Dairy Queen Cleopatra: Lactic Acid

What things come to mind when you think about bath time?

Warm, soothing water? Fragrant, cleansing bubbles?

How about sour milk? That doesn’t sound luxurious to you?

Well this wasn’t the case for Cleopatra. Renowned for her beauty and impeccable skin, she was known to bath in sour milk to help keep her skin stay radiant and soft. While this  sounds a little strange to us, she might have been on to something!

Now you might be thinking: “But Julie, you said you’d be talking about lactic acid, what does that have to do with Cleopatra and her weird bathing habits?!”

Let me explain: Lactic acid (C3H6O3), categorized as an “Alpha hydroxy acid” might not look like much, but it’s a pretty powerful little molecule!


It’s created by the fermentation and breakdown of carbohydrates such as sugars, including the lactose found in… you guessed it, MILK! So maybe Cleopatra’s bath wasn’t so far fetched after all. This acid is great at breaking down the “glue” attaching skin cells to each other, working as great exfoliator. This allows the oldest layers on top to be replaced by the newer, healthier, “glow-ier” skin below. Eventually, this will help reduce the appearance of fine lines, improve your complexion and brighten skin tone. It can even help reduce acne scars and fade hyperpigmentation.

However, as with any good thing, moderation and proper use is key! Because you are removing the old layers of skin, the newer, softer skin below might be a bit more sensitive. Be sure to wear a good sunblock to protect your fresh new skin from harmful rays, and only use these stronger products every few days to give your skin time to fully regenerate and “toughen up”.

If you’re looking for some suggestions for some products containing lactic acid, fear not, you won’t have to resort to that carton of milk that’s been sitting in your fridge for too long. Thankfully there are many more pleasant choices available on the market today. One of my favorites products is one from South Korea; the COSRX AHA/ BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner. As somebody who has suffered from oily skin and acne, I have found that this toner has really helped clear up my skin and keeps my face from turning into an oil slick by the end of the day. I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking to do the same! You can purchase it by clicking here.

I’ve also included a link to a collection of lactic acid skin care products that are available at Sephora! They’ve put together a pretty great selection of skin care that is just waiting to help your new skin shine! Click here to visit the selection of products they have to offer.

But just in case your curiosity is getting the best of you and you were interested in channeling your inner Cleopatra to try a milk bath for yourself , you can find a DIY recipe here. (I promise it doesn’t call for spoiled milk either 🙂 )

What are some of your favorite lactic acid skin products? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences using them, and of course any other questions or comments you’d like to share! So please feel free to comment below!

Until next time, keep a scientific eye on the world and a happy thought in your head! 😉

❤ Julie




  1. Julie! Love your new blog! (: I think I’ll give the COSRX toner a try from South Korea. My skin is oily! Well my t-zone atleast. Looking forward to your next blog! I’ve always wondered what acids were good for what type of face like salicylic for example! Maybe one day you can write more about it (:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Jane! I’m so excited that you are enjoying it! And thanks for the idea. Salicylic acid would be a great one to cover since it’s in so many products available on the market. Keep an eye out for new posts, I’m hoping to get one up on the next few days! 😀


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