Lactic acid is an AHA that exfoliates the top layer of the skin. However, can we use lactic acid for dark lips?
Yes, we can.
The most common way that lactic acid is used to treat dark lips is as a lip peel.
How Does Lactic Acid Make Lips Lighter & Pinker?
Lactic acid gently removes the top layer of skin cells from the skin of the lips, allowing new, less pigmented skin cells to regenerate in the area.
Lactic acid has a large molecular size which prevents it from penetrating the skin too deeply and causing irritation or other harm. This property is what makes it very safe to use on the lips.
Additionally, lactic acid is hygroscopic which means that it is very effective at drawing in and keeping moisture on your lips. This added moisturizing effect makes the skin on the lips supple and moisturized.
Benefits of Lactic Acid For Lips
Benefits of using Lactic Acid for lips include:
- Does not irritate the skin as other stronger AHAs might
- Keeps the lips hydrated and moisturized
- Will exfoliate your lips and have visible results but at the same time very gentle
- Stimulates blood circulation
- Will eventually lighten dark lips by evening out their tone
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Side Effects of Using Lactic Acids For Lips
The main potential side effect associated with using lactic acid for lips is temporary irritation.
However, the side effects will also depend on how you are using lactic acid and your lip skin itself. If you are using it as a:
- Peel, a range of possible side effects should be anticipated.
- Serum or Toner which tends to be very mild the side effects won’t be so bad or if you get any at all.
Lip Scrubs are a great way to make your lips lighter click here to read my Tips on How to Use a Lip Scrub
Types of Lactic Acid Products For Lips
They are 2 main types of lactic acid products you can use on your lips:
- Lactic Acid Peels – which are very effective and fast acting but are more harsh
- Lactic Acid Serums & Toners – which are more gentle but takes a longer time to show visible results.
Lactic Acid Lip Peels
First of all, why would you want to peel your lips? It sounds dangerous, doesn’t it?
However, if you know what you are doing, or if you have your peel done by a qualified and trained skincare professional, you are expected to see the following benefits:
- Increased production of collagen which makes your lips plumper
- Pinker and lighter-looking Lips
- Anti-aging effects (smoother, less wrinkled lips)
- Return of the lips’ natural color and lessened pigmented areas
The Lactic Acid Lip Peel Process
If you are familiar with lip peeling or if you are doing your lip peel at home, here is what you should do:
Step 1 – Prep Your Lips
You need to remove all products on your lips you can do so by wiping them a Prep A or alcohol
Step 2 – Apply the Peel
Use a Qtip or gauze pad and apply the peel onto your lips in the same area as your would for a lip balm.
Step 3 – Let it Rest
Leave the peel on for 2 to 3 minutes
Step 4 – Wash off the Peel
Use clean water to wash off the peel from your lips using cold water
Step 5 – Moisturize Your Lips
Apply a good moisturizer on your lips I recommend any lip moisturizer that is rich with hyaluronic acid. But you can also use lip butter or vaseline if you want.
If you are having your lip peel done in a clinic or office, the process will be similar, except that it will be done by a trained professional.
You will be briefed on what the procedure is, what they will be using on your skin, what to expect during and after the procedure, and on after-peel care instructions.
Tips to Do During a Lactic Acid Lip Peel
- Avoid getting the acid into your mouth – keep the acid on the outside of your lips
- And do not lick your lips
- Always use a lip balm with SPF protection after having a peel done, remember your lips are more sensitive now.
What To Expect After A Lactic Acid Lip Peel
Like all peeling procedures, you should expect to see:
- Lips peeling within 24 hours after applying the acid
- Redness and feeling discomfort on your lips.
- Crusting of the lips with a possibility of a yellowish liquid discharge which is normal.
You should not be getting too much pain, bleeding, blisters, or any such side effects. If you do, seek medical attention right away.
Do not pick at your lips or itch them. And remember to keep your lips hydrated and SPF protected!
How Often Should You Use Lactic Acid Peels For Dark Lips
Lactic acid peels should be done 1-2 times per week for beginners.
When your lips have built up a tolerance, and when you are sure that your lips will not become too irritated, you may increase the frequency of the peels.
Additionally, start with a low concentration of the acid, then slowly work your way up to stronger ones if necessary.
How Long Does a Lactic Acid Lip Peel take to Work
You should see and feel some difference in your lips after the very first peel.
However, any significant reduction of darkness will start to become more obvious after the first few peels until your lips are eventually more pink than dark.
For a quick way to lighten your lips then consider getting laser treatment click here to read Lip Lightening Laser: What is it, Cost, Pros & Cons
Risks of Getting a Lip Peel
Remember that the lips are delicate and quite thin being only 3 to 5 layers thin whilst the skin on your face has around 20.
As a result, the lips are prone to inflammation and cracking. So, we want to stay as far away from those side effects as we can.
By using peels that are mild and thus won’t cause any major issues to your lips.
Best Lactic Acid Peels For Dark Lips
1- StackedSkincare Hydrating Lip Peel
Stacked Lip Peels is a very effective lip peel. This is because its main ingredient is lactic acid. But it also contains phytic acid and small amounts of mandelic acid which works to really exfoliate your lips.
It also contains mushroom extract which has been known to prevent loss of moisture so it helps to keep your lips well moisturized.
These ingredients all work together to make this peel both effective yet gentle enough for your lips.
StackedSkincare Lip Peel in my opinion is a bit pricey you can click here to see the current price on Amazon. But I think it is worth the few extra dollars.
2- The Ordinary Lactic Acid 5% + Ha 2%
The Ordinary Lactic acid peel is one of the most popular peels available. It is very mild making it ideal for those with sensitive lips.
It can be applied 2-3 times per week to the lips. It can also be diluted with other treatments to reduce the strength until your lips develop tolerance. Do not use it on sensitive, peeling, or compromised skin.
Lactic Acid Serums & Toners
If you are not comfortable with using a lip peel, you can also use lactic acid on your lips as a daily serum or toner.
This will gradually help to resurface your lips and lighten them.
It will be slower than the peel but will come with fewer side effects and may be safer if you have super sensitive or super thin lips.
You may use a serum or toner on your lips daily. However, you must be careful not to ingest any of it.
Ensure that it has fully absorbed into your lips and that you have layered your lip balms or other lip products over it before licking at your lips just after application.
Best Lactic Acid Serums & Toners To Use For Dark Lips
1- REN Clean Skincare – AHA Facial Toner
Ren Toner contains both AHA acid which is the Lactic Acid and BHA acid which is Salicylic Acid in the natural form of Salicin.
It is very gentle yet it will have a visible effect on your lips.
2- Measurable Difference Lactic Acid Face Serum
This serum is formulated with the goodness of hydrolyzed collagen, hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and lactic acid all of which works to exfoliate your lips.
It also locks in moisture and hydrates the skin, leaving it plump and supple. Measurable Face Serum can be used on your lips daily.