• Derived from: molasses
  • Pronunciation: (\ˈlak-tik\ˈa-səd\)
  • Type: Naturally-derived

What Is Lactic acid?

Lactic acid is a naturally occurring acid also known as an alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA).[1] It occurs in blood, organs, and muscle tissue of humans and animals; its concentration increases after vigorous activity.[2] The ingredient helps metabolize sugar and is primarily derived from milk, though it can also be produced synthetically.[3,4] It is a colorless, odorless syrupy liquid that dissolves in water.[5]

What Does Lactic acid Do in Our products?

Lactic acid is often used as a humectant and pH adjuster, though it is often used to make cultured dairy products and preserve food as well.[6,7] Lactic acid is also found in dozens of personal care products, such as facial moisturizers, eye cream, firming lotion, soap, baby shampoo, body wash, sunscreen, makeup and other products.[8] We use it as a skin conditioner.

Why Puracy Uses Lactic acid

We use lactic acid in several of our products as a moisturizer. The FDA has deemed the ingredient Generally Recognized as Safe, and Whole Foods has deemed the ingredient acceptable in its premium body care quality standards as pH control agent in small percentages.[10,11] The Cosmetics Ingredient Review has also deemed the ingredient safe for use in cosmetic products at concentrations below 10% and with pH of at least 3.5 for leave-on products (less than 30% concentration and pH at least 3.0 for rinse-off products).[12] Research shows that the ingredient is not a skin irritant or sensitizer at concentrations below 10% and with pH below 3.5 for leave-on products (less than 30% concentration and pH at least 3.0 for rinse-off products).[13,14,15,16,17,18,19]

How Lactic acid Is Made

Commercially, lactic acid is produced either through fermentation or synthetically. The fermentation process typically involves mixing carbohydrates such as corn syrup, molasses, beet juice, rice, wheat or potato starch with nutrients (such as peptides, amino acids, vitamins, or salts) and a microorganism. During fermentation, manufacturers control the pH of the mixture. The lactic acid broth is then purified to isolate the ingredient. Some manufacturers also make lactic acid by creating lactonitrile from acetaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide; they then hydrolyze it to lactic acid.[9]



[1] Cosmeticsinfo.org
[2] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[3] Cosmeticsinfo.org
[4] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[5] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
[6] Cosmeticsinfo.org
[7] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[8] Environmental Working Group
[9] U.S. National Library of Medicine
[10] Whole Foods Market
[11] Food and Drug Administration
[12] Personal Care Council
[13] Personal Care Council
[14] Alderson, S. G., Barratt, M. D., and Black, J. G. 1984. “Effect of 2-hydroxyacids on guinea-pig footpad stratum corneum: mechanical properties and binding studies.” International Journal of Cosmetic Science 6:91-100
[15] Elder, R. L., ed. 1982. “Final report on the safety assessment of Cetyl Lactate and Myristyl Lactate.” American College of Toxicology 1:97-107
[16] Avon Products, Inc. 199513. “Summary of safety data on several cosmetic formulations containing 85% aqueous Lactic Acid, including acute oral, Draize eye, single skin, subchronic dermal, phototoxicity tests, and determination of ocular irritation potential in vitro using the Eytex and CAMVA assays.” Unpublished data submitted by CTFA (95- AHA-32). 54 pp
[17] Environmental Safety Laboratory-Unilever Research (ESLUR). 1994a. “Draft of Lactic Acid: safety assessment for use in skin care products.” Document ref.: D94/003. Unpublished data submitted by CTFA (AHA- 0051). 13 pp
[18] Avon Products, Inc. 1987. “Standard operating procedures for the conduct of a nonclinical laboratory study, Avon primary skin irritation-single occlusive patch.” Unpublished data submitted by CTFA (95~AHA-55). 4 PP
[19] CTFA. 199413. “A histological examination of skin effects resulting from chronic usage of Glycolic Acid.” Memorandum dated October 24. Unpublished data submitted by CTFA (95~AHA-63). 134 pp

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