Is lactic acid the new glycolic acid for exfoliation?

Is lactic acid the new glycolic acid for exfoliation?

I’ve long been a fan of Pixi Glow Tonic (who isn’t, right?). The gentle glycolic acid exfoliator has been a beauty staple for a number of years as it’s great at gently removing dead skin cells to keep skin smooth and glowy. The product has reached cult beauty product status but, dare I say it, I’ve found a new tonic that I much prefer, who would have thought? And even more shocking, it doesn’t contain my beloved glycolic acid at all…


A few weeks ago I was invited to test out the bdr intelligent facial system at Aesthetics Lab clinic in London (you can read all about it here) and I was also given a homecare routine to maintain my gorgeous new glowy skin. Part of this bdr routine was a Re-action intensive exfoliating tonic. I’ve been using this tonic twice per day for a number of weeks now and I just love the effects it’s had on my skin!

The smell of the bdr tonic is a little unusual, perhaps a little reminiscent of medicine from your childhood; it contains a small amount of camphor, which is also used in VapoRub and other cold medicines, but once I got past that the effects I’ve noticed on my skin are amazing! It’s been great at keeping away any roughness, particularly on my forehead where I’m prone to dryer skin – the effect is much greater than I’ve ever found with the Pixi Glow Tonic. I’ve also noticed that my pores are a lot clearer and skin is brighter overall.


You’ve no doubt heard me rant on about how much I love glycolic acid, as found in Pixi Glow tonic, how it gently removes the top layer of skin to reveal brighter, newer cells underneath to give a smoother finish and a brighter complexion. The bdr Re-action tonic contains lactic acid instead of glycolic acid, but essentially they have the same effect on skin.

Although glycolic acid has been shown to increase the production of collagen, leading to more skin elasticity and combating signs of premature aging, lactic acid is much more mosturising on skin making it ideal for those with more sensitive or dry skin which cannot handle the glycolic acid so well. That said, the bdr must contain a decent concentration of lactic acid because I notice a better exfoliating effect than with the Pixi 5% glycolic acid glow tonic. The bdr tonic also contains salicylic acid which has a similar exfoliating effect as well as anti-acne properties. For an extra boost of brightness there is also niacinamde which also has proven skin-brightening properties.

So if you’re getting fed up with your glycolic acid toner, why not give lactic acid a try? You can always apply a stronger-strength glycolic acid a few times a week if you’re looking for that anti-aging boost to skin but want a more gentle approach in between. This bdr tonic is available only from salons and clinics which offer the bdr facial, but why not look out for lactic acid next time your browsing the skincare department?