The 7 Best Lactic Acid Cleansers for Satin Smooth Skin (2024 ✅)

written by: Tom Qiao
last update: May 12, 2023

Did you know that adding a lactic cleanser to your skincare routine is one of the best ways to keep your skin looking younger, smoother, and more vibrant?

That's because alpha hydroxy acids like lactic acid draw out impurities, resurface skin texture, brighten skin tone, and even stimulate collagen production. (source: Soleymani et al., 2018)

Washing your face with a lactic acid cleanser also prepares your skin to better absorb subsequent skincare treatments like a chemical peel, retinol serum, or face cream.

But with so many lactic acid cleansers on the market, which one is right for you? ðŸ¤”

In this post, I'll discuss how to choose a lactic acid cleanser and my top recommendations.


What Is The Best Lactic Acid Cleanser?

Here are my top recommendations:

  1. Editor's Choice: Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
  2. Professional Salon Quality: Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser
  3. Best Value for Money: PCA Skin Facial Wash
  4. Best for Satin Smooth Skin: SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
  5. Best for Signs of Aging: Platinum Skin Care Lactic Anti-Aging Cleanser
  6. Best for Brilliant Brightness: Glo Skin Beauty Hydra-Bright AHA Cleanser
  7. Best for Clogged Pores: Cosmedix Purity Clean

Meanwhile, biodegradable jojoba beads physically exfoliate to polish away dull, dry skin.

(don't worry, it's nowhere near as abrasive as your typical drugstore face scrub)

Murad AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser Ad
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Finally, although it's not mentioned on the package, Murad also included a vitamin C derivative (Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate) and licorice root extract (Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate), both of which provide skin brightening benefits by inhibiting your skin's melanin production.

However, this is definitely not as effective in a cleanser format compared to a vitamin C serum, so think of it as a bonus freebie in this otherwise pretty simple formulation.


My Verdict: If you're in the market for a new cleanser, Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser might have you changing your entire skincare routine (spoiler: it's that good!).

Among the hundreds of positive customer reviews, women said that using Dermalogica made a visible difference in their complexion, including:

  • Reduced hyperpigmentation such as dark spots and melasma
  • Diminished pore sizes
  • Softer & smoother skin texture
  • Less noticeable acne scarring
  • Promotes a healthy & natural glow


Dermalogica Age Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser Ad
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My Verdict: For a professional salon quality cleanser, trust Dermalogica to revitalize your skin for a brighter, smoother, and younger-looking appearance. With thousands of reviews on Amazon, Age Smart Skin Resurfacing Cleanser is one of the best lactic acid cleansers on the market.

P.S. save 20% on both products and get an SPF 50 sunscreen with Preventative Essentials Kit.

PCA Skin Facial Wash Ad
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My Verdict: Build a complete anti-aging or anti-acne skincare ritual with PCA Skin Facial Wash, an affordable lactic acid cleanser with aloe vera, allantoin, and willow bark extract, that will result in many, many months of cleaner, fresher, and smoother-looking skin.

Similar to Murad, SkinMedica includes jojoba spheres to lightly resurface your skin texture for improved softness & smoothness while licorice root extract brightens brown spots.

Finally, salicylic acid (not naturally derived) contributes the BHA part of this formula and helps degrease oily skin by unclogging blocked pores and regulating excess sebum production.

SkinMedica AHA BHA Exfoliating Cleanser Ad
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My Verdict: Silky smooth skin is around the corner when you use a professional cleanser like SkinMedica AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser with naturally derived AHAs, salicylic acid, and exfoliating jojoba spheres, for reduced signs of wrinkles, fine lines, and pigmentation.

Finally, jojoba esters (beads) round out the formula for added physical exfoliation.

Follow up with Platinum Skin Care Lactic Anti-Aging Toner with SYN®-AKE for the best results (SYN®-AKE is a patented synthetic peptide that helps smooth wrinkles and fine lines).

My Verdict: Complete your anti-aging skincare routine with a luxuriously creamy cleanser like Platinum Skin Care Lactic Anti-Aging Cleanser for a silky smooth and hydrated complexion.

My Verdict: Your skin wants to glow - let Glo Skin Beauty Hydra-Bright AHA Cleanser help you reveal rapidly radiant skin with vegan lactic acid, blue lotus flower, and moringa extract.

By the way, the same problem exists for vitamin C: L-ascorbic acid is the chirally correct form.

(and that concludes our chemistry lesson of the day 😀)

Aside from that, peppermint essential oil provides a cooling and refreshing sensation that, combined with lavender and tea tree oil, soothes inflammation and calms the complexion.

For a deeper cleanse, use Cosmedix Purity Clean as a detoxifying mask for 1-3 minutes before rinsing your face to purify pores, remove excess oils, and dissolve dead skin cells.

My Verdict: Clear up breakouts, fade blemishes, and purify pores with Cosmedix Purity Clean featuring 5% chirally correct L-lactic acid, tea tree oil, and peppermint essential oil for a cool and soothing cleansing experience.

Article written by Tom Qiao
Tom is the founder and editor of where he applies his decades of personal experience with skincare problems like acne and acne scarring to provide readers with practical advice and product recommendations.

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