Citric Acid is an alpha hydroxy acid found in citrus fruits like lemons and limes that’s commonly used in skin care products. Not only does it gently exfoliate the skin, but it’s safe for most skin types as well.
Resurfacing effects are achieved due to its high concentration of a-hydroxy acids (AHAs). This type of exfoliant improves skin texture and elasticity by peeling away dead cells, helping smooth out wrinkles and fine lines.
Citric acid not only removes dead skin cells but it also stimulates collagen production. Collagen helps keep skin firm and smooth, and as we age our collagen levels decline we may notice fine lines and wrinkles appearing. At low concentrations AHAs like citric acid can stimulate collagen production to reverse these signs of aging and help combat their signs.
Rodney notes that rosehip oil contains astringent properties which help clarify skin by dissolving excess sebum and other impurities, as well as absorbing oil. Therefore, rosehip oil makes an ideal choice for those with oily or acne-prone skin; she suggests using it twice daily after cleansing the face and applying moisturizer.
Petrillo notes that acids can be combined with other acids to increase the penetration of other ingredients such as retinols or hyaluronic acid. This is especially beneficial in antiaging products, since it helps these actives penetrate deeper into skin for improved results.
Applying citric acid to the skin can help balance its PH level, which in turn prevents irritation and dryness by helping your skin absorb essential nutrients. However, be mindful that too much citric acid in a skincare product may leave skin feeling tingly or burnt/irritated; thus it’s best to use it sparingly if you have very sensitive or hypersensitive skin.
Citric acid, unlike other popular alpha hydroxy acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, is much kinder on the skin than its peers. With a larger molecular structure than other AHAs, citric acid is less likely to be absorbed or diluted by the body, according to Petrillo.
Aside from its milder exfoliating effects, this ingredient also boasts antioxidant and hydrating qualities that are beneficial to all skin types. It’s often combined with other antioxidants and other ingredients in formulas to increase their effectiveness as well as protect against free radical damage.
It can also be used as a preservative to extend the shelf life of your products. This is because it helps prevent them from drying out or oxidizing over time, which is often an issue with skincare items that contain AHAs and other acids.
Health Benefits of Citric Acid on Skin
Citric acid is increasingly being added to skincare products due to its effectiveness in combatting skin aging by stimulating collagen production and improving elasticity. Furthermore, it brightens dull or uneven skin tone for healthier-looking complexions.