Citric acid is a common AHA extracted from, you guessed it, citrus fruits.
As it is an AHA, it has the ability to exfoliate skin. However, it can also be used to change the pH of a formulation.
To be able to exfoliate skin, citric acid has to be formulated at a high concentration. Therefore, other AHA’s such as; glycolic and lactic acid, tend to be used more often.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much research of citric acid, especially when it pertains to it’s use in skincare.
We know it is an AHA, which means it functions similarly to glycolic and lactic acid. From that we also know, it can make a formulation less alkaline because it is acidic.
When it comes to whether or not you should use it, it really depends on how your skin reacts to it. It has be known to cause more irritation than it’s AHA counterparts.
That’s something major to take into consideration.
However, it is likely to produce the same affect as other AHA’s, so if you’re already using one, there isn’t much need to add citric acid to your routine.
It’s other main use in skincare is to do with changing the pH of a formulation. Using highly alkaline or highly acidic skincare isn’t the biggest issue in the beauty realm.
However, according to a 2006 study, the ideal pH for skin is 5. If you feel like your skincare is too alkaline, why not try it!
Lambers H, Piessens S, Bloem A, Pronk H, Finkel P. Natural skin surface pH is on average below 5, which is beneficial for its resident flora. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2006 Oct;28(5):359-70. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-2494.2006.00344.x. PMID: 18489300.
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