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Even though it’s usually overshadowed by other alpha-hydroxy acids, lactic acid has unique benefits, making it the better choice for people with dry, sensitive skin. Lactic acid is an exfoliant that smooths out the skin texture, reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, brightens the skin, and hydrates it.
Among the numerous ways you can incorporate lactic acid into your daily routine, toners stand out. Because toners are made for daily use. So they are usually formulated with a lower concentration of the active ingredient. This makes it easy to regularly exfoliate the skin without hitting setbacks in the form of redness and irritation.
So if you’re looking for a gentle way to exfoliate your skin while increasing hydration, find below the best lactic acid toners to get started.
Best Lactic Acid Toners
1. Youth To The People Kombucha + 10% AHA Power Exfoliant
This toner utilizes 7% lactic acid to gently remove the dead skin cells from the surface of the skin and reveal a smoother, brighter layer. With the addition of 3% glycolic acid, the formula is a skin-brightening hero. Its blend of amino acids and humectants boosts hydration while exfoliants work to refine the skin texture.
Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, glycolic acid, fermented black tea
Size: 4 oz/118 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free
2. Pestle & Mortar NMF Lactic Acid Toner
This is a super gentle lactic acid toner that’s formulated with impressive hydrators. It contains gluconolactone, which is a polyhydroxy acid that works just like lactic acid to exfoliate and hydrate. The toner also contains anti-inflammatory burdock root extract and antioxidant-rich black tea extract to help with fine lines and sun damage as well. It’s free of alcohol and fragrance, making it a gentle lactic acid toner suitable for sensitive skin too.
Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, gluconolactone, niacinamide
Size: 6.7 oz/200 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, alcohol-free
3. PCA Skin Smoothing Toner
Even though lactic acid wouldn’t be your first choice when you have oily skin, it may very well be if you’re also dealing with sensitivity and dehydration. The toner exfoliates, unclogs pores, and reduces the appearance of blemishes. But it does that with a potent formula made with hydrating and anti-inflammatory goodies. Aloe and cucumber soothe while calendula and burdock root extracts calm inflammation, which might lead to breakouts. The addition of amino acids helps prevent dehydration, which might aggravate oiliness.
Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, calendula extract, aloe
Size: 7 oz/206.5 ml
Good To Know: Alcohol-free
4. Ren Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Toner
This one utilizes lactic acid as well as willow bark extract, which is a natural source of salicylic acid that reduces acne. It also contains azelaic acid, which is an amazing multi-tasker that reduces hyperpigmentation, redness, and acne as well. The alcohol-free toner helps with congestion, discolorations, and dullness by retexturizing the skin.
Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, salicylic acid, azelaic acid
Size: 8.5 oz/250 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, contains fragrance
5. HydroPeptide Clarifying Toner Balance Control Pads
Similarly, these toner pads are also made with azelaic acid. Using exfoliants together with azelaic can help you better target uneven skin tone, acne, and stubborn acne scars. As these are peel pads pre-soaked in toner, you know exactly how long the product will last. The pads are made with 5% lactic and 1% azelaic acid. But they also contain witch hazel, niacinamide, and other anti-inflammatories like tea tree oil, which are all bathroom cabinet staples for people with oily skin.
Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, azelaic acid, niacinamide, aloe
Size: 60 pads
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free
6. Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment
This one pairs lactic acid with salicylic acid to reduce congestion, clear up clogged pores, and manage acne without causing sensitivity. The alcohol-free toner also contains a lesser-known alpha-hydroxy acid, namely malic acid as well as gluconolactone. So overall, if you have combination skin or oily skin that is prone to dehydration and sensitivity, this lactic acid toner will work great.
Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, salicylic acid, malic acid, niacinamide
Size: 5 oz/150 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, alcohol-free
So these are the best lactic acid toners you can use to gently exfoliate your skin without drying or irritating it. Even though lactic acid is gentle, remember to slowly incorporate it into your routine if you have sensitive skin.
Use your lactic acid toner a few times a week at first to check out how your skin reacts to it. Even though concentrations on these toners are very unlikely to irritate, you can never know.
Instead of going fast and going harsh, go slow and steady. Because the results are best when you use them regularly and consistently.
Also, as exfoliants remove the top layer of your skin, they make the skin prone to sunburn. Always wear sunscreen during the day!
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