Citric acid is a natural substance produced in various amounts by all types of citrus fruits. Common natural sources of the ingredient include lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. It's chemical properties are beneficial in skin care products.
In its raw state, citric acid is often used to adjust the pH of skin care products. Adding the ingredient to a formula makes it slightly more acidic and can help other ingredients in a particular product function more optimally.
Citric acid is a member of the alpha hydroxy acid family of molecules. This class of acids is widely used in skin care products that are meant to exfoliate the complexion. When applied to the skin in a concentrated dose, citric acid breaks down the protein bonds between dead and living skin cells, causing the older, dead cells to be shed.
Aluminum mixed with citric acid forms a substance called aluminum citrate and is used as an astringent in skin care products. Products that contain aluminum citrate help to shrink the pores and are useful for combating pore enlargement as well as for treating acne and improving the look and feel of oily and combination skin.
A combination of zinc and citric acid, zinc citrate helps to prevent the formation of tartar on the teeth and is a common ingredient in natural toothpastes and teeth whiteners.
It is chiefly used to prevent colour, texture and appearance loss in cosmetics but is also an active ingredient in chemical peels. It is a safe powdered preservative used in toiletries, soap making and a base ingredient in fizzing bath bombs.