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Citric Acid

Citric Acid

What-it-does: exfoliant, buffering


Citric acid comes from citrus fruits and is an AHA. If these magic three letters don’t tell you anything, click here and read our detailed description on glycolic acid, the most famous AHA. 

So citric acid is an exfoliant, that can - just like other AHAs - gently lift off the dead skin cells of your skin and make it more smooth and fresh. 

There is also some research showing that citric acid with regular use (think three months and 20% concentration) can help sun-damaged skin, increase skin thickness and some nice hydrating things called glycosaminoglycans in the skin. 

But according to a comparative study done in 1995, citric acid has less skin improving magic properties than glycolic or lactic acid. Probably that’s why citric acid is usually not used as an exfoliant but more as a helper ingredient in small amounts to adjust the pH of a formulation. 

Show me some proof

  • Dermatologic Surgery, Volume 23 (8) – Aug 1, 1997, Citric Acid Increases Viable Epidermal Thickness and Glycosaminoglycan Content of Sundamaged Skin
  • Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Volume 34, Issue 2, Part 1, , February 1996, Pages 187–195, Effects of α-hydroxy acids on photoaged skin: Apilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study
  • International Journal of Cosmetic Science, , Volume 18 (2) – Apr 1, 1996, Comparative effectiveness of α‐hydroxy acids on skin properties

Products with Citric Acid

Amara Beauty Aloe Vera Gel Bioderma White Objective Moussant Fizz & Bubble Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Large Bath Fizzy Fizz & Bubble Unicorn Swirl Shimmer Large Bath Fizzy Hempz Pure Hemp Invigorating Bath Fizzer OXY Sensitive Face Wash Pacifica Hardcore Happy Bath Dust Shower & Bath Fizz Bioderma Sébium Global Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub Eminence Organic Skin Care Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Instant Resurfacing Peel with 9.9% AHAs + BHA Perricone MD Dmae Firming Pads The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Shampoo Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Smoothing Serum Youth To The People Age Prevention Serum Youth To The People Superfood Firm And Brighten Serum Acure Incredibly Clear Acne Spot Bübchen Baby Öl Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control 3-In-1 Foaming Wash Galderma Soolantra Hada Labo Goku-Jyun Mist Neostrata Ultra Smoothing Lotion Skin Therapy Eternal Jellyfish Complex Rejuvenating Gel Exfoliator Sonia Roselli Sexapeel Spring Valley Hyaluronic Acid Serum Stridex Maximum Strength Medicated Pads Superdrug Calm Skin Blemish Rescue Gel Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment pronexa Lavish Lash 111SKIN Vitamin C Brightening Booster BERRISOM Oops My Lip Tint Pack Bioderma Créaline (Sensibio) Foaming Gel Boyzz Only No Nonsense Detangler Childs Farm Childs Farm Sensitive Scalp Conditioner, Unfragranced Childs Farm Organic Fig Hair Conditioner Differin Dark Spot Correcting Treatment Dirty Works (Sainsbury's) 3 In 1 Gentle Micellar Cleansing Water ElsheSkin Radiant Skin Serum Eucerin Dermopurifyer Cleanser Eucerin Ph5 Soft Shower Eucerin Sensitive Skin Washlotion Giovanni Direct Leave In Conditioner Institut Esthederm Intensive Aha Peel Gentle Serum Jean D'Arcel Hyaluron Pur2 Johnson and Johnson Johnson'S Baby Shampoo Jowae Purifying Cleansing Gel KAMINOMOTO Medicated Shampoo Mixa Micellar Water Anti-Imperfection NeoCutis Hyalis Hydrating Serum Neutrogena Deep Clean Purifying Micellar Cleansing Towelettes