Substance information

"Calcium..." refers to a calcium salt. Lactates are salts or esters of lactic acid (2-hydroxypropanoic acid).

Function(s) of this ingredient in cosmetic products


Contracting and/or tightening the skin


Controls the pH of cosmetic products


Helps to remove the layers of dead skin cells from the skin surface



Background information on use in cosmetics

Lactic acid is in chemical terms a hydroxy carbonic acid; an alkane acid which has both a carboxy group and a hydroxy group. Lactic acid is a colourless to slightly yellowish syrup-like liquid which can be easily mixed with alcohol and water. It is an endogenous substance which occurs as L-(+) lactic acid in sweat, blood, muscle serum, kidney, bile and in saliva. It is an alpha-hydroxy acid which has hygroscopic properties. The salts and esters of the lactic acid are referred to as lactates. In the form of lactate, lactic acid is an important intermediate product in the metabolism, for instance, as a product of the degradation of sugars by lactic acid fermentation. Lactic acid occurs, amongst others, in the so-called hydrolipidic film – the acid protection mantle of the skin. It contributes towards keeping the pH value of the skin in balance. Apart from other substances like proteins, sugar and urea, lactic acid ensures, on the basis of its hygroscopic properties, a good moisture penetration of the skin. In skincare products such as skin creams lactic acid (INCI: LACTIC ACID; salts: LACTATE) are frequently used for the care of dry skin areas. In combination with other substances, lactic acid also regulates the pH value of the caring product. In this way it is ensured that the protective acid mantle of the skin is not impaired at an application of the product. Because of its keratolytic properties (resolving the keratinisation), lactic acid is, moreover, used in care products for the skin and stratum corneum refinement. In liquid soaps lactic acid is likewise used, since it has an antibacterial effect.

Belongs to the following substance groups

Understanding your cosmetics

How are cosmetics kept safe in Europe?

Strict laws make sure that cosmetics and personal care products sold in the European Union are safe for people to use. Companies, national and European regulatory authorities share the responsibility of keeping cosmetic products safe.

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What should I know about endocrine disruptors?

Some ingredients used in cosmetic products have been claimed to be ‘endocrine disruptors’ because they have the potential to mimic some of the properties of our hormones. Just because something has the potential to mimic a hormone does not mean it will disrupt our endocrine system. Many substances, including natural ones, mimic hormones but very few, and these are mostly potent medicines, have ever been shown to cause disruption of the endocrine system. The rigorous product safety assessments by qualified, scientific experts that companies are legally obliged to carry out cover all potential risks, including potential endocrine disruption.

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Are cosmetics tested on animals? No!

In the European Union, testing cosmetics on animals has been fully banned since 2013. Over the last 30 years, long before a ban was in place, the cosmetics and personal care industry has invested in research and development to pioneer alternatives to animal testing tools to assess the safety of cosmetics ingredients and products.

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What about allergens in cosmetics?

Many substances, natural or man-made, have the potential to cause an allergic reaction. An allergic reaction occurs when a person’s immune system reacts to substances that are harmless to most people. A substance that causes an allergic reaction is called an allergen. Cosmetics and personal care products may contain ingredients that can be allergenic for some people. This does not mean that the product is not safe for others to use.

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