Citric acid is a weak organic acid which can be found nature, including in citrus fruits such as lemons and limes, though most commercial citric acid is synthetically produced. We use small amounts of this ingredient in many of our products to control the pH level and help maintain the stability, safety and efficacy of the product.
Citric acid has many industrial uses - including as a preservative in many foods, and as a chelating agent in detergents (binds to hard metal ions to soften hard water, which enables soaps and detergents to work more effectively). Citric acid is Generally Recognised As Safe (GRAS) by the US FDA in food products, and was assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel in 2014, who concluded that its use in cosmetics are "safe in the present practices of use and concentration." Most citric acid is produced through industrial fermentation processes, using the fungus Aspergillus niger and plant sugars such as corn.
Other names: C6H8O7, acidum citricum (EP), Anhydrous Citric Acid, 2-Hydroxy-1,2,3-Propanetricarboxylic Acid
Chemical class: Carboxylic Acids (Excluding salts)
National Center for Biotechnology Information (2021). PubChem Compound Summary for CID 311, Citric acid. Retrieved July 23, 2021 from https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Citric-acid.
Fiume, M. M., Heldreth, B. A., Bergfeld, W. F., Belsito, D. V., Hill, R. A., Klaassen, C. D., Liebler, D. C., Marks, J. G., Jr, Shank, R. C., Slaga, T. J., Snyder, P. W., & Andersen, F. A. (2014). Safety Assessment of Citric Acid, Inorganic Citrate Salts, and Alkyl Citrate Esters as Used in Cosmetics. International journal of toxicology, 33(2 suppl), 16S–46S. https://doi.org/10.1177/1091581814526891
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United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Food for Human Consumption: Citric Acid. 21CFR184.1033 https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=184.1033