What Is Lactobionic Acid?

What Is Lactobionic Acid?

The idea of putting acid on your face sounds pretty extreme but there are a wide-variety of acids that have excellent benefits for your skin. From hydrating acids like hyaluronic acid to exfoliating acids like glycolic acid and salicylic acid, and even those that do both, like lactic acid. So what is lactobionic acid and what can it do for your skin?

What Is Lactobionic Acid?

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What Is Lactobionic Acid?

Lactobionic acid is a natural sugar acid found in milk and dairy products. It’s often confused with lactic acid as both are derived from lactose. However, while lactic acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), lactobionic acid is from a new group of acids known as poly-hydroxy acids (PHAs).

PHAs like lactobionic acid work in a similar way to AHAs and break down the bonds between your skin cells which facilitates your skin’s natural exfoliation process and reveals newer, smoother, and more youthful skin.

However, it’s much gentler than AHAs which makes it a better option for exfoliating sensitive skin.


Lactobionic Acid Benefits

Like other chemical exfoliants, lactobionic acid has a wide-variety of benefits for your skin, including:

  • Exfoliation: As a PHA with large molecules, it acts as a mild exfoliant. It boosts the removal of the outer layer of the skin, helping to get rid of dead skin, leaving you with smooth skin.
  • Sun Protection: It has antioxidant properties and offers your skin some protection from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Skin Thickening: It can improve the thickness of your skin which helps to increase firmness.
  • Anti-Aging: It boosts the production of collagen, which helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and improves elasticity.
  • Skin Brightening: It helps to fade dark spots and marks, including under-eye darkness, and can help with hyperpigmentation by increasing cellular turnover.
  • Hydrating: Lactobionic acid is a humectant  which means that it can draw moisture from the deeper layers of your skin (and from the atmosphere in humid environments) into the outer layers of your skin to keep it supple and hydrated, without making your skin feel greasy.
  • Treating inflammatory skin conditions: It reduces skin pH without irritation which helps inflammatory skin conditions like acne and rosacea.


How To Use Lactobionic Acid

You should also avoid using lactobionic acid alongside products containing glycolic acid or other chemical exfoliants. However, it’s usually ok to use multiple chemical exfoliants if they’re in one multi-ingredient product as these are usually tested for irritation potential.

Chemical exfoliants should only be used a maximum of 1-3x per week to avoid over-exfoliation, skin barrier damage, and inflammation.

When using any type of chemical exfoliant, it’s important to apply it to dry skin to reduce the risk of irritation. For example:


  • Cleanse
  • Thoroughly dry skin
  • Apply Lactobionic acid toner or serum
  • Follow with moisturizer
  • Apply sunscreen (AM only)


To reduce irritation, you can also use lactobionic acid after your moisturizer which will act as a buffer to slow the rate that the acid penetrates your skin.


The Best Products Containing Lactobionic Acid

  1. Neostrata Restore Bionic Face Serum
  2. Elemis Pro-Collagen Tri-Acid Peel
  3. Naturium PHA Topical Acid



Summary – What Is Lactobionic Acid?

Lactobionic acid is a polyhydroxy acid derived from lactose, a sugar acid found in milk and other dairy products. It’s much gentler than alpha-hydroxy acids like glycolic acid and is suitable for sensitive skin.


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