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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 Foaming Cream 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 Lush Sex Bomb OXY Rapid Treatment Face Wash OXY Sensitive Face Wash Pacifica Hardcore Happy Bath Dust Shower & Bath Fizz Tripollar Geneo Personal Capsule Bioderma Sébium Global Biore Baking Soda Cleansing Scrub Bougas Beauty Advanced Serum Cotton Tree Baby Wipes Non Parfum DermDoc Niacinamide & Vitamin C Serum Derma Essentia Mattifying Moisturiser Eminence Organic Skin Care Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant Estee Lauder Perfectionist Pro Instant Resurfacing Peel with 9.9% AHAs + BHA L'Oreal Professionnel Citramine Pure Resource Oil Controlling Purifying Shampoo Matrix Total Results High Amplify Shampoo Matrix Total Results Re Bond Shampoo Merumaya Gentle Exfoliating Toner Nini Organica Natura Detox Foam PG Queen Toner Phục hồi da Perricone MD Dmae Firming Pads Susanne Kaufmann Hyaluron Serum The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea Shampoo Truth treatments Aha Energizing Mineral Exfoliator™ 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 Artnaturals Luxe Vitamin C Serum Bübchen Baby Öl Clarena Anti-Hiperpigmentation Cream Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Control 3-In-1 Foaming Wash Equate Hydrating Facial Serum Erbolario Maschera Viso Con Argilla Bianca E Verde E Propoli Fresh Vitamin Nectar Vitamin C Brightening Powder Galderma Soolantra Glory Pumpkin Enzyme Mask Good virtues co. Gvc Brightening Day Cream Hada Labo Goku-Jyun Mist Kalahari Vita-Gel Mask Manyo Factory Zaodam Zazac-Namoo Toner Mary Kay Clear Proof® Blemish Control Toner** Neostrata Glycolic Renewal Smoothing Lotion Neostrata Ultra Smoothing Lotion