Citric acid is a naturally occurring agent present in many citrus fruits. These include lemons, oranges, grapefruits, and limes.
Citric acid is also a common dietary supplement thanks to its vitamin content and alkaline nature. It also offers many benefits when it comes to keeping skin healthy.
1. Brightens and Lightens Skin
Citric acids count as alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs), which are a common inclusion in many skincare products. They work by gently exfoliating skin and removing dead skin cells.
Studies show AHAs have drastic effects on keratinization or skin darkening. But due to its gentle nature, exfoliation with AHAs come with little risks.
Citrus fruits are popular skincare ingredients across several cultures. Lemon rinds may be used as a scrub to lighten dark part of the body like underarms and dark scars or mixed into bathwater.
2. Helps Correct Uneven Skin Tone
The gentle exfoliating nature of AHA makes it an ideal solution for evening out skin tone. Dark patches, scars, and age spots are some examples, as well as the dark circles under the eyes. The skin under the eyes is particularly sensitive, which calls for gentle solutions like citric acid. Incorporating a product such as Purple Tea’s Rapid Eye serum into your routine can help remedy dark circles and wrinkles. It combines citric acid with other soothing ingredients like purple tea extract and lavender oil for best results.
3. Soothes Acne
Oily skin and acne may benefit from the mild exfoliating abilities of citric acid. Harsh peels which aggressively strip away oil from acne-prone skin usually have a counter-productive effect by depleting the skin’s moisture stores and further irritating acne breakouts.
Harsh chemical peels may also have ingredients which lead to further inflammation of acne breakouts. A gentle AHA agent such as citric powder diluted with some water and milk makes for a good but gentle mask for those with acne-prone skin.
Citric acid can help in the breakdown of dead skin cells which accumulate as acne breaks out and heals. It may also help the skin reveal newer skin faster.
4. Unclogs Blocked Pores
Pores on the skin can have a tendency to get blocked with debris like dead skin cells, dirt, and bacteria. This can lead to inflammations, infections, and acne breakouts.
Multiple skincare products on the market include harsh exfoliants which forcibly scrape at the skin in an attempt to unclog pores. However, this only irritates the skin even further, exacerbating any existing inflammation and driving bacteria further into vulnerable skin.
AHAs work by disintegrating the intercellular adhesive which holds together our skin cells. This way, dead skin cells slough off and shed faster and in a more gentle and natural manner.
5. Fights Dandruff
The alkaline and antioxidant nature of citric acid help balance excess acidity on the scalp which may contribute to dandruff. It helps soothe the skin and help prevent dandruff in the long run without forcibly peeling off dandruff flakes.
Dandruff may be a result of a myriad of things, such as psoriasis or atopic dermatitis. Many harsh treatments exist claiming to remove dandruff, but end up irritating the scalp, which is constantly exposed to sebum and oil which get trapped in the hair.
6. Helps Prevent Wrinkles
Besides its power of gentle exfoliation, citric acid is also a popular ingredient in the fight against wrinkles. Studies show treatments using AHA help increase collagen production and the proliferation of fibroblasts in the skin.
Collagen is present under the skin and is responsible for keeping it firm and smooth. Age lessens production over time, but upon stimulation, collagen helps fill out wrinkles and fine lines.
What Are Fibroblasts? These are cells present in our connective tissues. They produce collagen and other essential fibers which make up tissue structure. They kick in full force in the event of a wound which needs healing.
7. Helps Balance Skin pH
Citric acid is often an addition to many skincare products thanks to its many benefits. But it’s also used in order to adjust skincare formulas to prevent too much alkalinity.
The normal pH of skin is mildly acidic, ranging between 4 and 6. If a skincare product is too acidic, it will cause a stinging sensation. If a product is too alkaline, there will be no stinging sensation. But it also has the potential of depriving your skin of natural lipids. Citric acid helps balance formulas since it keeps products from being too alkaline. At the same time, its acidity is mild and gentle, and won’t cause stinging or irritation.
Is Citric Acid Safe?
According to a study by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), citric acids are generally safe. Data in the study reveals citric acid concentrations in cosmetics and skincare products were not considered skin and eye irritants, nor allergens.
This means products which contain citric acid as an ingredient won’t cause allergic reactions or irritate mucous membranes by the citric content alone.
One common side effect when using citric acid is its photosensitivity. Since it strips away dead skin and reveals newer and more sensitive skin, it is more vulnerable to damage. Those who use citric acid on their skin must avoid using it prior to sun exposure. Photosensitivity makes the skin more vulnerable to sunburn, even with very little sun exposure.
Not only does citric acid give zest to our foods and beverages, but it also gives our skin back its zest for life. Its gentle properties make it a wonderful natural remedy for skin problems, and its availability in a multitude of cosmetics and skincare products makes it easy for anyone to access its benefits.