Niacinamide Powder or EUK 134 0.1%.

As acids make your skin more sensitive to the sun, it’s a must that you wear SPF 50+ in the AM. Daily!

Where to buy it

The Ordinary’s 5% Lactic Acid Serums is available at:

Final Thoughts

Lactic acid is good for ALL skin types. Whether you have dry sensitive skin that can’t take intense exfoliation. Or you have acne prone skin and alternate a lactic acid with a salicylic acid to manage sebum production and acne. The way it targets acne and irritation causing bacteria really sets it apart from other acids.

If you’re looking for an AHA, Lactic acid is an amazing option. It’s gentle yet effective in all aspects and it has the best qualities of all acids without many cons. Both The Ordinary’s 5% and 10% serums are great options because they are simplified formulas at such an affordable price. Whether you go with the 5% or the 10% formulation, you cannot go wrong!