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

Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub Perricone MD Dmae Firming Pads Youth To The People Age Prevention Serum Youth To The People Superfood Firm And Brighten Serum Acure Incredibly Clear Acne Spot Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control 3-In-1 Foaming Wash Neostrata Ultra Smoothing Lotion Skin Therapy Eternal Jellyfish Complex Rejuvenating Gel Exfoliator Spring Valley Hyaluronic Acid Serum Stridex Maximum Strength Medicated Pads Tarte Knockout Tingling Treatment Dirty Works (Sainsbury's) 3 In 1 Gentle Micellar Cleansing Water Eucerin Dermopurifyer Cleanser Institut Esthederm Intensive Aha Peel Gentle Serum Mixa Micellar Water Anti-Imperfection Stridex Daily Care Acne Pads With Aloe For Sensitive Skin Thayers Unscented Witch Hazel With Aloe Vera Alcohol-Free Toner Valeant Biacna Dr. Barbara Stürm Cleanser DrGL Moisturiser All Skin Types Eucerin Dermopure Cleansing Gel Garnier Skinactive Hydra Bomb Tuchmaske Grüntee + Hyaluronsäure + Feuchtigkeitspendendes Serum Glossier Super Pure Hada Labo Mild & Sensitive Skin Face Wash Kenzoki Fresh Lotus Water Organic Shop Body Scrub - Organic Mango & Sugar PCA Nutrient Toner Aesop Colour Protection Shampoo Aesop Lucent Facial Concentrate Alpha-H Vitamin C Serum Bioderma Abcderm H2O Water Biodegradable Wipes Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser Dermadoctor Kakadu C Serum Doctor Babor Thermal Spray Free & Clear Liquid Cleanser For Sensitive Skin FÜNFSINNE Multi Tonic 6% Aha Gesichtswasser Und Peeling Musq Cosmetics Gel Cleanser Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask R10 Labs Hybrid Iq Shaving Gel-Oil RAU Aha Tonic Skin Inc. Pure Serum-Mist Thayers Alcohol-Free Cucumber Witch Hazel Toner Thayers Alcohol-Free Original Witch Hazel Toner The Ordinary Salicylic Acid 2% Solution Valjean Labs Restore Facial Serum A'KIN Soft & Fragrance Free Micellar Water Bioderma Atoderm Huile De Douche Biyougeneki Super Hyaluronic Acid & Astaxanthin Lotion Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Liquid Soap- Baby Unscented