How to Use the Ordinary Lactic Acid


The Ordinary lactic Acid Serums are two products from The Ordinary that offer quick visible results. (See my full review ).

Two different strengths of lactic acid serums are available from The Ordinary: one at a concentration of 5% and one at a concentration of 10%. Exfoliating acids can cause skin irritation so you may be curious about how to use lactic Acid Serums from The Ordinary.

Today, we will be talking about how to use The Ordinary’s lactic acid serums and how you can easily incorporate them into your skin care routine.

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What is Lactic Acid?

Lactic acid, which is naturally found in sour milk, but synthetically made for skincare products, is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA). It acts as a chemical exfoliant, sweeping away dead skin cells from the surface of the skin. This can improve skin texture, dark spots, uneven skin tones, and brighten dull skin. It helps improve the skin’s appearance and reduce wrinkles.

If you are looking for a chemical exfoliant that is effective but not too irritating, lactic acid is the best choice. Because lactic acid is a stronger alpha hydroxy acid than , it has a smaller molecule size. This means that lactic acid causes less irritation to the skin, as well as tingling and reddening than stronger AHAs like glycolic acid.

Lactic Acid: Excellent for All Skin Types

Because it is suitable for all skin types, lactic acid is a very popular exfoliant. It smoothens fine lines and wrinkles in mature/aging skin. Lactic acid can open blocked pores and help reduce the appearance of acne. It is a good choice for oily or acne-prone skin types.

moisturizing properties make lactic acid a great option for people with dry skin. It can be gentle enough to use on sensitive skin depending on its concentration.

Concentrations of Lactic Acid

Different concentrations of lactic acid are possible to make it effective. Participants were asked to apply either 5%, or 12% lactic acids twice daily for three months. Both concentrations increased epidermal thickness and firmness as well as skin smoothness, wrinkles, and lines. However, the 12% concentration of lactic acid improved dermal firmness.

The epidermis lies beneath the dermis. Therefore, the higher concentration of 12% lactic acids penetrated the skin more effectively than the lower concentration of 5%.

How to Use the Ordinary Lactic Acid in Your Skincare Regime

These lactic acid serums should not be used on sensitive, peeling, or compromised skin. These serums should not be used on sensitive skin that is easily irritated or damaged.

You can be sensitive to sunburns from alpha hydroxy acids. It is therefore important to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher when you are using lactic acid (and other alpha-hydroxy acids) as well as for one week afterwards.

You can dilute these lactic acid serums with other skincare products to lower their concentration so that your skin can take them undiluted. Mixing a small amount of the lactic acid serums with a few drops of The Ordinary Hyaluronic A 2% + B5 Serum is a quick way to dilute them.

How often to use Lactic Acid in your Skincare Routine

Choose a concentration of lactic acid: The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5 + HA or The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10 + HA. Start with The Ordinary Lactic Acid Serum once per week if you’re new to acids. As your skin develops tolerance, you can gradually increase the amount of The Ordinary lactic acid serum.

Although you can use the lactic acids serum every day, many people can see results if they only use it 2 to 3 times per week. If possible, use it at night.

The Ordinary recommends patch testing prior to using any of their lactic acid serums or new products. You can find more information about patch testing in their patch test guide.

How to Use Ordinary Lactic Acid Serums in Skincare Routine

These water-based lactic acids serums should be used after you have cleansed and toned your skin, but before any other moisturizers.

What Not To Mix With The Ordinary Lactic Acid Serums

Lactic acid can be sensitizing so you shouldn’t use it in conjunction with other direct acids such as salicylic acid and azelaic, other AHAs such glycolic acid and mandelic acid, or actives like benzoylperoxide acne treatment.

Avoid using lactic acid that contains strong actives such as pure vitamin (ascorbic acids). Ascorbic acid is best when the pH is below 3.5. The pH range of the Ordinary Lactic Acid Serums is 3.6 to 3.8.

Although the pH of lactic acid should not be too high to affect the effectiveness, it is possible for you to experience irritation, redness, stinging, peeling or irritation if you combine ascorbic and lactic acids at once. It is best to use ascorbic and lactic acids in different times of the day.

Retinol, retinoids and vitamin A increase cell turnover and eliminate dead skin cells. You should not use lactic acid and retinol simultaneously as they can both sweep away dead skin cells. This could cause irritation and redness. The pH of retinol and acidic lactic acids is higher, so they may not work together as well.

These lactic acids serums may conflict with peptides such as The Ordinary’s “Buffet”,, or The Ordinary’s “Buffet”, with Copper Peptides. The low pH of lactic Acid could compromise the effectiveness of peptide products. The Ordinary also noted that their lactic acids serums were not compatible with their EUK134 0.1% antioxidant serum.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid + 5% = HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid + HA, an alpha-hydroxy acid serum and mild supradermal peeling formula, exfoliates skin. This is the milder version of The Ordinary’s lactic acid serums. It contains and 5% lactic acids. To help with irritation caused by chemical exfoliation, the serum includes a pure Tasmanian pepperberry derivative.

The lactic acid serum also includes sodium-hyaluronate-crosspolymer which is a cross-linked form of hyaluronic acids with better moisture retention than traditional hyaluronic acids. It forms a thin film on the skin that retains moisture for a longer time than regular hyaluronic acids. For additional moisture, Glycerin is added.

The pH of both The Ordinary lactic acids serums is between 3.60 and 3.80. Because lactic acid has an pKa value of 3.8, this is crucial. PKa denotes acid availability. If pH and pKa are equal, the formula will be in equilibrium and produce maximum effectiveness.

This low-level 5% concentration of lactic acid is an excellent choice for people who are new to acids or for people with sensitive skin. This gentle exfoliator gently exfoliates the skin while moisturizing and hydrating it with glycerin.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + H

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%+ HA has a 10% level of lactic acid for exfoliating the skin. It also contains a purified Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative that helps to calm irritation and sensitivity.

To plump and hydrate the skin, this serum also contains moisturizing vegetable oil and sodium hydrouronate crosspolymer.

This mild exfoliating agent helps brighten and even skin tone. It also improves skin clarity. If you have sensitive skin or continue to feel irritation and reddening from this 10% formula, you might consider The Normal Lactic Acid 5% + H, or The Regular Mandelic Acid 10% + H . These AHA formulas provide gentle exfoliation.

Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Lactic Acid, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Propanediol, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Tasmannia Lanceolata Fruit/Leaf Extract, Acacia Senegal Gum, Xanthan Gum, Isoceteth-20, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethylhexylglycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol.

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + H vs. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10 + HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid, 5% + HA, and The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10,0% + HA are both effective exfoliating alpha-hydroxy acid treatments. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5 % + HA is an excellent choice for beginners or those with sensitive skin. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10%+ HA gives me more immediate results. However, you can choose between 5% and 10% depending on your skin type and concerns.

They are very similar in appearance. The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HAA (on the right), is slightly darker than The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5 + HAA.


Is it possible to use the Ordinary Lactic Acid and Niacinamide together?

The Ordinary Lactic Acid serums are compatible with water-based Niacinamide and other serums such as The Ordinary Niacinamide 10%+ Zinc 1%. Niacinamide is a great option to use in combination with lactic acid.

Do you wash off the ordinary lactic acid?

The Ordinary Lactic Acid Serums should be used as a leave-on product and should not need to be washed off.

What should you do after the Ordinary Lactic Acid is finished?

Use a product that is based on The Ordinary Lactic Acid to complement its formula. For example, skin-barrier protection The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% or hydrating The Ordinary Hydraluronic Acid 22% + B5.

How Often Should You Use Ordinary Lactic Acid?

You should not use the Ordinary Lactic Acid Serums more than once per day. For most people, it is best to use the Ordinary lactic acid serums only a few times per week.

Is it possible to combine the Ordinary Lactic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid?

You can use The Ordinary Lactic Acid Serums with The Ordinary H2O + B5. The hyaluronic acids will replenish skin moisture and support healthy skin barriers.

Is it possible to use the Ordinary Lactic Acid and Retinol together?

Redness and irritation can result from using retinol with lactic acid. The pH differences between alpha hydroxy acids such as retinol and lactic acid can also affect product effectiveness. You might consider using The Ordinary’s lactic acid serums or The Ordinary’s retinol/retinoids at different times and days of the day.

Similar Post: An Ordinary Anti-Aging Skincare Review

Last Thoughts on The Ordinary Lactic Acid Serums

These The Ordinary lactic acids serums provide visible results and are reasonably priced. However, The Ordinary recommends indirect (non acid) facial exfoliation to avoid potential inflammation and sensitization from acid use.

You may be interested in indirect exfoliation methods, so please visit The Ordinary’s sister brand .

However, I believe that these mild peeling formulas from The Ordinary are worth the price if you’re looking for something less than $10 per piece.

Thank you for reading!


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