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Citric Acid

Citric acid is a natural substance produced in various amounts by all types of citrus fruits. Common natural sources of the ingredient include lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruits. The bitter taste of citric acid makes it a common additive in foods and beverages, and its chemical properties are beneficial in skin care products. Its importance as an ingredient has led to the massive production of citric acid around the world; more than 1 million tons of the acid are manufactured worldwide each year.

The Persian alchemist Jābir ibn Hayyān, who lived during the 8th century, is credited with the initial discovery of citric acid. By the medieval age, scholars in Europe had also discovered the acid and wrote extensively about it early scientific texts. Although the existence of citric acid was well established, it took nearly a thousand years from the first discovery of the ingredient to the first successful isolation of the acid from fruits. It was the Swiss scientist Carl Wilhelm who finally managed to extract the acid in 1784.

Even after citric acid was isolated, obtaining enough of the acid for use on a wide scale proved difficult. It was not until 1893 that a possible solution was found when scientist C. Wehmer discovered that fermenting sugar with the mold Penicillium could produce citric acid. After World War I made it difficult to obtain the citrus fruits needed to extract citric acid, scientists began investigating Wehmer's findings, and in 1917 the scientist James Currie found that the fungus Aspergillus niger was incredibly useful as a fermenting agent in the production of citric acid. To this day, this fungus is still the chief material used in the industrial manufacturing of citric acid.

In its raw state, citric acid is often used to adjust the pH of skin care products.

In its raw state, citric acid is often used to adjust the pH of skin care products. Adding the ingredient to a formula makes it slightly more acidic and can help other ingredients in a particular product function more optimally. Under the labeling regulations established by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, citric acid does not need to be listed on the packaging of products that use the ingredient simply as a pH adjuster, and as a result, many people use citric acid every day in their cleansers and soaps, toners, moisturizers, hair care products and cosmetics without ever knowing it. The acid is also crucial for ensuring the desired color results from many hair dyes.

Citric acid is a member of the alpha hydroxy acid family of molecules. This class of acids is widely used in skin care products that are meant to exfoliate the complexion. When applied to the skin in a concentrated dose, citric acid breaks down the protein bonds between dead and living skin cells, causing the older, dead cells to be shed. Alpha hydroxy acids like citric acid are included in over-the-counter products and in clinical chemical peels that are used to resurface the complexion to eliminate fine lines, wrinkles, scars and areas of skin discoloration. By removing the dead cells that often clog the pores, citric acid can also be beneficial for people suffering from acne or enlarged pores.

Citric acid is a member of the alpha hydroxy acid family of molecules.

In addition to its usefulness in its raw state, citric acid can be combined with minerals and compounds to form ingredients that offer additional benefits for the skin. Esters formed from citric acid create a thin protective coating on the skin that limits how much moisture evaporates from the tissue into the air. This makes the citric acid esters like tricaprylyl citrate effective ingredients in moisturizers. The esters of the acid also help to soften the skin, providing additional moisturizing benefits.

Aluminum mixed with citric acid forms a substance called aluminum citrate and is used as an astringent in skin care products. Products that contain aluminum citrate help to shrink the pores and are useful for combating pore enlargement as well as for treating acne and improving the look and feel of oily and combination skin. Another derivative of citric acid, ethyl citrate creates a stiff covering when sprayed onto the hair and is a common ingredient in hairsprays. A combination of zinc and citric acid, zinc citrate helps to prevent the formation of tartar on the teeth and is a common ingredient in natural toothpastes and teeth whiteners.

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Citric Acid Products

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A gently exfoliating mud mask that purifies, softens and smoothes.
$44.00
2 oz | WH078
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A rich, powerful, anti-aging neck and decollete cream.
$44.00
2 oz | WH085
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A rich, golden sunless tanning spray that works from any angle and dries in minutes.
$36.00
5 oz | HA023
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Lightweight, sheer UVA/UVB protection with age-defying ingredients that improve the skin’s texture and tone.
$36.10
1.85 oz | SM113
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Control your depth of tan with this most advanced formula yet for a natural, healthy looking tan that lasts for days.
$44.00
6.7 oz | GN016
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For the deepest, natural looking tan yet, this super-fine 360 degree spray tailors to your individual skin tone.
$40.00
6.7 oz | GN012
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Daily resurfacing peel pads with powerful vitamin C, sourced from Kakadu Plums.
$78.00
30 ct | QB032
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OVM promotes skin that looks and feels volumized, firm and luminous, while minimizingfine lines and wrinkles.
$170.00
2 oz | NV254
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For a natural, sun-kissed glow this Medium/Dark body lotion is ultra-hydrating and gradually builds to create a healthy looking tan.
$25.00
6.7 oz | GN021
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Powerful non-chemical mineral sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50.
$30.00
1.35 oz | BE1000
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For a natural, sun-kissed glow, this face cream is ultra-hydrating and gradually builds to create a healthy looking tan.
$25.00
1.6 oz | GN018
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For a natural, sun-kissed glow this Light/Medium body lotion is ultra-hydrating and gradually builds to create a healthy looking tan.
$25.00
6.7 oz | GN020
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For a natural, sun-kissed glow, this face cream is ultra-hydrating and gradually builds to create a healthy looking tan.
$25.00
1.6 oz | GN019
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A milky cleanser that easily removes makeup and impurities but rinses without leaving skin dry or tight.
$17.00
6.7 oz | PN085
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This tanning essential is a must-have for any regular tanner. It's suitable for all types of tan and helps to deliver a longer lasting, flawless finish.
$18.00
6.7 oz | GN025
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A light, silky gel cleanser that glides over delicate skin while gently removing makeup as it soothes red, sensitive skin.
$17.00
6.7 oz | PN089
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A targeted treatment to reduce the look of deep lines and wrinkles and build skin’s natural volume.
$68.00
1 oz | EX137
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Sheer tinted UVA/UVB protection developed for warm skin tones also helps buffer the skin from heat-derived oxidation.
$43.77
3 oz | OB104
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A powerful under eye treatment that smoothes and improves fragile, sagging skin while minimizing the appearance of crow’s feet.
$115.00
0.5 oz | NV253
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This face and body moisturizer gradually imparts a natural bronze color that builds slowly over 3-4 days of use.
$28.00
4.7 oz | FC049
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A rich hair mask formulated to replenish and repair without weighing hair down.
$59.00
6.7 oz | PZ108
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A dynamic treatment serum used to reduce visible redness and flushing.
$85.00
1 oz | JM183
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This multi-action body lotion moisturizes, firms and tones whilst gradually building a sun-kissed glow.
$35.00
5 oz | GN022
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Blemish Dots flood skin with a continuous flow of advanced blemish-fighting ingredients for fast and effective breakout relief within hours.
$20.00
4 ct | SI051
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A multi-purpose balm to help hydrate anything from chapped lips to stretch marks to dry hands.
$58.00
3.4 oz | EH038
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Groundbreaking fluid addresses visible signs of aging, hydrates, and promotes a smooth and supple complexion.
$48.00
3.4 oz | DC272
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A liquid hand soap scented with English apricot, black tea leaves, bergamot and golden amber.
$22.00
10 oz | NG080
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These gentle yet effective foaming cloths effortlessly sweep away waterproof makeup and other impurities without stinging or irritating eyes.
$15.00
30 ct | SI052
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An anti-aging mask, in a unique roll-on formula, to smooth, firm and reshape facial contours.
$53.00
1.69 oz | NX139
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For the deepest, natural looking tan, this lightweight lotion tailors to your individual skin tone.
$44.00
6.7 oz | GN011
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A blend of blue hydrangea, hyacinth and forget-me-nots accented with fresh green notes and dew drops. 10% of the proceeds benefit Autism Speaks.
$22.00
10 oz | NG084
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Sheer tinted UVA/UVB protection developed for cool skin tones also helps buffer the skin from heat-derived oxidation.
$43.77
3 oz | OB103
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Hydrating cream enhances luminosity and boosts radiance while lifting and firming.
$42.00
1.7 oz | PT280
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A lightweight and luxurious cream that provides deep nourishment to help support collagen production, brightening, smoothing and firming of the skin.
$90.00
1.7 oz | UG008
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A glycolic acid based exfoliating treatment developed in the exclusive Red Door Spa.
$56.00
50 ct | EA243
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This serum immediately smoothes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and provides hours of continuous hydration.
$169.10
2 oz | SM112
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A 3-in-1 no-rinse solution that cleanses, tones and removes makeup.
$19.99
13.5 oz | LP126
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A gentle formula cleanser containing coconut surfactants and dead sea salts with a light lavender-scent.
$30.00
10 oz | YC027
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This gel reduces dark circles and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while firming.
$93.00
0.5 oz | JM181
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Formulated to synergistically build skin’s matrix to lift and firm, diminish the appearance of age spots and smooth lines and wrinkles from the inside out.
$78.00
1 oz | NS080
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A shine controlling primer that smoothes texture, diminishes pores and fine lines and creates a perfect base for foundation.
$34.00
1 oz | EA240
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Instantly softens imperfections and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and pores.
$60.00
1 oz | NV250
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Instantly softens imperfections and minimizes the appearance of wrinkles and pores.
$60.00
1 oz | NV251
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A nighttime anti-aging cream that effectively treats dryness, sagging and loss of density in the skin.
$55.00
1.7 oz | VH092
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An oil free serum for all skin types to repair sun damage and restore elasticity, tone and texture.
$112.50
1 oz | TE007
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A 20% vitamin C serum derived from Kakadu plums to brighten, tighten and firm aging skin.
$95.00
1 oz | QB011
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A targeted expression line smoother that addresses wrinkles in three ways.
$59.00
0.5 oz | BR140
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Stimulates the natural production of Vitamin D without the risks of harmful UV rays for younger, healthier looking skin.
$55.00
0.6 oz | BT174
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