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The It Ingredient List: All The Lactic Acid-Infused Products For A Brighter, Smoother Complexion

In this new column, we spotlight under-the-radar skincare ingredients that ought to be in your regime.

Anyone who’s into beauty will definitely know — and have probably tried — Sunday Riley‘s cult product, Good Genes. If you’re not clued in on what exactly it is, it’s a lactic acid treatment meant to exfoliate, unclog pores and hydrate all in one. But besides the popular product that flew off Sephora counters once it was available, there are many lactic acid-infused skincare products that serve the same purpose.

Though, before you head over to your nearest beauty store, it’s important to know what exactly lactic acid does.

According to Dr. Lum Yang Xi of IDS Clinic, lactic acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (better known as AHA), which is a chemical exfoliant. Not only is it found in milk and yoghurt, but our body, too, does naturally produce it.

Similar to all types of AHAs, lactic acid helps to slough away dead skin cells, stimulate cell turnover on the surface of the skin, treat pigmentation and uneven skin tone as well as improve skin texture. Besides its exfoliating quality, it also has moisturising benefits. Bonus: it is also one of the gentler types of chemical exfoliants. However, do be aware of the concentration used in a product — if your skin tends to be a little more reactive, opt for products with a lower concentration of lactic acid.

Here are eight products you can incorporate into your skincare regime — besides Good Genes.

#1: Guerlain Abeille Royale Double R Serum, $299
To treat dullness, this is made with a Soft Peeling Technology that contains three acids (lactic, citric and glycolic) to gently remove dead skin cells and reveal a brighter complexion. An Exclusive Lifting-Effect Technology (enriched with two exclusive active ingredients known as the brand’s Royal Jelly and Black Bee Honey) tackles loose skin by stimulating the synthesis of hyaluronic acid and repairing fragmented collagen. It also strengthens the TIEG1 gene, which encourages proper skin structure. #2: Dermalogica BioLumin-C Serum, $189
Vitamin C may be its key ingredient, but this serum also contains other powerful components like lactic acid to remove dulling debris — revealing a brighter and smoother complexion. Palmitoyl tripeptide-5 even treats signs of ageing like wrinkles and fine lines. #3: Allies of Skin Bright Future Sleeping Facial, $169
With an improved formula, this chemical sleeping peel is now powered with eight per cent of chemical exfoliants including lactic acid and seven different brighteners, which reportedly delivers the effects of a professional facial overnight. The active ingredients are encapsulated inside a gel made with pure hyaluronic acid, which slowly releases the ingredients into your skin while you snooze. #4: Aesop Parsley Seed Facial Cleanser, $79
Ideal for those whose skin has been affected by harsh environmental aggressors, this aims to clear up the skin and boost radiance thanks to lactic acid, which offers mild exfoliation. #5: Skinceuticals Clarifying Clay Masque, $89
Malic, lactic, tartaric, citric and glycolic acid work together to gently remove dead skin cells while a combination of bentonite and kaolin clay helps absorb excess oil, reduce shine and improve overall skin condition. #6: Tata Harper Clarifying Mask, $93, Sephora
Said to be non-drying, this is made with a host of skin-loving ingredients like a Soothing Super Seed Blend that helps calm and soothe redness. Lactic, malic and tartaric acids are also infused to encourage cell renewal for a clearer complexion. #7: SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, $116
This effectively removes impurities and dirt trapped within pores as well as surface dead skin cells. #8: Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Glow Moisturizer, $99, Sephora
Not only does this contain lactic acid, it is also made with a string of other ingredients like glycolic acid, fruit enzymes and hyaluronic acid to reveal smoother, brighter skin. Main image: