Best AHA for Exfoliating: Gycolic Acid or Lactic Acid?

Exfoliation is an integral part of a good skincare routine as it can remove dead cells from the skin's surface, revealing a clearer, more even-toned complexion.

I've been getting questions about which is the best way to exfoliate. There are many methods for exfoliating your skin. Today, I am going to focus on Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs). They are a group of natural and synthetic ingredients that can exfoliate the uppermost layers of skin.  

I like AHAs because, according to Dr. Loren Pickhart, they have proven to increase the effects of copper peptides. They do this by loosening and exfoliating old and worn-out layers of skin so that newer layers rebuild more quickly and thoroughly. For Restoracell users, AHAs can improve the intake of copper peptides into the skin.

Two of the most common AHAs are Glycolic Acid and Lactic acid. They are the most researched and have the best track record of impressive results for all ages and skin types. But which of these is best? Some skin types can handle the stronger glycolic acid. However, it would be best if you were careful to let your skin build up a tolerance, or it could lead to a damaged moisture barrier and severe peeling.  For my face, I like lactic acid. It is best for more sensitive skin types, can be used with other types of exfoliations, and gets results while adding moisture.

Here are the details:

Glycolic acid is naturally occurring in sugarcane and pineapples. It is the strongest of the alpha hydroxy acids because it has the smallest molecule size. Because of this, it can penetrate deeper, but you have to be careful when using it. A high concentration of a powerful acid like glycolic acid without preparing your skin or building up tolerance can lead to damaged moisture barrier, severe skin peeling, redness, and irritation. Therefore, you should use glycolic acid carefully. To help your skin become accustomed to glycolic acid,  Science and Skincare recommends starting with a low concentration (like 3 percent) and build up tolerance slowly. Or, you can use a cleanser with glycolic acid that washes off. 

Lactic acid is produced naturally by the fermentation of sugars such as beets, cane, and corn. It offers the same benefits as the stronger glycolic acid, but it does not penetrate as deeply because it has a larger molecule size. People with sensitive skin will find lactic acid to be the gentler acid between the two. All alpha hydroxy acids exfoliate and improve skin texture, but lactic acid has an extra benefit you won't get from its AHA cousins. Lactic acid helps improve the skin's natural moisture factor or the way the skin keeps itself hydrated. Lactic acid helps to keep the skin moisturized and feeling less dry.

Beware that all AHA's make the skin more susceptible to sun damage. Therefore, you must wear sunscreen while using any AHA. And, be careful not to over-exfoliate and start using the products slowly if you are new to AHA's.

And another request, we keep getting is for a cleanser.  Sneak Preview:  I am excited to share with you that Restoracell will soon be offering an all-natural, organic Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser with Lactic Acid that can be used daily, even with sensitive skin. More information coming soon...