malic acid

Malic acid is an exfoliating ingredient derived from unripe fruit. It also occurs naturally in the human body. It’s technically a beta hydroxy acid ingredient but is typically classified as an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) ingredient because its hydroxyl group in the alpha position is believed to be dominant to the beta hydroxyl group. Also, it is not known to be oil-soluble like traditional beta hydroxy acid salicylic acid.

Malic acid is used in cosmetics to adjust a product's pH and, in an acidic pH range ideally between 3 and 4, as mild exfoliant.

In foods, malic acid is sometimes added to impart a sour or tart flavour.

References for this information:

The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, August 2018, pages 21-28
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Global Open, December 2016, ePublication
Biological Research, January 2015, ePublication
Clinical, Cosmetic, and Investigative Dermatology, November 2010, pages 135-142


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