by Anne

Cosmetics with citric acid - for the perfect pH value of the skin

Citric acid is not only found in a large number of foods today, but...
Zitronensäure Kosmetik

Citric acid is not only found in a large number of foods today, but in a wide variety of products. From detergents to plasticizers, water softeners, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, it seems to be ubiquitous. As natural as the name, reminiscent of citrus fruits, sounds, citric acid is not always. Ready-made foods and various industrially manufactured products contain an artificially produced citric acid, whose supposedly positive effect on health is sometimes controversial. The aim of this article is to highlight which properties of citric acid can be used sensibly and which, in turn, are possible dangers for human health, especially of artificially produced citric acid.

In many of our cosmetic products e.g. the Hydra Defense Cream moisturizer or even thatAnti-aging serum timeshift citric acid ensures the perfect pH value. In the best case, cosmetics should always be pH neutral to the skin and have a pH value of 5.5. This is easy in the acidic area, just like the protective acid mantle of our skin..


  1. Citric acid cleans and softens water and plastics.
  2. Citric acid clears the skin.
  3. Citric acid is the preservative 330 in food.


What is citric acid
How is citric acid made
What is citric acid used for?
Citric acid is good for the skin?
Citric acid is harmful?

What is citric acid?

With citric acid, tooCitric acid written, it is chemically a tricarboxylic acid. It occurs in crystal form, is colorless and has a sour taste. In connection with water, protons are split off as ions and a solution is created that conducts electricity. The salts and esters of citric acid are calledCitrates. Citric acid occurs naturally in particularly high levels in citrus fruits, but it can also be found in other types of fruit, berries, mushrooms, leaves, conifers and in milk. Nowadays it is mostly artificially produced for industrial purposes by fermenting raw materials containing sugar with the help of mushroom cultures.

The Arab scientist and writer is believed to be the discoverer of citric acidJabir ibn Hayyanwho lived in the 8th and 9th centuries. The documented method for dissolving citric acid from lemon juice by Carl Wilhelm Scheele became known for the first time worldwide in the 18th century.

How is citric acid made?

Citric acid occurs naturally in citrus fruits, such as lemons, grapefruits, limes and oranges. For the production of citric acid, ammonium citrate is traditionally made from lemon juice by adding an ammonia solution and then filtering it. This is converted into potassium citrate using potassium chloride, filtered again and processed into potassium sulfate using sulfuric acid. The pure citric acid is finally obtained through another filtering and subsequent crystallization.

A somewhat more modern and nowadays more common technique for producing citric acid is the fermentation of molasses or another raw material with a comparably high sugar content with the help of Aspergillus niger strains. In the USA and some Asian countries, genetically modified molds are often used for this purpose, but this has so far been banned in the European Union. The respective nutrient media should always have the highest possible glucose and oxygen content, a low pH value and a low Fe concentration2+Have ions. The fermentation process must be closely monitored so that the commonly used strains of fungi do not produce dangerous mycotoxins.

What is citric acid used for??

Citric acid occurs naturally in fruits, where it is consumed by humans on a daily basis. Citric acid is also produced industrially and used in a wide variety of ways.

Much of the industrial citric acid is used in the food sector. Citric acid is used as an acidity regulator and preservative for various products, such as lemonade, sweets, jam, sauces as well as various frozen and other ready mealsE 330 attached. For some products, such as milk and butter, isE 330 however not approved in the European Union.

In the medical field, citric acid is also used for preservation, for example in the storage of blood products, where it stops the blood from clotting. Various medicines and cosmetic products also contain citric acid. Citric acid is also used to prevent kidney stones because of its ability to combine with calcium in the urine, which is then simply excreted. It is not absolutely necessary to take an industrial or pharmaceutical product. It can already help to consume natural lemon juice regularly, for example mixed with a glass of water.

Other products that often contain citric acid are cleaning and rust removal agents, plasticizers for plastics and water softeners. With the help of citric acid, minerals such as calcium carbonate can be extracted into water-soluble chelate complexes. In order to dissolve calcium and iron compounds in water, citric acid is sometimes used in conjunction with ascorbic acid as a reducing agent. In contrast to some other acids, citric acid does not have an unpleasant odor, which makes it a popular component of various cleaning agents, not only in industry but also in private households.

Citric acid is good for the skin?

Lemons have been used as a natural home remedy for health and body care for centuries, whereby in addition to the rich content of vitamin C, the approximately 5% content of citric acid has a beneficial effect. Citric acid is useful in cleansing the skin as it loosens minerals like calcium and thus promotes beautiful, smooth skin. In a diluted form, it is sometimes used against warts and calloused skin. However, caution is advised with citric acid, especially on the face, for example when treating pigment spots, pimples and blackheads. Since the acid is very aggressive at high concentrations, the sensitive facial skin can be damaged, which ultimately makes it even more susceptible to inflammation and blemishes. Instead, it is more advisable to use natural lemon juice more gently, in case of doubt with the advice and supervision of a dermatological or cosmetic specialist..

Citric acid is harmful?

In addition to the numerous positive properties due to which citric acid is used in a variety of ways, it unfortunately also brings the following difficulties:

  • Citric acid in high concentrations can be quite aggressive and attack the skin or teeth, for example by dissolving minerals such as calcium from the tooth enamel. This makes the teeth more vulnerable and promotes the development of tooth damage such as tooth decay.
  • Citric acid is used as a preservativeE330 When used in convenience foods, there is a risk that substances such as aluminum may be detached from the coating of the packaging and get into the food, which can be harmful to health. In addition, E 330 can penetrate the blood-brain barrier and thus transport the bound metals directly into the human brain and thus cause neurological damage.
  • In addition, some critics criticize the residual risk that, in addition to the filtered citric acid, there may still be traces of harmful substances that were used for the industrial production of citric acid, such as ammonia or poisonous fungi, which can trigger an allergic reaction in people.

Our conclusion in the summary

In summary, one can say that citric acid has quite useful properties, which is why it has been used for a long time in the cosmetic field as well as for cleaning and above all in the food industry. The ingestion of citric acid or fruits, which contain high levels of it, can also be medically beneficial, for example to prevent kidney stones. It should be noted, however, that the additive E 330 is artificially fermented and is not identical to the natural citric acid in fruits. However, excessive consumption of finished foods containing industrially produced citric acid as a preservative is not advisable. In addition, caution is advised when citric acid comes into contact with skin and teeth, as important minerals are detached and thus the tooth enamel or the upper layer of the skin can be damaged.

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