What it is
Citric Acid is an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA). It exists in a variety of fruits and vegetables like lemons, limes, oranges, tangerines and blackberries but can also be made from fermented sugar solutions. At room temperature, it is a white, crystalline powder.
What it does
Citric Acid is used in cosmetics and personal care products to adjust their ph balance.
In addition, it can inhibits tyrosinase to even out the skin tone.
It is also used to impart a lemon-like fragrance to a product.
Excessive exposure to Citric Acid can contact dermatitis in people with sensitive skin.
In addition, Citric Acid, may increase photosensitivity, so products containing this ingredient should be used in conjunction with a sunscreen.
(Sources: Biological & Pharmaceutical Bulletin 2009 Vol. 32 No. 3, Contact Dermatitis. Jan 2009, and Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, November 2002)
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