The 10 Best Lactic Acid Cleansers Of All-Time

Kick your face cleansing up a notch.

The 10 Best Lactic Acid Cleansers Of All-Time getty

If your cleanser needs to be kicked up a notch, it may be worth considering lactic acid. But what is lactic acid? Lactic acid is a type of AHA, or alpha hydroxy acid, derived from dairy and fermented vegetables and fruits.

"Lactic acid can be used to help prevent and reverse signs of aging and sun damage, and also improve uneven skin tone, acne and dull looking skin," says Dr. Caren Campbell MD, a board-certified dermatologist. "For pigment and uneven skin tone issues, alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as glycolic acid (GA) and lactic acid (LA) have been reported to be effective in treating uneven skin tone or pigment issues like melasma, sun spots and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (the darkness that gets left behind after acne, a burn or injury to the skin)."


RELATED: 15 Best Skincare Lines For Sensitive Skin

AHAs work by accelerating skin cell turnover (exfoliating). Unlike other AHAs, lactic acid for skin can act as a moisturizer and humectant, meaning it draws water into the skin, helping to plump-up the skin and give you a smoother, more youthful appearance.

So, when you want to use lactic acid for skin, look no further than these 10 lactic acid cleanser.

1. NEOVA Purifying Cleanser


The detoxifying formula with lactic acid works to clear pores and control breakouts on face and body without stripping moisture levels. An extraordinary clarifier, it will help control breakouts by dissolving oil with purifying, hyper-efficient Tea Tree, Sage, Thyme and Eucalyptus.

(Neova, $33)

2. Sanitas Skincare Vitamin C Lactic Cleanser


Gently removes dirt and oil without over-drying your skin. Crafted with a brightening blend of antioxidants, vitamins and lactic acid, this facial cleanser improves the appearance of uneven skin tone, softens fine lines and wrinkles, and helps protect skin from environmental aggressors.

(Dermstore, $32)

3. Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser


A highly active cleanser with a trio of exfoliating acids and jojoba skin-polishing beads to revitalize skin. AHA/BHA Cleanser revitalizes skin by gently exfoliating and polishing away dullness.

(Sephora, $39)

4. Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Foam Cleanser

A rich foaming cleanser and three-minute purifying mask. Use it in the morning and evening as a daily cleanser, or twice a week as a three-minute purifying mask.


(Sephora, $26)

RELATED: 21 Best Charcoal Masks For Flawless Skin

5. DermaDoctor Kakadu C Brightening Daily Cleanser with Vitamins C, A & AHAs


A three-in-one daily rejuvenating cleanser, toner, and makeup remover. Vitamin C helps brighten and even complexion, while vitamin A and AHAs help to fight visible signs of aging.

(Sephora, $36)

6. Skinstitut L-Lactic Cleanser

A gentle foaming cleanser and light exfoliator suitable for all skin types, especially those that are sensitive and irritated. Formulated with lactic acid, L-lactic Acid is the purest form of this type of alpha-hydroxy acid, which makes it safe for sensitive and delicate skin types to exfoliate and decongest the skin.


(Adore Beauty, $34)

7. Alpha-H Clear Skin Daily Face Wash

Alpha-H Clear Skin Daily Face Wash is an invigorating daily gel cleanser for combination, oil and blemish prone skin of all ages. Formulated with aromatic Thyme, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus, it works to minimize bacteria, while willowbark and vitamin B3 control and reduce excess oil.


(Beauty Bay, €35)

8. Skinceuticals Clarifying Exfoliating Cleanser

Dual-action chemical and mechanical exfoliating cream effectively purifies while removing surface dead skin cells to refine texture, brighten skin, and clear acne blemishes.

(Skinceuticals, $34)

9. Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel


Neutrogena Hydro Boost Hydrating Cleansing Gel with hyaluronic acid is clinically proven to increase skin's hydration level and lock it in. Boost hydration for soft, supple skin, and it effectively removes makeup and impurities.

(Ulta, $8.99)

10. SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser

This elegantly formulated exfoliating cleanser gently scrubs away dead skin, improving the appearance of skin tone and texture. This cleanser contains, lactic acid, glycolic acid, citric acid, malic acid, jojoba oil, and salicylic acid.


(SkinMedica, $47)

RELATED: What Is A Sebaceous Filament? Plus: 11 Ways To Get Rid Of Blackheads

Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyle, beauty, news and relationships writer. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her at

YourTango may earn an affiliate commission if you buy something through links featured in this article.