Welcome back to Ingredient 101, our blogpost series where we share some insight about your favorite ingredients!
Today, we are talking Citric Acid.
What is Citric Acid?
Citric Acid is an alpha-hydroxy acid (aka AHA). It’s extracted from citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits, as well as other fruits like berries.
It is a chemical used to exfoliate the outer layer of skin, getting rid of any dead skin cells and revealing the healthy skin cells below.
What are the benefits of Citric Acid?
As any AHA Citric Acid is an exfoliant. But it also has a few additional benefits worth calling out:
- Acts as a chemical exfoliant;
- Has astringent properties. Meaning that it rids your skin of excess oil and leaves it feeling nice and clean. That makes it perfect for oily skin types;
- Contains protective antioxidants. This ingredient has great antioxidant benefits. Which makes it unique compared to other acids.
- Helps maintain the skin’s pH levels. It has a natural pH of about 2, making it an excellent pH balancer. This is especially helpful for maintaining normal skin barrier function. And a well-functioning skin barrier is at the root of healthy, beautiful skin.
And a well-functioning skin barrier is at the root of healthy, beautiful skin 😉
When to Avoid it?
You should avoid using citric acid at the same time as any retinoid, as this can lead to irritation and redness. If you want to use them both in one day, use the citric acid in the morning and the retinoid at night. You should also avoid using any kind of physical exfoliant, such as a scrub or abrasive tools, at the same time as the acid.
Some of Our Favorite Products With Citric Acid:
THE ORDINARY AHA 30% + BHA 2% PEELING SOLUTION
This best seller reduces acne and brightens the skin with a blend of glycolic and lactic acids that will get rid of all that dirt, oil, and makeup that lingers deep inside your pores and cause all kinds of breakouts and skin problems.
Elemis Dynamic Resurfacing Facial Wash
Starting with a cleanser is a great way to ease into a new active ingredient, given the minimal contact time it has with the skin. This gel wash gently exfoliates (credit the citric acid in the mix) and smoothes the skin’s texture while also effectively removing dirt.
The DRUNK ELEPHANTT.L.C. SUKARI BABYFACIAL
This at-home facial works to gently exfoliate the skin with a 25% AHA / 2% BHA blend that combines glycolic, tartaric, citric, lactic and salicylic acids. It works to resurface skin without causing redness or making your skin more sensitive.
Dr. Barbara Sturm Calming Serum
A good option for those with sensitive skin. It contains citric acid, but at a very low concentration, and is loaded with hydrating and soothing ingredients like sweet almond oil and sunflower seed oil.
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