Affordable Lactic Acid Products From The Drugstore -All Under $25

Best Drugstore Lactic Acid Products

We independently select and review the products we recommend. We may earn a small commission on purchases made through our affiliate links below. Learn more about how we review products and our sources of information.

In the entire alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) family, lactic acid is like the geeky, mysterious brother of glycolic acid. But the more you learn about its nerdy ways, the more you’re drawn to it. Though its type is mainly people with sensitive skin, all skin types can benefit from it without having to deal with the drama usually associated with glycolic acid. And now with the help of drugstore lactic acid products, you can hit the skincare acid trifecta: gentle, effective, and affordable.

As a chemical exfoliant, lactic acid helps shed off the dead skin layer from the surface of the skin (1). By resurfacing the skin, lactic acid improves skin texture, eliminates dry, rough patches, reduces the appearance of fine lines, and helps fade hyperpigmentation as well (2).

It’s known for being the gentle AHA because it is not as penetrating as glycolic acid. Less penetration equals less irritation. That’s why lactic acid is widely praised amongst people with sensitive skin.

But lactic acid is unique in the way it works on the skin. It offers something its cool brother simply can’t. Lactic acid acts as a humectant and draws water into the skin (3). That way it keeps the skin hydrated, and plump, and helps it hold moisture.

But unfortunately, making skin prone to sunburn runs in the family. So whatever acid you’re using, make sure you wear SPF to protect your skin.

With this much to offer, lactic acid sounds like it should be expensive. Well, it can be. But thankfully, it has been made available for incredibly affordable prices.

From serums to cleansers, below are the best drugstore lactic acid products.

Best Serum: The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA

The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA - Best Drugstore Lactic Acid Products

Well, this one still reigns supreme for being the cheapest and the most effective lactic acid serum. Also available in 5%, the serum targets texture irregularities by regulating skin turnover. It refines the complexion and reduces the look of enlarged pores, fine lines, and dark spots.

And it does that without drying your skin all thanks to hyaluronic acid. Plus, the formula contains an anti-inflammatory, soothing agent, Tasmanian pepper berry, to mitigate irritation as well. It’s water-based and non-comedogenic. So it’s suitable for all skin types. It’s an effective and equally affordable lactic acid serum.

Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, hyaluronic acid
Size: 1 oz/ 30 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, alcohol-free, oil-free

Best Cleanser: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser

Neutrogena Hydro Boost Exfoliating Cleanser - Best Drugstore Lactic Acid Products

Exfoliating cleansers, as they need to be used frequently, might sound scary. But this one is gentle enough for daily use. The classic Hydro Boost gel cleanser is enriched with lactic acid as well as glycolic acid to wash away the dirt while giving you a dash of exfoliation.

It has hyaluronic acid to avoid leaving the skin dehydrated and tight. The formula is oil-free. So you can use it as a daily lactic acid cleanser to clear up acne and eliminate dullness.

Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid
Size: 5 oz
Good To Know: Non-comedogenic, contains fragrance

Best Cream: Pond’s Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream

Pond's Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream

We’re not used to anti-aging creams being this cheap. Spending so much money on anti-wrinkle creams, I usually instinctively try to refute all the claims a cheap anti-aging product makes. If The Ordinary has taught us one thing, it’s that the products aren’t expensive, marketing is.

This is a lactic acid moisturizer that targets signs of aging. It smooths out and softens the skin texture, and increases radiance. It boosts hydration with glycerin and collagen. And it locks moisture in with borage oil and eliminates dryness. Because of this component, it’s more suitable for dry skin types.

Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, collagen
Size: 7 oz
Good To Know: Contains fragrance

Best Peel Pads: Acure Resurfacing Inter-Gly-Lactic Peel Pads

Acure Resurfacing Inter-Gly-Lactic Peel Pads

Peel pads make the most fun exfoliating products. Because you get a satisfying feel of physical exfoliation as well, minus the irritation, of course. These drugstore vegan peel pads are made with a combination of glycolic and lactic acids.

They slough off the build-up of dead skin cells and reveal smoother, and brighter skin. The pads also contain anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory tea tree leaf oil to target acne. Plus, they boost hydration with hyaluronic acid and soothe with chamomile.

Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid
Size: 10 pads
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free

Best Moisturizer: Mario Badescu Buttermilk Moisturizer

Mario Badescu Buttermilk Moisturizer

Exfoliating moisturizers are especially great for dry, sensitive skin types as the emollient base softens the blow, so to speak, and mitigates irritation. This daily lactic acid moisturizer eliminates dry, flaky skin while increasing hydration.

Over time, it normalizes skin turnover and polishes the complexion while improving the look of lines and evening out the skin tone. The moisturizer also contains an anti-inflammatory blend made with allantoin and chamomile.

Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, allantoin, vitamin E
Size: 2 oz/ 59 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free, contains fragrance

Best Treatment: Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment

Good Molecules Overnight Exfoliating Treatment - Best Drugstore Lactic Acid Products

This is a multi-acid peel that combines AHAs with a beta-hydroxy acid. And it’s incredibly budget-friendly. This leave-on treatment is formulated with both glycolic and lactic acids to peel off flaky skin and brighten the complexion.

It also has salicylic acid to help unclog pores and reduce congestion and acne. The fragrance-free formula has a total acid concentration of 10%.

Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, salicylic acid, glycolic acid
Size: 1 oz/ 30 ml
Good To Know: Vegan, cruelty-free, fragrance-free

Best Mask: Pixi Peel & Polish

Pixi Peel & Polish - Best Drugstore Lactic Acid Products

This is a rinse-off lactic acid mask for those of you who are a fan of acids from a distance. You can use this one once a week to keep tabs on those dead skin cells.

The creamy lactic acid peel is also enriched with papaya enzymes. These enzymes are gentle exfoliants that work only on the top layer of the skin eating away dead skin cells without irritating the skin.

Key Ingredients: Lactic acid, papaya extract, sugar cane extract
Size: 2.7 oz/ 80 ml
Good To Know: Cruelty-free

This concludes our round-up of affordable lactic acid products you can find at the drugstore. If you’re new to acids, know that they can be irritating. So use your product once a week at first just to test the waters. And don’t forget SPF!

Read Next: The Best Lactic Acid Toners


  1. Tang, S.-C.; Yang, J.-H. Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin. Molecules 201823, 863.
  2. Smith W. P. (1996). Epidermal and dermal effects of topical lactic acid. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology35(3 Pt 1), 388–391.
  3. Algiert-Zielińska, B., Mucha, P., & Rotsztejn, H. (2019). Lactic and lactobionic acids as typically moisturizing compounds. International journal of dermatology58(3), 374–379.

About The Author

Scroll to Top