11 Best Expert-Approved Lactic Acid Serums Of 2024

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

Reviewed by Yolanda Moore, MPAS, PA-C Yolanda Moore Yolanda MooreMPAS, PA-C facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) Kirtana Divakar MA (Journalism & Mass Communication) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
Edited by , MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach Shiboli Chakraborti MA (English Literature), Certified Skin Care Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
Fact-checked by , MA (English Literature) Swathi E MA (English Literature) linkedin_icon Experience: 3 years
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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
CHECK PRICE
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
Price on Amazon
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 For Beginners:Minimalist 10% AHA BHA Exfoliating Serum For Beginners
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:Azani Active Care Lactic Acid Resurfacing Serum
Price on Amazon
Best Non-toxic Formula:Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum
Price on Amazon
Best Non-Comedogenic:Divulge Beauty Daily Exfoliating Lactic Ac
Price on Amazon

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

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

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4.5
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. Crafted carefully 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 and offers visible results in less than 3 minutes. Perform a patch test with the product if you have sensitive skin.

Pros

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

Cons

  • In rare circumstances, it may cause redness and irritation

protip_icon 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.

worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

This product has made it to our top favorite list with more than 352 rave reviews on Amazon.

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

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4.3
QrxLabs Nature Enhanced Glycolic Acid/AHA Renewal Serum Image: Qrxlabs

Here’s a glycolic and lactic acid serum with a lightweight texture and a natural fragrance that effectively combats skin aging, as reviewers have highlighted in their reviews. 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 dermatologist-recommended 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!

Pros

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

Cons

  • It may take longer than expected to show visible results.
worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Almost 1,121 happy users have mentioned the value and quality of this product.

3. Best Hydrating Formula:Measurable Difference Lactic Acid Serum

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4.1
Measurable Difference Lactic Acid Serum Image: Measurable

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. Reviewers suggest seeking serums containing ingredients like hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid to wash away dirt, grime, and pollution while evening out the skin tone. This serum is formulated with the goodness of all these ingredients, which also lock in moisture and hydrate the skin, leaving it plump and supple. Patch testing is essential to determine if the product is suitable for your skin.

Pros

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

Cons

  • May not be best suited for sensitive skin
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment
Best Vegan
QrxLabs Nature Enhanced Glycolic Acid/AHA Renewal Serum
Best Anti-Aging
Measurable Difference Lactic Acid Serum
Best Hydrating Formula
Skin Type All, Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal Oily, Combination, Dry, Normal All, Oily, Combination, Dry
Dimensions 1.5 x 1.5 x 4.5 inches 1 x 1 x 2.8 inches 0.45 x 1.45 x 3.6 inches
Weight 1 Ounces 3 Ounces 3.2 Ounces.
Rating
Reviews3521,121278
Price$85$15.95$9.99

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

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3.7
Lactic Acid Chemical Gel Peel Serum 10% Image: [re]fresh Skin Therapy

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 professional-grade 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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Might take time to show results

5. Best For Beginners:Minimalist 10% AHA BHA Exfoliating Serum For Beginners

If you are an absolute beginner at chemical exfoliation, here’s where you can start. Indeed a bottle of liquid gold, the clinically-tested Minimalist 10% AHA BHA Exfoliating Serum For Beginners works on all skin types. The non-greasy formula with a blend of AHAs and BHAs targets acne scars, uneven skin texture and tone, dullness, and sun tan. Lactic acid gently exfoliates to brighten the skin. Salicylic acid unclogs pores and removes excess oil, blackheads, and whiteheads, while hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin and prevents tightness. This non-comedogenic serum is the perfect multi-level exfoliator for skin rejuvenation to reveal soft, glowing, and healthy skin. You may opt for this dermatologist-tested serum, as many people experience improved skin moisture levels and improved skin texture while using the product.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Gentle formula
  • Non-irritating
  • Helps with redness reduction
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Dye-free
  • Essential oil-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Dermatologically tested

Cons

  • None

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

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4.3
REN Clean Skincare - AHA Body Serum - Lactic Acid for Gentle Exfoliation, Smooths KP Keratosis Pilaris Bumps, Evens Texture and Brightens Dark Spots - Xylitol for Hydration- 6.7 Fl oz Image: Ren Clean Skincare

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 proven to deliver visible results 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 scientifically 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 gynecologically tested serum to your skincare routine for skin that won’t disappoint.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Contains ingredients that may cause skin sensitivity, so it must always be paired with a suitable sunscreen.

protip_icon 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.

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

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4.5
Paula’s Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment Image: Paula’s

Gone are the days stressing over unclear, texture skin. Made from 4 potent alpha hydroxy acids, this doctor-recommended 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 calm irritated skin and promote skin healing. Continuous use of this results-driven serum will give the poreless, smooth skin you’ve always wanted. Look at this video for a clear understanding of the Paula’s Choice Advanced Smoothing Treatment offering beneficial results.

Pros

  • Paraben-free
  • Helps with pore minimization
  • Fragrance-free
  • Lightweight texture
  • Antioxidant-rich formula

Cons

  • Contains added preservatives

protip_icon Remember
Lactic acid tends to increase sun sensitivity of the skin and is best used in your night skincare routine.

8. Best Restoring Formula:Azani Active Care Lactic Acid Resurfacing Serum

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4

Restore your skin’s original glow with the Azani Active Care Lactic Acid Resurfacing Serum. The gentle formula is enriched with milk-derived lactic acid that reduces pigmentation and combats signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. Some reviewers’ experiences with this lactic acid serum has shown that it effectively nourishes the skin, leaving it healthier and plumper. Antioxidant-rich squalene moisturizes, softens, and smoothens the skin, while the hyaluronic acid hydrates and reduces dullness. The anti-inflammatory chamomile flower extracts soothe the skin and the gentle exfoliation process revives your glow. This serum also targets enlarged pores, acne, and blemishes to offer radiant skin right from the first use.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Prevents skin tears
  • Oil-free
  • Reduces dark spots

Cons

  • None

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

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4.4
Biossance Squalane + Lactic Acid Resurfacing Night Serum Image: Biossance

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.

Pros

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

Cons

  • May initially cause a tingling sensation

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

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4.4
Divulge Beauty Daily Exfoliating Lactic Acid Serum Image: Divulge

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 tested 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, as reviewers have noticed. If this expert-recommended lactic acid serum for acne isn’t a product worth grabbing, we don’t know what is!

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • Helps with scar reduction
  • Cruelty-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-comedogenic

Cons

  • Some may find the texture to be a bit watered-down.

11. Best For Mild Exfoliation:Cos De BAHA Lctic Acid 12.5 Serum

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4.2
Cos De BAHA Lctic Acid 12.5 Serum Image: Cos De

Is your sensitive skin keeping you away from chemical exfoliation? Well, the Cos De BAHA Lactic Acid 12.5% Serum offers clinically proven results with mild exfoliation suitable for beginners and people with sensitive skin types. Lactic acid brightens, even tones, and smoothes the skin for a radiant glow. The chemical exfoliant promotes collagen production and reduces the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. This clinically verified skin brightening serum contains aloe vera, arginine, and Camellia Sinensis leaf extract to soothe and moisturize the skin. Well, if this still does not convince you, like with every product you use, begin with a small patch test for safety purposes.

Pros

  • Suitable for all skin types
  • Gentle formula
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Alcohol-free
  • Mineral oil-free
  • Fragrance-free
  • Dimethicone-free
  • No artificial color

Cons

  • None
*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

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. Always perform a patch test before adding any skincare product to your daily regimen.

  • 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. Some testers’ experiences indicate these will have 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 and formulas that are clinically examined and confirmed 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 with proven efficacy 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 clinically backed skincare 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.

Infographic: Tips To Remember While Buying The Best Lactic Acid Serums

Lactic acid has been gaining immense popularity in the beauty world, and for all the right reasons. It not only helps deeply hydrate the skin but can also be your ultimate savior in treating hyperpigmentation and dull skin. But choosing the right one can be a bit tricky. Worry not! Check out the infographic below for some useful tips.

Tips To Remember While Buying The Best Lactic Acid Serums (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

The Bottom Line

Say goodbye to your skin concerns with the best lactic acid serums listed in our article. These serums help with overall skin texture improvement 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. The Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment is ideal for all skin types, while the [re]fresh Skin Therapy Lactic Acid Gel Facial Peel is suitable for dry skin. If you need a formulation suitable for oily or combination skin, the Azani Active Care Lactic Acid Resurfacing Serum is a perfect choice. 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.

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.

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.

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Yolanda Moore

Yolanda MooreMPAS, PA-C

Yolanda, MPAS, PA-C, has a medical license from the state of California and certification from the National Commission on Certification of PAs. She is a member of the California Academy of PAs, American Academy of PAs, and the American Med Spa Association.

Read full bio of Yolanda Moore