Lactic and lactobionic acids as typically moisturizing compounds

Int J Dermatol. 2019 Mar;58(3):374-379. doi: 10.1111/ijd.14202. Epub 2018 Sep 30.


Background: Recently more attention has been drawn to alpha hydroxy and polyhydroxy acids (AHA and PHA) due to their excellent moisturizing and antioxidant properties. These compounds are very beneficial in terms of both cosmetic and dermatological treatments.

Objective: The aim of this study was an assessment of moisturizing properties of lactobionic and lactic acids based on available literature.

Methods: Literature review using scientific databases: PubMed, Medline (EBSCO), Medline Complete, Karger, Springer/ICM, SpringerLink/online, Wiley Online Library.

Results and conclusions: Through their construction, alpha AHA and PHA are able to bind large amounts of water and act as potent antioxidant agents through inhibition of matrix metalloproteinases and strong chelating properties. Another important characteristic is the maintenance of the epidermal barrier integrity during application of lactic acid (LAC) and lactobionic acid (LA) and thus the opportunity to use them on sensitive skin types including couperose skin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disaccharides / chemical synthesis
  • Disaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Lactic Acid / chemical synthesis*
  • Lactic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena / drug effects*


  • Disaccharides
  • Lactic Acid
  • lactobionic acid