Supplier of: skin actives, cosmetic ingredients, cosmeceuticals, active ingredients, and skin care ingredients, for DIY skin care and cosmetics, and homemade skin care products.
Tried this on my week-old rash from flea bites. Got an almost instant relief and rash healed in 2 days. Tried it on my daughter who has eczema for a very long time. The rashes calmed down after a few days and her skin is now healing well. Really great product. Just put in order for another jar.... ...»
Wonderful base cream! Only multi-lamellar structured cream I've found on the market. Cream itself is lightweight (no oil) yet very conditioning/hydrating. Easily accepts water-soluble active ingredients as well as oil-soluble ones. I've even pushed the additional ingred % up to 20 (meaning 80% this cream, 20% added) without any separation issues. Ideal base cream for delivering actives. Personal favorite recipe calls for 5% straight Grapeseed Oil with 5% SebumREG oil active + Panthenol 1% + E Ac.. ...»
Im 45 years old; average looking skin for my age. Applied a small pea sized amount of Sea Kelp Bioferment to my face full strength in the am after washing my face of previous night makeup.; let face "dry". Then aplied my foundation as always. Noticed my thick, heavy foundation applied more easily and smooth. Keep in mind this is DAY TWO of me using this. TWO women at work ( separate departments) commented how wonderful my face looked! One specifically came up to me and asked what I was.. ...»
Jessie Sandford
Many thanks for the Silicone DM. This product is lovely quality; it is light, silky, and leaves no residue at all. I use it in the base recipe for a mouldable polymer that I then use to make a simulated 'Amber' for bead making. At the end of this process I have a silky, translucent polymer plus the most gorgeous hands in the studio ! My thanks again, Helen.. ...»
I am following the moisturizing cream + Zinc dispersion recipe and I am extremely satisfied. I do allow for a little time for it to absorb in & then I dab off anything that I feel looks a little white - but that's because I initially use a fairly thick coating on myself. I use a bit of foundation at times on top and there are no issues as far as weird colors or texture issues. I am so grateful for this entire website as a one-stop-shop for such effective skin care products, and now we can.. ...»
I just placed my first order for SEaKelp Bioferment from Bulk Actives and was pleased to receive it very quickly.. ...»
I have a blind faith of this Pre Liposome Microemulsion, especially it is made in Japan & of Squalane & Lecithin which I am fond of. I mixed it with Palmitoyl oligopeptide and palmitoyl tetrapeptide-7 peptides liposome emulsion & some other water actives like Glucosamine, Niacinamide, Glutathione etc and the serum was very smooth and moisturizing. As it claims, it penetrates into the skin very well. I will mix it with oil soluble actives in my next batch. .. ...»
This is an excellent additive for increased absorption into the skin. I personally incorporate it with the ceramide lamellar crystal emulsion and multi lamellar base cream V2. The final product delivers a soothing, calming, super moisturizing liquid that penetrates the skin and helps the healing of severe skin issues such as mine (ichthyosis, keratosis). I highly recommend this formulation for those who are not getting any relief from other products and prescription topicals. My skin is finally .. ...»
I am very happy with my purchase of SKB from BulkActives. Good quality and packaged well. I use SKB in my Vitamin C serum. Will buy from them again. Can't beat the price either! .. ...»
Excellent cold emulsifier. Easy to use and a little goes a long way. Gives product a soft luxurious feel excellent for high end personal skin care products. Wish it came in a larger size..... ...»
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Buy Lactic Acid -L(+) (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) For Skin Care

Alpha hydroxyl acids [AHAs] such as lactic acid have been used traditionally to improve the feel and complexion of the skin.  While glycolic acid has been the conventional AHA used in skin care products, lactic acid has ranked even with or outperformed lactic acid in every category and is the only AHA to maintain such success over the course of twenty-two weeks.  Lactic acid is a known exfoliant which can slough off dull skin to leave a brighter complexion.  It can also increase the synthesis of lipids and ceramides, thereby fortifying the skin barrier function and reducing water loss.  Further, lactic acid is correlated to increased hyaluronic acid and collagen synthesis, resulting in skin that is more hydrated, softer and firmer, and with fewer fine lines and wrinkles.  Topical application of lactic acid also can reduce the synthesis of melanin and decrease the appearance of hyperpigmentation or age spots.  Incorporation of lactic acid in skin care products can lighten and brighten skin while improving dermal health and reducing the appearance of photoaging.

Key benefits of Lactic acid in skin care:

  • Capillary health [10], [12]
  • Increase skin elasticity [1] [2] [8] [9]
  • Lightening & brightening [1] [2] [4]  [9]  [11]
  • Moisturizing and hydration [6] [7]
  • Reduce fine lines and wrinkles [1] [2] [8] [9]
  • Restoring barrier function [5] [6] [7]
  • Stimulate collagen production [9]
  • Stimulate HA production [8] [9]
  • Sun damage repair [1] [2] [8] [9]
  • Treat hyperpigmentation [2] [9]
Lactic Acid -L(+) (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) skin care active ingredients
Product Code: BulkActives
Assay: 87.5-88.5% w/w
CAS#: 79-33-4 (general 50-21-5) USA G
Net weight: 150g / 8.82oz
Availability: Product Out Of Stock
Price: $6.90

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Lactic Acid -L(+) (Alpha Hydroxy Acid)

About Lactic acid (Alpha Hydroxy Acid) in DIY Skin Care

Alpha hydroxy acids [AHAs] are naturally occurring acids and include glycolic acid, lactic acid, malic acid, and citric acid.  The most commonly used AHAs in cosmetics are glycolic and lactic acid, both of which have been shown to improve the appearance and feel of skin in a multitude of ways.  Studies have demonstrated that AHAs can improve the appearance of photoaging, reduce hyperpigmentation, lighten and brighten, stimulate synthesis of hyaluronic acid and collagen and hydrate the skin tissues [1]. 

It should be noted that while occasionally used in acid peels on the skin, reports of broken veins and erythema, over-thinned skin, dark pigmentation spots and pimples may result if performed by an untrained professional.   As a result, in 1997, the FDA cosmetic ingredient report [CIR] noted that AHAs are safe for at-home, every-day use in cosmetic skin creams at a concentration of 10% with a final formulation pH of 3.5 [1].  Such creams have since successfully been used to improve complexion while reducing the appearance of aging, with lactic acid emerging as the AHA of choice. 

In a study on 74 volunteers comparing cosmetic creams listing either 8% lactic acid or 8% glycolic acid as the active ingredient, lactic acid outperformed the glycolic acid in regards to reduction of overall severity of photodamage, sallowness, and skin roughness.  Lactic acid successfully reduced dark sports due to aging whereas glycolic acid had no effect.  Further, only lactic acid was able to maintain a significant improvement in all areas compared to the control throughout the entire course of the study [2].  

Because glycolic acid is a smaller compound than lactic acid it penetrates the skin more readily.  As a result it has been found to be a greater irritant than lactic acid with consumers more likely to complain about creams containing glycolic acid than lactic acid [3].  For these reasons, lactic acid is considered the superior AHA and is the optimal choice for skin care products.

Lactic acid can benefit the skin at multiple levels.  Because of the low pH of lactic acid, it efficiently exfoliates the epidermal cells in the outermost layer of the skin, the stratus corneum [SC].  Rough and dull skin of the epidermis is sloughed off and renewal of the SC is stimulated to yield a bright and fresh complexion [4].   Studies on human participants treated with a lactic acid skin care ointment have shown that treatment can stimulate synthesis of lipids and ceramides in the skin which reinforce the skin barrier, thereby reducing water loss and improving the resistance of the skin barrier to irritants [5-7].  This results in more hydrated, supple, and bright skin which is less prone to environmental irritants.

Lactic acid has proven extremely effective in multiple human studies in reducing the appearance of photoaging.  Perhaps most importantly, lactic acid is capable of increasing synthesis of hyaluronic acid, the component of the extracellular matrix which gives the skin its soft and supple texture.   Studies using fibroblasts have demonstrated that increasing concentrations of lactic acid correspond to increased levels of secreted hyaluronic acid [8].  Further, studies have demonstrated that lactic acid is associated with increased collagen levels in the skin [8, 9].  These mechanisms are responsible for younger-looking skin following topical treatment with lactic acid due to decreased appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firmer and smoother skin, and increased epidermal thickness [2, 3, 10].  Lactic acid can also directly inhibit enzymatic activity of certain tyrosinases which are responsible for melanin formation in a pH-independent manner [11].  Multiple studies involving lactic acid ointments have demonstrated that, in human volunteers, topical application decreases hyperpigmentation or the appearance of age spots when compared to vehicle alone [2, 9].  

Another skin-rejuvenating aspect of lactic acid is that it can maintain existing blood vessels and stimulate growth of new microvessels in the skin.  Studies demonstrate that lactic acid stimulates the release of vascular endothelial growth factor [VEGF], which is a potent survival factor for endothelial cells in the skin and improves the vasculature of the dermis [10, 12].  This provides necessary water, oxygen, and nutrients to the skin to help keep the skin healthy and further improve complexion.

Glycolic Acid Vs. Lactic Acid

One of the most frequently requested services in skin treatment centers is still chemical exfoliation. Why? Because it offers the client instant results and is still affordable, especially when you compare it to laser and other types of treatments being offered in doctors’ offices.

Chemical exfoliation treatments will almost always involve the use of Glycolic Acid or Lactic Acid, both of which are alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs). Ask most skin therapists which AHA they think works best and they will undoubtedly say Glycolic. But while Glycolic Acid is commonly thought of as the better of the two, independent research studies on alpha hydroxy acids have determined that this is not necessarily the case, and that Lactic Acid is the superior AHA.

Studies on these two alpha hydroxy acids have indicated that:

• Glycolic Acid, which is a smaller molecule than Lactic Acid, penetrates the skin more readily than Lactic Acid.
• Because it penetrates more readily, Glycolic Acid is more irritating to the skin than Lactic Acid.
• The activity of Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid in water-based formulas is controlled by the pH of the solution: Optimum activity is at pH 3.0-3.2 and lowering the pH below this level only causes more irritation.
• Scientific studies by Dr. Walter Smith have demonstrated that when one compares Lactic Acid to Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid stimulates cell turnover and cell renewal at a higher rate than Glycolic Acid and with less irritation.
• Unlike Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid has added benefits: it hydrates the skin, increases natural ceramides (barrier lipids) in the epidermis and whitens the skin when used at concentrations greater than 5%.

So why do both professionals and consumers think Glycolic Acid is the more beneficial AHA to use? Unfortunately, people often equate irritation with efficacy, and because Glycolic Acid causes more irritation, people tend to believe this means it’s “working.” In this case, pain does not equal gain.

Alpha hydroxy acids in the treatment room should ultimately accomplish a few main, immediate goals yet not cause inflammation, which can lead to pre-mature aging. These products should stimulate desquamation (exfoliation), trigger cell renewal and penetrate easily through the barrier lipids of the epidermis.


Note that the final CIR report from June 1997 states that lactic acid is safe in concentrations =10% at a final formulation pH of = 3.5.
You can neutralize lactic acid by adding a base such as sodium hydroxide or triethanolamine
Anyone using alpha hydroxy acids must use a good sunscreen that contains UVA and UVB protection.

Side Effects of Alpha Hydroxy Acids
  • The two major side effects of alpha hydroxy acids are irritation and sun sensitivity. Symptoms of irritation include redness, burning, itching, pain, and possibly scarring.
  • People with darker colored skin are at a higher risk of scarring pigment changes with alpha hydroxy acids.
  • The use of alpha hydroxy acids can increase sun sensitivity by 50%!
  • Alpha hydroxy acids may be able to reverse some of the damage caused by photoaging, but at the same time they make the skin more susceptible to photoaging.
  • Anyone using alpha hydroxy acids must use a good sunscreen that contains UVA and UVB protection.
  • Note that the final CIR report from June 1997 states that lactic acid is safe in concentrations =10% at a final formulation pH of = 3.5.
AHAs can increase the possibility of sunburn and sun sensitivity for up to a week after they’ve been applied. Most users don’t realize that, and may use sunscreen for a day or two, but then forget to maintain protection. Even intermittent sun exposure can damage sensitive skin.

One study showed that applying AHAs to the skin results in increased sun sensitivity, and after four weeks, volunteers’ sensitivity to skin reddening produced by UV rays increased by 18 percent, while their sensitivity to UV-ray-induced cellular damage doubled, on average.
Assay: 87.5-88.5% w/w
CAS#: 79-33-4 (general 50-21-5) USA GRAS
INCI: Lactic Acid
Description: Natural L(+)-lactic acid, which is produced by fermentation from carbohydrates.
Appearance: liquid
Solubility: comletely soluble in water and alcohol.
pH (approximate values!  You must do your own pH test!):
  • 100% : pH 0.6
  •  10%:  pH 1.90
  •   05%: pH 2.15
  •   03%: pH 2.20
  •   01%: pH 2.40
Storage: Cool, dry place. Do not freeze. Keep away from light and moisture!

Country of manfacture: Thailand
Manufacturer: Purac (The Netherlands)

Difference between L(+), D(-) and DL (racemic) lactic acid

Lactic acid is the simplest hydroxy acid with a chiral carbon atom. Due to this chirality lactic acid exists in a racemic form and in two optically active forms: L(+) and D(-). Only the L(+) form is the natural form and is present in the human body (e.g. skin, muscles and brain). Tests show that only the L(+) form is recognized by the skin, and that it also exhibits the least irritation. The D(-) form lacks some of the benefits of the L(+) form and the racemic mixture only partly possesses the benefits of the L(+) form.  L(+)-lactic acid: the natural isomer of lactic acid.

Our L(+)-lactic acid is a 100% natural products, with carbohydrates (such as beet sugar) as their raw material. The production process (fermentation with the aid of bacteria) is also natural. In addition to L(+)-natural lactic acid, there is also so-called synthetic lactic acid available on the market. This product is less suitable for use in cosmetic formulations because it triggers irritation and is only 50% active. If lactic acid or lactates are to be used in cosmetic products, always insist on natural L(+)-lactic acid!

Note that the final CIR report from June 1997 states that lactic acid is safe in concentrations =10% at a final formulation pH of = 3.5.
Anyone using alpha hydroxy acids must use a good sunscreen that contains UVA and UVB protection.

[1]          Maddin S. Current review of alpha hydroxy acids. Skin Ther Lett. 1998;3:1-2.
[2]          Stiller MJ, Bartolone J, Stern R, et al. Topical 8% glycolic acid and 8% l-lactic acid creams for the treatment of photodamaged skin: A double-blind vehicle-controlled clinical trial. Archives of Dermatology. 1996;132[6]:631-6.
[3]          Smith W. Comparative effectiveness of α‐hydroxy acids on skin properties. International journal of cosmetic science. 1996;18[2]:75-83.
[4]          Moghimipour E. Hydroxy acids, the most widely used anti-aging agents. Jundishapur J Nat Pharm Prod. 2012;7[1]:9-10.
[5]          Kim TH, Choi EH, Kang YC, Lee SH, Ahn SK. The effects of topical α-hydroxyacids on the normal skin barrier of hairless mice. British Journal of Dermatology. 2001;144[2]:267-73.
[6]          Rawlings A, Davies A, Carlomusto M, Pillai S, Zhang K, Kosturko R, et al. Effect of lactic acid isomers on keratinocyte ceramide synthesis, stratum corneum lipid levels and stratum corneum barrier function. Arch Dermatol Res. 1996;288[7]:383-90.
[7]          Berardesca E, Distante F, Vignoli GP, Oresajo C, Green B. Alpha hydroxyacids modulate stratum corneum barrier function. British Journal of Dermatology. 1997;137[6]:934-8.
[8]          Stern R, Shuster S, Neudecker BA, Formby B. Lactate Stimulates Fibroblast Expression of Hyaluronan and CD44: The Warburg Effect Revisited. Experimental Cell Research. 2002;276[1]:24-31.
[9]          Ditre CM, Griffin TD, Murphy GF, Sueki H, Telegan B, Johnson WC, et al. Effects of α-hydroxy acids on photoaged skin: Apilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1996;34[2, Part 1]:187-95.
[10]        Lavker RM, Kaidbey K, Leyden JJ. Effects of topical ammonium lactate on cutaneous atrophy from a potent topical corticosteroid. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. 1992;26[4]:535-44.
[11]        Usuki A, Ohashi A, Sato H, Ochiai Y, Ichihashi M, Funasaka Y. The inhibitory effect of glycolic acid and lactic acid on melanin synthesis in melanoma cells. Experimental Dermatology. 2003;12:43-50.
[12]        Rendl M, Mayer C, Weninger W, Tschachler E. Topically applied lactic acid increases spontaneous secretion of vascular endothelial growth factor by human reconstructed epidermis. British Journal of Dermatology. 2001;145[1]:3-9.
Note that the final CIR report from June 1997 states that lactic acid is safe in concentrations =10% at a final formulation pH of = 3.5.
Anyone using alpha hydroxy acids must use a good sunscreen that contains UVA and UVB protection.

Solubility: comletely soluble in water and alcohol.
pH (approximate values!  You must do your own pH test!):
  • 100% : pH 0.6
  •  10%:  pH 1.90
  •   5%: pH 2.15
  •   3%: pH 2.20
  •   1%: pH 2.40
 You must use an alkaline pH adjuster to bring to pH UP to 3.5
 You can neutralize lactic acid by adding a base such as sodium hydroxide or triethanolamine
Usage: Lactic acid and lactates can best be added in the aqueous phase.
The presence of lactic acid depends on the pH.  The benefits and usage levels of lactates depend on the desired functionality:
  • pH-regulation: < 0.5%          
  • Moisturizing: 0.5 - 5 %    
  • AHA effect: pH 4.0 - 5.0
  • Skin lightening: pH 3.5 - 7.0

  • Do not use more than 10%
  • Final formulation pH no less than 3.5
  • CTFA recommends the addition of an SPF for AHA formulations.
  • Alternatively you MUST wear a HIGH UVA and UVB sun protection product


L(+)-lactic acid is very stable, resulting in a shelf life of 5 years. L(+)-lactic acid is a self-preserving acid so the product does not come under attack by micro-organisms. In most commonly used temperature areas (0°C/32°F to 200°C/392°F), L(+)-lactic acid is completely stable.

Regulating the pH

L(+)-lactic acid can be used to regulate the pH in all kinds of toiletry and skin care products. In liquid products, the addition of 0.1-0.5% wt of L(+)-lactic acid is, in most cases, sufficient to produce a pH of 5-6 in the end product.


Stabilizing products containing hydroxy acids and their salts can be a problem, since typical usage levels can be relatively high. This can result in a formulation that is very acidic and/or has high levels of salt (ions). Thickening systems such as Carbopol thickeners are therefore not compatible. Most thickeners however are compatible. These include xanthan gum.

Mild formulations for (sensitive skin and no risk of irritation) with L(+)-lactic acid

L(+)-lactic acid is very effective in producing mild formulations. Commercial products for sensitive skin and/or baby products often contain L(+)-lactic acid. In order to obtain such a mild formulation it is important to set the pH of the formulation at 5.5 - 7.0. If formulated at these pH levels, mild and gentle cosmetic products can be obtained that are suitable for all skin types.

Skin lightening properties of L(+)-lactic acid

The  lightening properties of L(+)-lactic acid  is are based on the suppression of the formation of tyrosinase. As a result, the lightening effect can be achieved at (skin) neutral pH conditions (pH 5.5-7.0).

Only a few active ingredients are currently known to have tyrosinase-formation suppression abilities. The best known active is L(+)-lactic acid and its salts.

Good skin-lightening properties have been reported at higher concentrations (>5% equivalent lactic acid), making use of the independent melanogenic controlling function of the viable pigment cell.

If formulated at lower pH levels, it is presumed that the exfoliative action of L(+)-lactic acid in some way could contribute to the lightening effects of the compositions tested.

Higher concentrations of lactates

It is possible to formulate with high concentrations of  L(+)-lactic acid. Concentrations up to 15% have been reported in commercial products. The most important parameter to watch is the pH of the final formulation. As long as the pH of the formulation is higher than 5.0, mild and gentle products can be formulated with higher concentrations of L(+)-lactic acid.

You can neutralize lactic acid by adding a base such as sodium hydroxide or triethanolamine

Note that the final CIR report from June 1997 states that lactic acid is safe in concentrations =10% at a final formulation pH of = 3.5.

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