One of my wishes to try for 2019 were some good exfoliants. I had always used physical exfoliants before and they worked well enough, but I had also heard they aren’t the best for your skin or the environment. So I decided to try a chemical exfoliator instead. With my skin being quite sensitive, I was reluctant at first, but then read up on acids and their uses and found that a lactic acid is the gentlest kind and great to get started. These are my experiences so far.
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + HA // Review & Swatch on Sensitive Skin
The Ordinary lactic acid comes in two different strengths and I bought the weakest one of the two. Both claim to be acid that works as a superficial peeling solution. The 5% is recommend if you have sensitive skin or if you have never tried an acid peel before. It is super affordable at just €6.50 so at that price point it is definitely worth a shot. I have used it for a few months now and have definitely made up my mind about how I feel about this product.
The thing I appreciate about The Ordinary isn’t just the price point though. It is also their packaging. Each product comes in its dedicated box with all the information you need. The product comes with a dropper, in a little glass bottle that not only keeps this product safe from air and germs, but also makes it super easy to use. All you need is one dropper full at the time.
When using acids you need to be careful with sunlight and always wear an SPF. It is therefore best used in the winter months when there is less sunlight. If your skin is not too sensitive then you should be able to use this every day, but I first did once a week, then twice a week. It should help with texture issues and that is mainly what I am using it for: I have quite a few milia or closed comedones on my cheeks and they won’t budge without an exfoliant.
In this product, the main ingredient is water, but the second is lactic acid. According to The Ordinary, Lactic Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid that exfoliates the skin. What else The Ordinary says about this product:
This 5% formulation offers very mild exfoliation and is supported with a purified Tasmanian pepperberry known to reduce signs of inflammation and sensitivity that is often associated with exfoliation. This pH of this formula is approximately 3.8. Lactic Acid has a pKa of 3.8 and pKa is the most important aspect to consider in formulating with acids. pKa implies acid availability. When pKa is close to pH, there is an ideal balance between salt and acidity, maximizing effectiveness of the acid and reducing irritation. Higher pH numbers in such a case would increase salt which counter-intuitively would make the formula even more irritating than if the formula was more acidic.
In short, whenever using an acid, you have to watch out when you use it and just keep a close eye on your skin. The first few times I used this my skin was a bit inflamed and turned quite red, but after a few tries it calmed down quickly and I was able to use it twice a week.
The formula of this is clear and quite thin and watery. Because of this thin formula you barely feel it sitting on your skin. Currently I am using this once a week. I use a full dropper and apply my skincare as normal afterwards. I stopped using it over the summer time and I definitely notice a difference now that I haven’t used it for a few months, compared to before when I was using it regularly. I know that once I get this worked into my routine again, my skin with start feeling smoother and have less texture than before. Once I use this up, I know I will want to try something stronger to get even better results.
My Final Thoughts
If you are a first time user of exfoliating acids, then The Ordinary’s Lactic Acid will definitely deliver even if you have sensitive skin. You need to let your skin get used to it, but when it does, you will find this works a charm against texture and you can start using it more. If you are more experienced with acids, this may be a bit too mild for you and you may prefer to look elsewhere.