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Lactic Acid

Veterinarian Reviewed on January 8, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Lactic Acid


Lactic acid is white, crystalline solid that have a low melting point. It is a biological isomer and is naturally found in human body. The production of lactic acid is through sugar and water fermentation or by chemical process. It is commonly distributed as liquid, and the acid ingredient of fermented fruits, sour dairy products, sausages, and vegetables.

History and Origin

Carl Wilhelm Scheele, a Swedish chemist in 1780, discovered lactic acid. He isolated lactic acid from the sour milk that came out to be impure brown syrup. In 1808, it is found by Jons Jacob Berzelius that it is also produced in muscles at exertion. Johannes Wislicenus established the structure in 1873. Louis Pasteur, in 1856 discovered lactobacillus, and made known its role in producing lactic acid. Later, a French scientist named Fremy produced the lactic acid through fermentation, which started its industrial production in 1881. In 1895, Boehringer Ingelheim started its commercial production in Germany.

Ancient Uses

Fermented dairy products were already made since thousand of years ago, but it is not until the last century that the microbiological bases of fermentations have been clarified. The lactic acid bacteria were the organisms principally involved in the fermentation of dairy products. Long before starter cultures became available, the fermentation of milk was relied to the lactic acid bacteria that are present naturally in raw milk. It is found out that the first ever commercial starter cultures were unnamed mixtures of microbes of raw milk prepared in Denmark at around the end of 19th century. It was in the 1930s and the 1940s that the idea of the starter culture was done through pure single-strain process.

Modern Uses

Lactic acid aids in the improvement of skin texture and hydration. This is achieved by patronizing skin care treatments and products that involve lactic acid as ingredient. These personal products include creams, lotions, and peels.

Lactic acid improves the overall skin texture thought moisturizing and sloughing off the dead cells in the skin surface, and eventually promote collagen growth. It works very well in reducing lines and wrinkles in the forehead and helps the skin tone to even and eliminate acne scars.

With the use of lactic acid, many are saved from spending a lot of money for expensive professional peeling treatments. With the lactic acid’s alpha hydroxyl acid, peeling is possible at a lesser cost.

When preferred, milder skin treatment is achieved by using lotions and creams with lactic acid. This is a better alternative when peeling becomes harsh on skin especially if it is acne-ridden or inflamed. The lactic acid lotions and creams are rich and heavy. They are perfect for any dry skin.

Side Effects

Although lactic acid is milder comparing with other compounds, it has drawbacks of its own. It can irritate damaged or allergy prone skin. Regardless of the product used with lactic acid, the sun sensitivity provides a negative factor. It is crucial to limit the time of sun exposure, or sunscreen must be utilized when using products containing lactic acid.

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Read also: Milk Thistle Seed

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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