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Citric Acid

Citric Acid

What-it-does: buffering

Official CosIng Information


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 Pigmentbio H2O Brightening Micellar Water Bioderma White Objective Moussant Derma Essentia Trichoedge Hair Revitalzing Shampoo Fizz & Bubble Oatmeal, Milk & Honey Large Bath Fizzy Fizz & Bubble Unicorn Swirl Shimmer Large Bath Fizzy Hempz Pure Hemp Invigorating Bath Fizzer OXY Rapid Treatment Face Wash OXY Sensitive Face Wash Pacifica Hardcore Happy Bath Dust Shower & Bath Fizz Bioderma Sébium Global Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub Bougas Beauty Advanced Serum Cotton Tree Baby Wipes Non Parfum Derma Essentia Mattifying Moisturiser Eminence Organic Skin Care Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Instant Resurfacing Peel with 9.9% AHAs + BHA Matrix Total Results High Amplify Shampoo Matrix Total Results Re Bond Shampoo PG Queen Toner Phục hồi da Perricone MD Dmae Firming Pads The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Shampoo Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Smoothing Serum Ultraceuticals Even Skintone Smoothing Serum Concentrate 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 Equate Hydrating Facial Serum Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vitamin C Brightening Powder Galderma Soolantra Good virtues co. Gvc Brightening Day Cream Hada Labo Goku-Jyun Mist Manyo Factory Zaodam Zazac-Namoo Toner 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 System Professional Volumize Shampoo Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment pHisoderm Ph Clinical For Blemish-Prone Skin pronexa Lavish Lash 111SKIN Vitamin C Brightening Booster 111SKIN Vitamin C Brightening Booster BERRISOM Oops My Lip Tint Pack Beauty Bay Skin Fixer Clay Mask Beauty Without Cruelty Facial Toner, Balancing Bioderma Créaline (Sensibio) Foaming Gel