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Years ago, when my children started running cross-country, they sometimes complained about sore muscles and cramps. When their coach told them that lactic acid buildup was causing their muscle soreness, they got quite confused.
"Lactic acid is in goat milk," they condescendingly told their coach. (Gotta love farm kids raised on goat milk! LOL)
And while science has shown that lactic acid is most likely not the cause of your burning muscles during exercise, the truth is that lactic acid is found in both your body and in goat milk.
And lactic acid has many benefits for your skin!
"As always, great quality soap. It is the only soap I will use. My skin is healthy and has a healthy glow." - Patricia P.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Let's first talk about what exactly lactic acid is.
Lactic acid is a chemical and one type of Alpha Hydroxy Acid. It occurs naturally in food like raw milk. But lactic acid can also be created synthetically in a lab or it can be produced naturally by lactic acid bacteria.
Lactic acid bacteria are good bacteria that digest simple carbohydrates and produce lactic acid and other by products such as carbon dioxide and ethanol.
How do they do this? Let me paraphrase Christina Ward's graphic illustration to children:
When making wine, yeast eats grapes and poops out alcohol.
When making fermented foods like sauerkraut or yogurt, lactic acid bacteria eats carbohydrates and poops out lactic acid.
Graphic, I know. But this word picture quite accurately captures what is happening.
It is lactic acid which lowers the pH of fermented foods and helps preserve the food against spoilage. It also gives the food the tanginess most people either love or hate.
It is important to realize that even though lactic acid is naturally found in goat milk - it's not actually a dairy product. In fact, lactic acid is 100% vegan. It is often associated with dairy because it was first isolated by Carl Wilhelm who used spoiled milk to identify it.
Lactic acid is not just for preserving food. Lactic acid also has many benefits for your skin. But let's talk about where lactic acid is found before we talk about how it is beneficially used on your skin.
According to Live Science, lactic acid can be found in your body in many places. Lactic acid is in your muscles:
When you're exercising at a high intensity — and your body needs a lot of energy quickly — your fast-twitch muscle fibers will kick in and start producing energy anaerobically (without oxygen.) The fibers will still be relying on the glycolysis process to produce this energy, but as the pyruvate chemical can't be harvested for this purpose it gets turned into a waste produce instead: lactic acid.
Lactic acid is in your red blood cells:
Muscle cells aren't the only sources of lactic acid. Red blood cells also produce lactic acid as they roam the body.
Lactic acid is in your gut:
Many species of bacteria also respire anaerobically and produce lactic acid as a waste product. In fact, these species make up between 0.01-1.8% of the human gut, according to a review published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. The more sugar these little guys eat, the more lactic acid they produce.
And lactic acid is in your mouth:
Slightly more insidious are the lactic acid bacteria that live in our mouths. Because of the acidifying effect they have on saliva, these bacteria are bad news for tooth enamel, according to a study published in Microbiology.
I admit, I had no idea that lactic acid was so prevalent in our bodies. And it's not a bad thing:
In fact, research in Bioscience Horizons suggests that lactate [what lactic acid becomes in our bodies] is beneficial to the body during and after exercise in numerous ways. For example, lactate can be used directly by the brain and heart for energy or converted into glucose in the liver or kidneys, which can then be used by nearly any cell in the body for energy.
It can get a little complicated, but it's important to realize that lactic acid is found naturally inside your body.
All milk, including goat milk, contains milk sugars called lactose. Beneficial lactic acid bacteria in fermented dairy products like buttermilk, yogurt, and kefir use anaerobic respiration to break the lactose down into lactic acid.
And foods like sauerkraut are often fermented by lactic acid bacteria. This is called lacto-fermentaion for short.
Remember that lactic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid. There are many alpha hydroxy acids. According to WebMD:
Alpha hydroxy acids are a group of natural acids found in foods. Alpha hydroxy acids include citric acid (found in citrus fruits), glycolic acid (found in sugar cane), lactic acid (found in sour milk and tomato juice), malic acid (found in apples), tartaric acid (found in grapes), and others.
"I've been using this soap every day for about nine months, and it's really helped calm down acne. I've tried so many different cleansers and systems since I was a teen, and nothing has helped since this Tea Tree soap. The soap foams well, and it's very gentle. It feels so amazing on my skin, sometimes I get caught up in the cleansing. It doesn't dry me out. I love that one bar has lasted so long. I will definitely be keeping this soap around!!" - Cherie
According to BioMed Central, "The raw goat milk microbiota is considered a good source of novel bacteriocinogenic lactic acid bacteria (LAB) strains."
And because lactic acid is naturally found in raw goat milk, it is also found in your goat milk soap - which is great for your skin.
So now we can talk about the benefits of lactic acid for your skincare.
As mentioned earlier, lactic acid is just one type of alpha hydroxy acid. But unlike the other alpha hydroxy acids, lactic acid helps to hydrate your skin. This leaves it feeling less dry.
Lactic acid dissolves the bonds that hold dead skin cells together. By removing these dull, old skin cells, your skin can look fresher and younger.
After exfoliating, lactic acid will also help you turnover dead skin cells faster and can also stimulate cell renewal. New skin cells will give you smoother and softer skin as well as a brighter complexion.
At certain concentrations, lactic acid helps the skin get firmer and thicker which improves the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Lactic acid can stimulate the renewal of collagen which is a fiber that keeps the skin firm.
As you age or get extensive sun exposure, spots on your skin can have increased amounts of melanin. Lactic acid can help fade age spots.
Lactic acid is an effective antimicrobial and can help with various skin issues. Low concentrations of lactic acid have been shown to reduce inflammatory lesions in people with acne.
With KP, skin cells can build up around hair follicles and cause bumpiness. Lactic acid helps dissolve these skin cells which can lead to smoother skin.
Because of all these powerful benefits of lactic acid, regular use can leave your skin looking and feeling healthier.
"I have used the Purity Goat Milk Bath for the past two weeks. I soak for 20 minutes and shower off. My skin is smooth and my keratosis pilaris is healing. Thank you." - Jana K.
Many commercial skincare products contain chemical lactic acid in high concentrations. People who read about the benefits of lactic acid hope that these high concentrations will speed up the time it takes to achieve the skincare benefits of lactic acid. And so they start using products such as chemical peels that contain lactic acid. But in these high concentrations, lactic acid can cause:
Naturally occurring lactic acid found in goat milk soap should not cause any of these strong reactions.
Instead, goat milk soap will gently and naturally give you the benefits of lactic acid as you continue to use it over time. The lactic acid in goat milk soap is perfect for people with extremely sensitive skin who need to take extra care and be gentle with their skin.
Ongoing use of lactic acid-containing goat milk soap have led many people to:
Isn't that what you want?
"I love the Purity soap! My face feels so soft after washing it. My skin doesn’t feel tight & dried out. Such a great product!" - Susan
If you haven't already been using goat milk soap for your skin, what are you waiting for? We recommend starting with the unscented Purity soap if you have any sensitivities or skin conditions.
Once you've used the Purity, you can experiment with other unscented soaps or even try different scented soaps if your skin is healthy.
"Absolutely LOVE the Oatmeal Milk and Honey soap. It has an amazing scent. I’ve been using Purity for quite awhile and decided to give this one a try. I always feel so clean after using these soaps, not to mention how great it is for my skin." - Paul L.
At Goat Milk Stuff, our purpose is to bring you joy through the goodness of goat milk. We know that healthy skin is happy skin and we want to enable you to find the joy that healthy skin can bring. Goat milk soap that naturally contains lactic acid is great for keeping your skin healthy and happy.
Let us know what benefits lactic acid and goat milk soap have brought to your skin!
PJ & Crew
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