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Citric Acid

Citric Acid is an organic compound with the chemical formula HOC(CO2H)(CH2CO2H)2. It is a colorless weak organic acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruits. In biochemistry, it serves as an intermediate in the citric acid cycle, which is essential in the metabolism of all aerobic organisms. Annually, over two million tons of citric acid are manufactured, being widely used as an acidifier, flavoring, and chelating agent.

A citrate refers to derivatives of citric acid; that is, the salts, esters, and the polyatomic anion found in solutions. For example, a salt form is trisodium citrate, and an ester form is triethyl citrate.

By TipFox - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=48690782

By NEUROtiker - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1708973

Effects in Cosmetics

Applications of citric acid in cosmetics include:

Acting as a pH adjuster to regulate the acidity of products.
Serving as an antioxidant and cleanser, helping to remove dead skin cells and promote skin renewal.
Functioning as a chelating agent, enhancing the stability and efficacy of other ingredients in the product.

The use in food

Widely used as a flavoring and preservative in food and beverages, especially in soft drinks and candies.
Acts as a chelating agent for metal ions, improving the color, aroma, and taste of food.


Naturally found in high concentrations in citrus fruits such as lemons, oranges, and limes.
Industrially produced mainly through fermentation, using specific strains of mold such as Aspergillus niger, which are cultured in a sugar or glucose-containing medium to produce citric acid.
Historically, citric acid was first isolated from lemon juice, but modern production relies predominantly on microbial fermentation.

Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals 


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