11 Best Lactic Acid Serums For Even-Toned, Bright, & Clear Skin

Boost collagen and elasticity with the right skincare essentials to get glass-like skin.

By Kirtana DivakarKirtana Divakar  • 
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What if someone tells you that you can apply spoiled milk to your skin to eliminate blemishes and fine lines? Would you believe them? Maybe not. But, if you want smooth, firm, and soft skin, you should use the best lactic acid serums. The beauty secret of milk dates back to Egyptian times when Cleopatra bathed in milk. Lactic acid, which is usually found in curd, milk, and wine, effectively helps enhance the texture of your skin by renewing dead skin cells, boosting collagen production, elasticity, and treating hyperpigmentation.

Nowadays, lactic acid is being used as a magical skin care ingredient that penetrates deep into your skin and helps you maintain flawless-looking skin. So, if you want to get rid of dead skin cells and get crystal clear glass skin, this article is for you. We have rounded up the 11 best lactic acid serums that will help improve your skin tone, texture, and overall skin health. So, keep scrolling to look at our top picks!

Top Picks
Best Vegan:Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment
Price on Amazon
Best Anti-Aging:QrxLabs Nature Enhanced Glycolic Acid/AHA Renewal Serum
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Best Hydrating Formula:Measurable Difference Lactic Acid Serum
Price on Amazon
Best Nourishing:[re]fresh Skin Therapy Lactic Acid Gel Facial Peel
Price on Amazon
Best Non-Greasy Formula:Elastalift Anti-Aging Face Serum
Price on Amazon
Best pH balanced Formula:Ren Clean Skincare AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum
Price on Amazon
Best Antioxidant-Rich Formula:Paula's Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment
Price on Amazon
Best Restoring Formula:Balshi Derma-Ceuticals MD Glycolic Resurfacing Serum
Price on Amazon
Best Non-toxic Formula:Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
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Best Non-Comedogenic:Divulge Beauty Daily Exfoliating Lactic Ac
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Enhance Your Glow With The 11 Best Lactic Acid Serums Of 2023

1. Best Vegan:Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

Sunday Riley Good Genes All-in-One Lactic Acid Treatment Image: Sunday Riley

If you feel your skin could do with some pampering without the harmful chemicals, give this lactic acid facial serum from Good Genes a try. Enriched with natural and nourishing ingredients like purified lactic acid, lemongrass, prickly pear, and aloe vera, it clears dead skin cells, unclogs pores of impurities, rids the skin of excess oil, and refreshes skin for an even-toned complexion. It also contains licorice and arnica flower extract to soothe and brighten the skin. Clinically proven for clear, brighter skin, it boosts radiance in less than 3 minutes.


  • Soy-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Cruelty-free and vegan
  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates


  • In rare circumstances, it may cause redness and irritation
Pro Tip
Do not apply lactic acid everyday because it can over exfoliate your skin and remove the skin’s protective barrier. Use your lactic acid serums 2-3 times a week.
Price at the time of publication: $85.0

2. Best Anti-Aging:QrxLabs Nature Enhanced Glycolic Acid/AHA Renewal Serum

Here’s a glycolic and lactic acid serum with a lightweight texture and a natural fragrance that effectively combats skin aging. Sourced from sugar cane, bilberry, sugar maple, and citrus fruit extracts, it minimizes age lines, improves elasticity, exfoliates the skin, encourages healing, and reduces inflammation. The citric acid in this formula clears clogged pores, while the malic and tartaric acids enhance the skin’s natural glow for younger-looking, brighter skin. Bid your skincare woes farewell, once and for all!


  • Silicone-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Improves skin tone and texture
  • Free of artificial dyes and coloring agents


  • It may take longer than expected to show results.
Price at the time of publication: $15.95

3. Best Hydrating Formula:Measurable Difference Lactic Acid Serum

We’re all too familiar with the skin damage caused by the harsh rays of the sun, including pigmentation, dark spots, and sagging skin. Reverse the sun damage, achieve even skin tone, and embrace clear skin with this lactic acid hydrating serum. It is formulated with the goodness of hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid, which washes away dirt, grime, and pollution while evening out the skin tone. It also locks in moisture and hydrates the skin, leaving it plump and supple.


  • Hydrating formula
  • Natural ingredients
  • Free of harmful chemicals
  • Fights skin damage caused by the sun


  • May not be best suited for sensitive skin
Price at the time of publication: $9.99

4. Best Nourishing:[re]fresh Skin Therapy Lactic Acid Gel Facial Peel

Are heavy creams and serums weighing your skin down? Give your skin the breather it needs and nourish it with this gentle lactic acid serum that not only fights premature skin aging but also increases collagen production for brighter and more beautiful skin. The formula is suitable for the body, face, and lips. It peels away dry and rough skin, diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, fades age spots to reveal clearer, softer, and smoother skin.


  • Fragrance-free
  • Glutten-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Anti-aging fomula
  • Increases collagen production
  • Paraben-free
  • Alcohol-free


  • Might take time to show results
Price at the time of publication: $32.0

5. Best Non-Greasy Formula:Elastalift Anti-Aging Face Serum

A must-have in every vanity bag, this vitamin C and lactic acid serum has everything you need and more from a skincare product. Its non-greasy formula contains skin-loving acids like glycolic, lactic, ferulic acids, which work together to protect the skin against environmental damage while reducing visible signs of aging like wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots. Vitamin C, along with natural ingredients like soya bean extract and aloe vera, nourish the skin and target pigmentation for healthy and radiant skin. Trust us, this is vitamin C serum for all your skin concerns.


  • No PEGs
  • Vegan and cruelty-free
  • Non-greasy, fast-absorbing formula
  • Free of parabens, sulfates, and silicone
  • Does not contain alcohol, dyes, or talc


  • May contain added fragrances
Price at the time of publication: $9.99

6. Best pH balanced Formula:Ren Clean Skincare AHA Smart Renewal Body Serum

Show your body some love! Often neglected, the skin on our body is also subjected to skin damage. Left untreated, it may cause long-lasting, irreversible harm to your skin, leading to rough, dry, and dehydrated skin. Using a natural lactic acid serum like this one can go a long way in nourishing your skin, exfoliating dead skin cells, and hydrating it for skin that looks and feels soft and healthy. It is formulated with ingredients like shea butter, grapefruit peel oil, mandarin peel oil, and citric acid to fortify the skin’s moisture barrier and replenish it with lost moisture. Add this serum to your skincare routine for skin that won’t disappoint.


  • Cruelty-free
  • Natural ingredients
  • Suitable for dry skin
  • pH balanced formula
  • Free of harmful chemicals


  • Contains ingredients that may cause skin sensitivity, so it must always be paired with a suitable sunscreen.
Pro Tip
Avoid using lactic acid serums and vitamin C serums at the same time because these two acids can mix and disrupt the pH balance of your skin.
Price at the time of publication: $45.0

7. Best Antioxidant-Rich Formula:Paula’s Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment

Gone are the days stressing over unclear, texture skin. Made from 4 potent alpha hydroxy acids, this lactic acid serum for skin enhancement is the best thing you can give to yourself. Lactic acid exfoliates the skin, while malic and glycolic acids smooth wrinkles and fine lines and combat sun damage. This antioxidant-rich formula is filled with peptides and ceramides for an even-toned and textured skin that is bright and flawless. It also contains natural ingredients like licorice and green tea that calms irritates skin and promote skin healing. Continuous use of this serum will give you the poreless, smooth skin you’ve always wanted. Look at this video for a clear understanding of the Paula’s Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment.


  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight texture
  • Antioxidant-rich formula


  • Contains added preservatives
Lactic acid tends to increase sun sensitivity of the skin and is best used in your night skincare routine.
Price at the time of publication: $38.0

8. Best Restoring Formula:Balshi Derma-Ceuticals MD Glycolic Resurfacing Serum

Pamper your skin with nothing but the best! Crafted carefully with ceramides, retinol, glycolic and lactic acids, this transformative daily lactic acid serum helps skin detox and destress while preventing acne, blackheads, and whiteheads. Aloe vera and glycerine restore the skin with moisture and erase fault lines and wrinkles. Timeless beauty with smooth skin is now only one skincare product away!


  • Restores moisture
  • Prevents blemishes
  • Free of harmful chemicals
  • Exfoliates and detoxifies skin


  • The scent may be overpowering for some
Price at the time of publication: $9.99

9. Best Non-toxic Formula:Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum

Let this vegan lactic acid serum work its magic at night while you blissfully enjoy your beauty sleep. With a high concentration of lactic acid and other natural ingredients like squalane and lavender, this potent concoction supports skin cell turnover. It also minimizes the effects of pollution, dirt, and other environmental stressors. The lavender extracts promote tranquility to ensure that you sleep well while this effective serum exfoliates the skin, removes dead skin cells, and offers a luminous glow. Go through this video for a detailed review of the Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum.


  • Vegan
  • Non-toxic formula
  • Weightless texture
  • Eco-friendly packaging
  • Free from synthetic fragrances, parabens, phthalates, and mineral oils


  • May initially cause a tingling sensation
Price at the time of publication: $49.5

10. Best Non-Comedogenic:Divulge Beauty Daily Exfoliating Lactic Acid Serum

An effective lactic acid face serum may be hard to find, but lucky for you, we’ve done all the hard work! We bring you this exfoliating product for an even-toned, radiant complexion. It contains glycerine, lactic acid, and citric acid to diminish scars, hyperpigmentation, and sun damage. Clearing the pores of dirt, excess oil, and grime, it fights acne, removes dead skin cells, and reduces blemishes to reveal spotless, brighter, and smoother skin. If this lactic acid serum for acne isn’t a product worth grabbing, we don’t know what is!


  • Oil-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic


  • Some may find the texture to be a bit watered-down.
Price at the time of publication: $16.95

11. Best For All Skin Types:Medix 5.5 Firm And Brighten Serum

Indeed a bottle of liquid gold, this soothing and nourishing lactic acid serum for sensitive skin contains glycolic acid, ferulic acid, and lactic acid to exfoliate skin and brighten its complexion. It shields the skin from environmental damage and reduces expression lines, dark spots, skin discoloration and more, for even-toned, clear skin. It also contains vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that rids rough and dull skin.


  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • No drying alcohols
  • Suitable for all skin types


  • Some may find the scent unpleasant
Price at the time of publication: $25.99

Adding acids in your skin care routine sounds quite intimidating. But, beginning with a lesser concentration and building up eventually is generally a safe way to get used to active ingredients. However, lactic acid is one AHA ingredient that brightens, exfoliates, and hydrates skin like no other. Before you begin, here are a few factors to consider while buying the best lactic acid serums for even-toned, bright, and clear skin.

Things To Consider While Buying The Best Lactic Acid Serums

  • Skin Types And Supportive Ingredients

Lactic acid works wonders on your skin, but when the serum is blended with other supportive potent and beneficial ingredients, it can give you flawless skin. For those with dry and sensitive skin, along with lactic acid, look for ingredients like glycerine or hyaluronic acid as they will ensure your skin is thoroughly moisturized and supple.

Those with mature skin can also opt for lactic acid serum with a formulation that contains retinol. They work together to brighten dull skin, clear up blemishes, hydrate, and smoothen out fine lines and wrinkles. In case you have oily or acne prone skin, then niacinamide with lactic acid is a bomb combination to try, as it targets and improves multiple skin concerns like excess oil production, uneven skin tone, enlarged pores, rough and bumpy texture.

  • Ingredients To Avoid With Lactic Acids

It is best to avoid using lactic acid serum with other direct acids like salicylic acid or azelaic acid. Also, avoid pairing with other AHAs like glycolic acid, mandelic acid, or other actives like benzoyl peroxide acne treatments. You must also avoid using lactic acid with strong actives like pure vitamin C. As these will have a severe adverse effect on your skin and can lead to rashes or irritation.

  • Concentrations

Lactic acid can be highly effective when used at different concentrations. For those with minimum concerns like dryness and uneven skin tone, stick to around 5% to 7% of lactic acid concentrations. While those focusing on improving skin’s firmness and smoothness, fine lines, and wrinkles, a 12% concentration of lactic acid might work great for you.

  • Formula

Pick a formula that has the right amount of concentration for you and works best for your skin type. Look for weightless and quick-absorbing serums so that it seeps into the deeper levels of your skin for efficient results. Also, look for non-comedogenic and hypoallergenic lactic acid serums.

Ensure you avoid lactic acid serums that contain harmful chemicals like sulfates, silicones, mineral oils, or petroleum. These will lead to over-drying your skin and will also strip away its natural oils and disturb skin’s pH levels.

Now that you know of the 11 best lactic acid serums, it’s time you look at our buying that will help you choose the best one for your unique skin requirements.

Tips And Tricks Of Choosing The Best Lactic Acid Serum For Your Skin

  • Skin type

The benefits of lactic acid serums are endless. Though lactic acid is suitable for all skin types, many serums contain additional ingredients that make it unique for your skin. For normal to combination skin, pick ones with nourishing elements like vitamin C, hyaluronic acid, and peptides. They soothe the skin and promote healing while providing hydration. For dry skin, choose thick formulations with hydrating ingredients like shea butter, aloe vera, and ceramides to replenish lost moisture and leave the skin feeling plump and soft. For oily skin, it is advisable to stay away from moisture-adding ingredients like butters and hydrating creams. Instead, choose ingredients like tea tree oil, niacinamide, glycolic acid, retinol, and salicylic acid. They control excess sebum while promoting healthy skin. For sensitive skin, choose ingredients that are non-toxic and fragrance-free so that they do not cause any irritations.

  • Formula

The formula is crucial when picking a serum that works best for your skin. Always select weightless and quick-absorbing formulas as they penetrate deeper into the skin and show more immediate results. Also, pick non-comedogenic, gentle formulations that cleanse and exfoliate the skin effectively without clogging your pores.

  • Harmful chemicals

Last but not least, always steer away from harmful chemicals like parabens, sulfates, silicones, mineral oils, and petroleum as they may lead to over-drying of the face and do more harm than good. They also alter the skin’s natural pH level and strip it away from its natural oils. Hence, choose products free of toxic ingredients to ensure skin is left feeling clean and clear.

  • How To Use A Lactic Acid Serum

Step 1 – Cleanse your face thoroughly and add a few drops of your favorite lactic acid serum onto your palms.

Step 2 – Gently rub the palms to activate the serum and press lightly onto the skin.

Step 3 – Lightly tap the serum all over the face and press it in, allowing the serum to absorb into the skin.

Step 4 – Follow with a suitable sunscreen if being used during the daytime.

Say goodbye to your skin concerns with the best lactic acid serums listed in our article. These serums help improve the overall texture of your skin by boosting collagen production and elasticity, treating hyperpigmentation, and renewing dead skin cells. Also, they are cruelty-free, vegan, and free of any harsh chemicals. However, consider your skin type and product formula before buying these serums and avoid the products with an overpowering fragrance.

These lactic acid serums help you achieve even-toned, bright, and crystal clear skin. Simply add a few drops onto your skin before you sleep and see its magic work overnight. You can also use it during the daytime, followed by sunscreen.

Why Trust StyleCraze?

The author, Kirtana Divakar, is always on top of the latest skin care developments, which is why she swears by lactic acid serums. She has compiled the above list of best lactic acid serums for skin following hours of research. These products are endorsed by users through their reviews, offer robust protection against damage and help you get softer and glowing skin.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I use lactic acid on my face?

This depends on the concentration of lactic acid in the serum. If it is high, it is advisable to start using lactic acid 1 or 2 times a week. Lower concentration can be used daily.

Is a concentration of 5 or 10% of lactic acid better?

If you are not a regular user of lactic acid and are sensitive to potent ingredients, we suggest you start with 5%. But if you’re not a novice and have been using lactic acid serums for a while, you can go up to 10.

Should I moisturize after using a lactic acid serum?

Yes. Using a moisturizer after applying a lactic acid serum could be beneficial as it adds hydration and moisture to the skin. If you have particularly oily skin, you can skip this step.

Can I use Ordinary lactic acid every day?

Yes, you can. But if you’re just starting, we recommend using it every 2-3 days.

How quickly does lactic acid work on the skin?

It can take between 4-6 weeks to see visible results.

Are there any potential side effects of using lactic acid serums?

Lactic acid is essentially a harmless skincare ingredient. However, it is always advisable to speak to your dermatologist before adding a new skincare ingredient into your routine.

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