Lactic and polyglutamic acid are both humectant, a substance that pulls moisture from the air and into the skin. Lactic acid comes from milk that has been fermented, while the other main AHAs — glycolic, malic, tartaric, and citric acids — come from fruit. Each type of AHA has its own benefits and usage recommendations. How do you decide which one to use in your skin care routine? Let’s take a look at the science behind these two beneficial acids.
What is lactic acid?
Lactic acid is a naturally occurring AHA and organic acid found in milk and other dairy products, meat, and beer. It is primarily used in skin care products to remove dead and dull skin cells, fade hyperpigmentation, smooth the appearance of fine lines, and improve the skin’s texture and tone. Lactic acid is a hydroxyl acid. These hydroxyl groups are responsible for lactic acid’s exfoliant properties. When applied to the skin, lactic acid penetrates the upper layers and breaks down the “glue” that holds cells together, then breaks down and exfoliates the cells themselves. This process results in a more youthful-looking skin. Lactic acid is widely used in skin care products, especially those designed for dry, sensitive, or aging skin. It is less common in products designed for oily skin. Lactic acid is often combined with other AHAs, such as glycolic acid, to give added exfoliating power.
What is polyglutamic acid?
Polyglutamic acid, also known as poly-GA, is a naturally occurring amino acid derived from fermented wheat. It is primarily used in skin care products to reduce wrinkles and boost collagen production. Poly-GA is often found in combination with other anti-aging ingredients, including antioxidants and retinol. In the skin, poly-GA increases collagen production, reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, and improves skin texture. It is often used in anti-aging products because it can penetrate the skin more deeply than lactic acid, making it a good option for reducing wrinkles.
How do AHAs work?
AHAs are exfoliants that remove dead and dull skin cells to improve the appearance of the skin. They have humectant properties, like Polyglutamic Acid, it can hold moisture to the skin. They are more effective at treating skins with signs of sun damage, dryness, and fine lines and wrinkles. AHAs work by reducing the “glue” that holds skin cells together. This allows the skin cells to slough off more easily. When this happens regularly, your skin looks brighter and more even. AHAs are best for normal to dry skin, but can also be helpful for oily skin if used in the right way.
Benefits of lactic acid and polyglutamic acid
- Gentle exfoliation - Both Lactic and polyglutamic acid gently slough off the dead cells on the surface of your skin, revealing a brighter, healthier, younger-looking complexion. They’re also less irritating than many other types of chemical exfoliants, making them a great choice for sensitive or dry skin.
- Improved skin texture - Both Lactic and polyglutamic acid smooths and softens the texture of your skin. This is especially beneficial for the drier areas of your body, such as the knees and elbows.
- Reduced inflammation - Both Lactic and polyglutamic acid have anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm breakouts and prevent future breakouts from forming.
- Fades hyperpigmentation - Dark spots and uneven skin tone are often the result of sun damage. Both Lactic and polyglutamic acid can help fade these marks by sloughing off the cells that are holding them in place. This can be helpful for those who suffer from melasma or freckles.
- Boosts collagen production - Both Lactic and polyglutamic acid can also stimulate collagen production, which can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Side effects of Lactic Acid and Polyglutamic Acid
The most common side effects of both are mild redness and skin irritation, especially when beginning use of a product with a high concentration of lactic or polyglutamic acid. Using products with lower concentrations can help reduce this side effect. And it is important to do skin patch test first. Some people may also experience sun sensitivity when using Lactic acid. This is because it increases your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so it’s important to wear sunscreen when using products with AHAs. On the other hand, polyglutamic acid can be used daily since it does not make skin more sensitive to the sun.
Ratings of lactic acid and polyglutamic acid
- Lactic acid - Lactic acid is a great choice for people with sensitive or dry skin, as it is gentler than other types of AHAs. It is also suitable for all skin tones.
- Polyglutamic acid - Polyglutamic acid is a good choice for people on the lookout for anti-aging ingredients. It is suitable for all skin types. People with sun sensitivity or rosacea may use this product since it does not make skin more sensitive to the sun.
Lactic acid and polyglutamic acid are incredibly effective at fading dark spots and wrinkles, while also exfoliating the skin. They are suitable for most skin types. These acids are best used in combination with each other to help achieve your best skin yet.