Find out more or book a one to one video consultation

It's time to feel the love for lactobionic acid

Make no mistake, this easygoing but effective acid will treat sensitive skin with the tender loving care it requires

Lactobionic acid sounds like the description for a supersonic non-lactose intolerant Marvel hero. In fact, it is a superhero ingredient for sensitive skin and part of the PHA or polyhydroxy acid family.

A next-generation cousin of AHA’s, or alpha hydroxy acids which can be a little too demanding on some skin types, lactobionic acid from the PHA family offshoot has similar efficacy but is a fantastic alternative for sensitive skin.  

“Lactobionic acid is known as a miracle multitasking antioxidant that can moisturise and exfoliate the skin at the same time to reveal plump, youthful results,” says Dr Rita Rakus of Dr Rita Rakus Clinic in London.  “But it also increases moisture levels to smooth out fine lines and wrinkles, and banish a dull-looking complexion for a beautiful even tone.”

By exfoliating and removing dead skin cells, not only is collagen production increased, lactobionic acid also enables active ingredients to be more easily absorbed without any damage to the skin's barrier function – it also binds humectants, or water, to the dermis to plump up the skin.

Which begs the questions, what is the difference between PHAs and AHAs? “The PHA lactobionic molecule is much larger, making it absorb less into the skin but sits on top and therefore is considered less irritating,” says Petrina Nugawela, Specialist Aesthetic Practitioner and Founder of MBA clinic.

However, that doesn’t mean it’s not as effective.  “If your skin is prone to irritation but you are looking for the same benefits that an AHA can give you, lactobionic acid could be the ingredient to look out for,” Nugawela continues.

It is even recommended for dry, itchy skin which we are often blighted by at this time of year, thanks to coming in from the cold to central heating. According to Emma Coleman, Dermatology and Aesthetic RGN, “Lactobionic acid is suitable for use with sensitive skin, rosacea, acne and even following cosmetic procedures.”  

Research also shows that under supervision it can help reduce the prospect of acne scarring on skin with this medical condition.

Lactobionic and lactic acid could be easily confused but they are two different beasts.  “Lactic acid is a derivative product of glucose by bacterias naturally present on the skin, which is what we call a postbiotic,” says Pharmacist Dr Marine Vincent, Founder of London’s French Pharmacy.

“Lactic acid’s natural role is to decrease the PH of the skin so the good bacterias can multiply instead of the bad ones, and lactobionic acid goes further than that with its antioxidant action.”

And a fun fact? “Lactobionic acid was first found in Japan in a fermented milk product known as Caspian Sea yoghurt,” says Nugawela. From Japan to an anti ageing essential and sensitive skin alternative to AHA’s with all the benefits. Who knew...

Find a local practitioner