Benefits: Smooths Bumpy Skin, Evens Skin Tone, Anti-Aging
Categories: Exfoliant, pH Adjuster/Stabilizer
Tartaric acid is a naturally occurring crystalline organic acid found in many plants, including grapes and tamarinds. It is one of the chief acids in wine. Tartaric acid has antioxidant properties and is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), though it is not quite as well-researched when it comes to skin benefits as glycolic and lactic acids.
It functions best in helping to maintain the pH range that other AHAs need to work their magic. In certain formulas, it helps provide more targeted exfoliation, as each type of AHA has its layer-by-layer benefits owing to its molecular size.
Interestingly, in vitro studies have shown that when tartaric acid is broken down into derivatives known as tartramides, its chemical structure mimics that of skin’s own ceramides. In a lab setting, these tartramides were shown to successfully replace ceramides in a model of skin’s lipid matrix; however, it’s unknown if this benefit also occurs on intact skin via cosmetic products.
Tartaric acid has been deemed safe as used in cosmetics.