Index Peeling

Lactobionic Acid Peel

Lactobionic acid (4-O-β-galactopyranosyl-D-gluconic acid) belongs to polyhydroxy acids. Formed by oxidation of milk sugar (a disaccharide named lactose), it consists of gluconic acid and galactose bonded via an ether linkage.

Lactobionic acid has not been used in cosmetology until recently. Previously, it has been used in medicine only as a stabilizer during organ transplantation and preparation of antibacterial intravenous infusions. Thanks to its unique ability to form metal chelate compounds with several oxidation states, including iron-containing compounds, lactobionic acid has no match for its stabilizing properties.

The lactobionic acid peel belongs to next generation chemical peels. It has an integrated effect on skin and is suitable for patients from different age groups. Thanks to minimal irritative effect, it can be successfully performed even on sensitive skin that is prone to acne.

Indications for Use of Lactobionic Acid Peels:

1. skin aging;
2. premature aging;
3. hyperpigmentation;
4. reduced skin elasticity;
5. skin predisposed toward allergies;
6. wrinkles – both fine lines, and age-related deep wrinkles;
7. downturning mouth, sagging face;
8. scars and ingrown hairs ;
9. photoaging.

Polyhydroxy acids penetrate the skin gradually, layer by layer. Due to this fact, their use in peel treatments does not cause strong burning sensation and irritation of skin.

A lactobionic acid peel can be safely combined with other skin treatments, like laser skin resurfacing and microdermabrasion, which helps to achieve a more visible cosmetic effect. This makes it stand out among other peel treatments.

Contraindications for use of lactobionic acid peels are as follows:

- skin disorders in acute inflammatory phase;
- pregnancy (any trimester), lactation;
- high body temperature;
- epilepsy, mental disorders;
- pediatric use;
- allergy to any of the peel components;
- active herpes infection;
- pustules on skin containing purulonecrotic material.

Chemical peels should be performed in a cosmetology licensed space and only by experienced and skilled professionals. Violation of any hygiene or safety rules may lead to severe skin burns, unmanageable allergies, scarring, and hyperpigmentation.

AIDS and HIV are relative contraindications for this kind of treatment; possibility of a chemical peel should be considered on a strictly individual basis. In some cases, such cosmetological treatments are prohibited due to pathologically low level of immunity and bad skin regeneration.

In case of herpes infection, no matter active or not, one should receive preventive treatment before a lactobionic acid peel. People who have been taking isotretinoin should wait six months after the last use of a drug, because such medications slow down lymph circulation and disrupt blood flow, which may decelerate cell regeneration in a post-peel period.

In patients with psoriasis, chemical peels may cause exacerbation of pre-existing disease and wider spread of psoriatic plaques on skin.

Unique Properties of Lactobionic Acid

1. Regeneration. Lactobionic acid includes galactose, which is famous for its wound-healing properties. The acid allows for repair of damaged skin structures and faster regeneration. Thanks to its unique ability to stimulate wound healing, it can be used successfully on skin that is prone to acne and inflammation.

2. Gradual skin penetration. Lactobionic acid has considerable molecular mass and consists of relatively big molecules. As a result, it penetrates skin gradually, layer by layer, which is less damaging than peels performed with glycolic or lactic acids. Thanks to gradual penetration, lactobionic acid does not cause severe burning sensation during the treatment or complications after the peel.

3. High biocompatibility with human skin. Skin easily adjusts to the lactobionic acid; when all stages of the chemical peel are performed properly, no severe flaking, itching, or hyperemia occur.

4. Anti-photoaging activity. Lactobionic acid inhibits matrix metalloproteinases, which are the main cause of skin aging. They destroy the major components of the extracellular matrix of the skin, collagen in particular, causing elasticity loss, deep wrinkles and a sagging face. Metalloproteinases are responsible for skin aging process and the development of telangiectasias – oblong red areas on the face. Their activity is stimulated by long-term exposure to sunlight and leads to rapid photoaging.

5. Antioxidant properties. Lactobionic acid can function as a link between iron ions, providing strong antioxidant effect. It removes free radical intermediates and protects skin from dangerous UV radiation.

6. Deep moisturizing. Lactobionic acid helps to moisturize skin. It is capable of adsorbing water and trapping it inside the skin even when the skin is exposed to adverse weather conditions, i.e. increasingly dry air, for a long period of time. Lactobionic acid creates a water film on the surface of skin, which helps to tackle signs of skin dryness, itching, and tightness for a long time.

7. Peeling action. Lactobionic acid activates renewal of cell structures, allows for deep cleansing and gentle removal of dead cells, and particles of dust and dirt that cause clogged pores.

8. Capable of being used at any time of the year. Both mandelic and lactobionic acids effectively protect skin from UV radiation. Thanks to this fact, peel treatments can be performed in any season, even in summer, without fear of developing unexpected side effects, like freckles or pigment spots.

9. Rejuvenation, improved skin firmness. The skin is rejuvenated thanks to the acid’s ability to increase collagen production and slow down photoaging.

10. Astonishing recovery from damaging skin treatments – laser skin resurfacing, plastic surgery, or microdermabrasion.

Main Advantages of Lactobionic Acid Peel

1. Dead skin cells are removed gently, causing no skin irritation. There are fewer signs of facial skin irritation and acne after the lactobionic acid peel.

2. Skin becomes smoother. Thanks to its ability to cleanse skin, normalize metabolic processes, affect fibroblasts, and increase collagen production, this kind of peel helps to rejuvenate and lift skin and removes even deep wrinkles.

3. Hyperpigmentation is reduced. The lactobionic acid peel removes dead skin cells, stimulates exfoliation process, and lightens skin, making pigment spots less visible.

4. Increase in skin hydration. Thanks to the acid’s ability to trap moisture in skin, lactobionic acid peels are popular in countries with dry, hot climate, and can be successfully used on extremely dry skin.

5. Brief recovery period. Lactobionic acid peels damage skin only slightly. One can get back to normal lifestyle and start going out almost immediately after the peel treatment.

6. Acne is reduced. Thanks to deep cleansing combined with smoothing and anti-inflammatory properties, this kind of chemical peel helps to reduce the amount of pimples and blackheads.

The lactobionic acid peel destroys skin cells at different depths, which leads to faster collagen production and cell renewal. Naturally, the treatment damages skin to some extent, but it also significantly stimulates formation of new cells, making skin younger and firmer. The chemical components of the acid restore epidermal barrier; epidermis once again becomes capable of trapping moisture.

The lactobionic acid peel treatment requires special skin preparation, which usually helps to prevent any serious post-peel side effects.

Stages of a Lactobionic Acid Peel

Pre-peel Preparation

Two weeks prior to the peel treatment, it is recommended to use retinoids, fruit acids with low degree of acidity, whitening products (arbutin, ascorbic and kojic acids, milfoil extract, extracts of lemon, parsley, and cucumber), antioxidants (selenium, vitamins, succinic acid), moisturizers (hyaluronic acid and glycerin), and sunscreens.
The purpose of the pre-peel preparation is to smooth the outermost skin layer (the horned layer), accelerate regenerative processes, and facilitate deeper penetration of the chemical constituents of the acid into the skin. Meticulous pre-peel preparation reduces the risk of developing unnecessary pigmentation after a chemical peel, as well as skin inflammation and flaking.

One should take only the recommended dose of aromatic retinoids and stop using them one week prior to the lactobionic acid peel treatment. They are capable of increasing the depth of acid peel penetration and therefore may cause skin burns. Damaging cosmetological treatments (depilation, laser skin resurfacing) should be performed no later than one week prior to the proposed peel procedure.
If concentration of the acid used during the first peel is low, then pre-peel preparation might not be required. Highly pigmented skin requires long-term pre-peel care. In this case, one should start using fruit acids several weeks before the peel treatment, combining them with whitening products such as citric acid, arbutin, and bearberry extract.

Why is pre-peel preparation essential?

1. The use of acids with low concentration and whitening products prepares the skin for more aggressive peel solutions.
2. Pre-peel preparation helps to find out before the peel treatment if a patient might suffer from allergies and prevent the development of more serious complications.
3. The skin becomes considerably smoother and thinner, which allows for fast and even penetration of peel solutions into the skin, under proper control from a cosmetologist.
4. Pre-peel preparation reduces the production of melanin to prevent patient’s skin from developing excessive pigmentation after the treatment performed with concentrated lactobionic acid.

Lactobionic Acid Peel Procedure

How is lactobionic acid peel treatment performed?

Skin Cleansing

Special milk is used for cleansing purposes. It contains hyaluronic acid, which affects skin rather gently and can be used even on the eyelids. Then a patient’s face is cleaned with a tonic, which also contains a small amount of acid. Next, a cosmetic gel containing glycolic acid is applied. The gel effectively removes all traces of grease, as well as particles of dirt and dust from skin surface. It allows for skin smoothing and even penetration of lactobionic acid. The use of the gel below the eyelids is strictly prohibited. In some beauty parlors, cleansers containing soap or alkalines are used; this is, however, not recommended as they disturb pH balance of skin and reduce the overall positive effect of the peel treatment.

Application of Lactobionic Acid

The acid is applied with a brush in the following order: first, on the forehead and temples; then, on cheeks, neck and chin, proceeding to medial face and non-moving face areas. It is recommended to protect the eyes with special sponges to prevent accidental spillage of the acid into the eyes and keep a patient from opening her eyes during application of the peel solution. 5% lactobionic acid is commonly used, although there are other available concentrations – from 2% to 10%.


Time of exposure differs in accordance with individual body reaction, the extent of hyperemia, pre-existing pigmentation, acid concentration, and other factors. If strong burning sensation or massive red spots occur, one should immediately terminate the procedure. Normally, the neutralizing agent is used no later than 10-15 minutes from the beginning of acid application.

Removal of Lactobionic Acid Remnants from Skin Surface
After the use of a neutralizer, the face is washed with a large amount of water. Next, the face is treated with moisturizing and anti-inflammatory products. A patient is given thorough instructions on the healthy skin regimen that should be followed at home after the peel.

Lactobionic acid peel includes 6 treatments performed every 15 days.

Post-peel Care

The use of melanogenesis inhibitors and products protecting from UV radiation is essential within several months after the peel treatment. The skin should be constantly moisturized as intensive moisturization of epidermis considerably minimizes the risk of scarring and allows for normal epithelization of tissues.

Within 12 hours after the peel treatment one should avoid direct sunlight and contact with water. Only after this time period is over, a patient is allowed to wash her face with boiled, warm water or herbal infusion that prevents inflammation. It is strictly forbidden to mechanically accelerate the regenerative process, by scratching off the crusted skin.

Modern products for post-peel care are meant to prevent inflammatory process and development of complications. To protect skin from water loss and bacterial flora one should use products containing hyaluronic acid and aloe extract that cover skin with invisible protective film.

It is required to use products with antioxidant properties containing green tea or grape stones, as well as anti-inflammatory products with witch hazel extract, extracts of marigold and arnica. Oral administration of vitamin formulas, active antioxidants, and vasoprotectives is recommended.

Possible Complications

1. Outbreak of herpes infection. If there are any signs of herpes infection, one should visit a doctor who prescribes antiviral ointments and drugs.

2. Tissue swelling, redness.

3. Skin flaking. Inconsiderable skin flaking may occur after a chemical peel and be present for a week. This is an absolutely normal response.

4. Infection outbreak. Can be caused by hygiene offences during a peel treatment or unhealthy skin regimen in the post-peel period.

5. Exacerbation of chronic skin diseases.

6. Hyperkeratosis

7. Hyperpigmentation.

8. Allergies.

After a lactobionic acid peel a patient is required to see her doctor for regular physical check-ups. If there are any unexpected side effects – like swelling, hyperemia, itching, bleeding, purulent discharge, or inflammation – one should immediately visit a dermatologist for examination and medical treatment.

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