Does Milk Really do a Body Good?
Does milk do a body good? Perhaps. But I’ll let you and the Dairy Council figure that one out. I’ll stick to what I know – skin.
The milk I’m referring to is lactic acid, also known as “milk acid.” It is responsible for everything from powering our bodies during exercise, giving sourdough bread its flavor, and regenerating our skin. Maybe our parents knew something after all when they told us to “drink your milk.”
What It Is
As I mentioned lactic acid is also known as milk acid, and it contributes to several biochemical processes. In 1780 a Swedish chemist isolated the acid from sour milk, and it has since been used in a variety of applications.
In food it is used in brewing beer, making sourdough bread, wine making, and is naturally found in dairy products such as yogurt, kefir and some cottages cheeses. In skin care it is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), used to exfoliate and hydrate the skin. Our bodies also naturally produce lactic acid during strenuous exercises to help maintain energy levels.
How It Works and Where to Find It
You wouldn’t think an acid would be hydrating, however that is the case with lactic acid. It actually helps increase our skin’s water-retention capacity. It is also known as a gentle AHA, meaning it removes dead skin cells without provoking irritation.
Lactic acid is beneficial for nearly all skin, but particularly aging skin. This is because our cell turnover process slows as we age and the acid works to jumpstart the process. Because of the acid’s hydrating and exfoliating properties, it in turn improves fine lines, helps reduce the appearance of age spots, improves texture, and spurs collagen creation.
So where do you find this ingredient? As noted, in food it can be found in sour milk products such as kefir and yogurt, which is said to aid in digestion…though I can’t promise eating yogurt will improve your skin. In skin care however, you will typically find it in cleansers, and enzyme and acid formulas often used by dermatologist and spa professionals.
To get your hands on a lactic acid cleanser, check out the Blue Agave.