Spreading Clean Beauty

Why citric acid in skincare is the new multidimensional must-have

Post-COVID-19, medical skincare is a hot topic. Consumers are increasingly attracted to products with medical benefits or aesthetics , as confidence in experts remains high. For example, in Spain, 60% of consumers say that beauticians and therapists are trustworthy (Mintel, 2020), highlighting a preference for ‘professional’ or ‘expert’ treatments. This has led to a trend towards citric acid in skincare – and here, we’ll explore why. 

Medical meets natural

Trust in beauty professionals is reflected in the increasingly positive attitude towards non-invasive procedures as part of skincare routines. This is particularly pronounced in the APAC region, where more than half of consumers in countries such as India and China agree that “it’s okay to have non-invasive procedures to improve one’s appearance” . One of the most popular is chemical peels, with over 400,000 professional chemical peels recorded in 2018.

Their popularity has led liquid exfoliators to adopt the word “peel” in their marketing, as they use acids to resurface and refresh skin. However, this medical beauty trend has a counterpoint: the preference for natural ingredients. A concurrent post-pandemic beauty trend is for natural, sustainable products, as the ravages of the pandemic highlight the importance of a more sophisticated approach to sustainability – thus the “sophisticated natural” movement was born.

Citric acid in skincare

Therefore, we have a very particular consumer profile emerging: a consumer that wants medical grade beauty with natural ingredients. This is why citric acid in skincare is really taking off – it combines the power of a peel from a sophisticated, sustainable angle.

The resurfacing activity of citric acid is due to its α-hydroxy acid (AHA) content. Most AHAs are physiologic, natural, and non-toxic substances. They promote normal keratinization and desquamation, while acting on the stratum corneum level to promote cohesion between corneocytes in the deepest layers. This makes the stratum corneum thinner and improves the skin’s flexibility. 

Furthermore, those with multiple hydroxyl groups – like citric acid – are moisturizing antioxidants, and are especially good for sensitive skin (Yu RJ & Van Scott EJ, 2002). Citric acid in skincare creates the possibility for a gentle emollient action, with the peeling efficacy implied by the acidity. 

Provital’s Pineapple Extract

Always on the pulse of evolving trends, Provital developed Pineapple Extract. This product’s AHA content responds directly to the demand for a naturally-powered peel that’s fuelling the trend of citric acid in skin care. Plus, Pineapple Extract provides other appealing benefits, tapping into beauty demands from multiple angles within this complex Zeitgeist. 

Along with its gentle emollient and resurfacing action, Pineapple Extract can directly stimulate collagen synthesis by activating the transcription and stabilization of pro-collagen mRNA. Furthermore, vitamin C reduces the production of metalloproteinase enzymes in the extracellular matrix, which can stimulate collagen degradation in the dermis.

Together with resurfacing claims, the promise of collagen stimulation taps into other key skincare trends. And, combined with medical/sophisticated natural messaging, this active ingredient presents a significant opportunity in the current context – and is 99.6% natural in origin.

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