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Dr. Alpana Mohta Ranka, MD, DNB, IFAAD, is a dual-board-certified dermatologist with over 90 research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Lactobionic Acid for Skin: Benefits, Uses, and Comparisons with other Hydroxy Acids

Updated: Nov 24, 2023

Lactobionic acid is a skincare ingredient that has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous benefits for the skin. In this article, we will explore what lactobionic acid is, its benefits for the skin, any potential side effects, and how it compares to other acids commonly used in skincare.


Table of Contents


What is Lactobionic Acid?

Lactobionic acid is a polyhydroxy acid (PHA) that belongs to the same family as other well-known skincare acids like alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and beta hydroxy acids (BHAs). It is derived from lactose, a milk sugar, and is known for its excellent moisturizing properties and gentle exfoliation. Lactobionic acid has a larger molecular size compared to other acids, which makes it suitable for sensitive and dry skin types.

You can learn more about AHA, BHA, and PHAs in this article of mine.


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Lactobionic Acid vs Lactic Acid

While both these acids are derived from milk, they are very different:

Lactobionic Acid

Chemical Class

Polyhydroxy Acid (PHA)

Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)


Synthesized by processing lactose (milk sugar)

Naturally occurs in sour milk, fruits, and vegetables

Molecular Size

Larger molecular size

Smaller molecular size


Gentle exfoliation

Strong exfoliation

Skin Sensitivity

Suitable for sensitive and dry skin types

Suitable for various skin types, but caution for sensitive skin


Provides moisturization and hydration benefits

Minimal moisturization properties

Skin Benefits

Gentle exfoliation, hydration, and antioxidant properties

Exfoliation, brightening, and skin renewal effects

Lactobionic Acid Skin Benefits:

  • Gentle Exfoliation: Lactobionic acid promotes the shedding of dead skin cells, encouraging cell turnover and revealing fresher skin underneath. It helps to improve skin texture, reduce the appearance of fine lines, and even out skin tone without causing irritation.

  • Moisturization: Due to its larger molecular size, lactobionic acid forms a film on the skin's surface, reducing water loss and increasing hydration. This makes it an excellent choice for individuals with dry or sensitive skin, as it provides a barrier that helps lock in moisture.

  • Antioxidant Properties: Lactobionic acid possesses antioxidant properties, which can help protect the skin from harmful free radicals generated by factors like pollution and UV radiation. These antioxidants contribute to a more youthful appearance and can aid in preventing premature aging.

Lactobionic Acid Side Effects:

Lactobionic acid is generally well-tolerated by most individuals, including those with sensitive skin. However, as with any skincare ingredient, some people may experience mild side effects. These can include temporary redness, stinging, or a slight tingling sensation. If you have extremely sensitive skin or a known allergy to lactose or milk products, it is advisable to perform a patch test or consult a dermatologist before incorporating lactobionic acid into your skincare routine.

How to Use Lactobionic Acid for Face?

The best way to incorporate lactobionic acid in your skincare regime would be by using serums containing it. You can try out the PERCENTPLUS Skin care 2way serum.

Apply this at night and remember to apply sunscreen during the day (Use a sunscreen whether you use any other product or not!).

Lactobionic Acid vs Hyaluronic Acid

Lactobionic acid and hyaluronic acid serve different purposes in skincare. Lactobionic acid provides gentle exfoliation and antioxidant benefits while offering moisturizing properties.

Hyaluronic acid, on the other hand, is a humectant that attracts and retains moisture, providing intense hydration to the skin. Both acids can be beneficial and can complement each other in a skincare routine.

Lactobionic Acid vs Gluconolactone

Gluconolactone is another polyhydroxy acid (PHA) similar to lactobionic acid. Both acids offer gentle exfoliation and moisturizing properties, making them suitable for sensitive skin. However, lactobionic acid has a larger molecular size, which contributes to enhanced moisture retention.

Gluconolactone may be better suited for individuals with oily or acne-prone skin, while lactobionic acid is an excellent choice for dry or sensitive skin types.

Let's wrap it up

Lactobionic acid is a useful skincare ingredient that offers gentle exfoliation, moisturization, and antioxidant benefits. It is suitable for individuals with sensitive or dry skin types and can help improve skin texture, hydration, and overall complexion. While lactobionic acid provides unique advantages, remember that every individual's skin is unique, and you should consult with a dermatologist to tailor your skincare routine to your specific needs and concerns.


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