Citric acid is widely used as a pH adjusting agent in creams and gels of all kinds. In this role, it is classified in most jurisdictions as a processing aid and so does not need to be listed on ingredient lists.
Citric acid is an alpha hydroxy acid and used as an active ingredient in chemical peels.
Citric acid is commonly used as a buffer to increase the solubility of brown heroin. Single-use citric acid sachets have been used as an inducement to get heroin users to exchange their dirty needles for clean needles in an attempt to decrease the spread of HIV and hepatitis. Other acidifiers used for brown heroin are ascorbic acid, acetic acid, and lactic acid; in their absence, a drug user will often substitute lemon juice or vinegar.
Citric acid is used as one of the active ingredients in the production of antiviral tissues.
Citric acid can be used in food coloring to balance the pH level of a normally basic dye. It is used as an odorless alternative to white vinegar for home dyeing with acid dyes.
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