Fans say dabbing a little lemon juice on a pimple will dry it right up and rubbing your face with a lemon wedge will brighten your skin. Lemons cost less than a dollar while Vitamin C serums cost lots (and lots) of dollars. Sounds like the perfect substitute right?
But hold up.
Nature is powerful and substances that are A-OK to eat or drink might not always be safe to put directly on your skin.
You’ll see plenty of Instagram, Pinterest posts and DIY recipes on blogs that recommend using lemon juice for everything – from wrinkles to whiteheads to sunspots and more. And while, Vitamin C is a popular ingredient in skin care products, thanks to its potent antioxidant properties. Be cautious in trying internet-given home remedies.
Keep reading to find out why you might want to save lemons for your water.
First Up, Why Are People Putting Lemon On Their Skin?
Well, lemon juice does contain some properties that are seemingly great for your skin, including alpha hydroxyl acid – which can remove dull skin cells and generate newer ones, working as a type of exfoliant. Lemons can also:
- Help reduce blackheads from forming by breaking down the accumulation of dead skin cells
- Help treat acne by reducing inflammation and oil production
- Help lessons discoloration and scarring
But (the BIG but), there’s a difference between the lemon juice in your favorite skin care products and swiping a slice across your T-zone.
It’s Just Lemon Juice. What’s The Worst That Could Happen?
Glad you asked. The most common reaction to using lemon juice is skin irritation† It could be mild, but it could also be severe for people with sensitive skin. Since lemon juice is highly acidic at 2pH, it can cause permanent damage to your skin. It can change the natural pH of your acid mantle, potentially causing skin irritation, hyperpigmentation and sensitivity to the sun. That’s not even the worst of it. You could end up like Samantha from Sex and the City after an overzealous chemical peel.
Here are the two scariest complications:
Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Mix citrus juice with sunlight, and you end up with margarita burn – officially known as phytophotodermatitis. It’s called margarita burn because you can get it from drinking margaritas (or beer with lime wedges) on the beach. That’s why, read the label on your vitamin C serum. It’ll likely always remind you that SPF is must after use!
Diluting lemon juice might reduce your risk, but it can still cause major issues. Homemade toner made with lemon juice, alcohol and glycerine landed one woman in the hospital – A 22 year old from Melbourne, Australia. She whipped up the beauty product to treat freckles and dark spots on her face, but ended up with chemical leukoderma.
Caused by repeated exposure to certain chemical compounds – including those in lemon juice – this condition left her with uneven white spots that can be permanent. Yikes!
How To Use Lemon Juice Safely?
OK, so you still want to try it? These are a few ways dermatologists suggest you could try –
- Always do a patch test on the sides of your neck, or elbows.
- Always dilute lemon juice with rose water or honey before applying it on your face (patch test these combos too)
- SPF is a must after you apply any form of Vitamin C
- If you are opting for lemon juice, dermatologists recommend using fresh lemon juice because the concentration of Vitamin C in lemons reduces overtime.
Also read: 8 Summer Staples To Keep In Your Bag For On-the-go Touch-ups