Does Lemon Help Acne?


Millions of people all over the globe suffer from acne as it is arguably the most common skin condition anyone can have. Though there are hundreds of natural and artificial treatment options that are targeted at improving the skin condition, only a few of them are truly effective without any adverse effects.


One of the most popular and natural, homemade treatments for reducing or getting rid of acne is the use of lemon.


The use of lemon for treating acne is not a new discovery as people had incorporated and lived by the method in the past. Lemons have many antioxidant and antibacterial properties which often make this citrus fruit to be powerfully effective against acne as it is capable of fighting the free radicals that affect the skin. At the same time, it also enhances the levels of collagens available on the body so that the skin can continue looking fresh and young.


So whether you are suffering from acne as an adolescent or adult, you may want to try using this fruit to help improve your skin condition. Nonetheless, before using a lemon, there are some things you need to understand to optimize the benefits of lemon and combat the adverse effects of this natural acne treatment option.

How Does Lemon Improve Acne Condition?

For a start, there are various ways through which this citrusy treatment helps acne that include:



  • Lemon kills acne-causing bacteria


There are several acne-causing bacteria that are found in the layers of the skin. These bacteria can be killed by the juice of the lemon as it serves as an antiseptic. This is especially important when the skin is not acidic enough and, thus, offers the bacteria a conducive environment to grow and breed.


When using lemon on the skin, the pH level of the skin will be reduced to make sure that the skin becomes more acidic. The increased acidity of the skin makes the environment to be less conducive for the bacteria. In fact, the skin pores will force the bacteria out of the skin where it will be killed. Once the amount of acne-causing bacteria in the skin is reduced to the bare minimum, the skin can become free of acne.


  • Lemon lowers excess oil in the body

Lemon comes with many astringent contents that are responsible for the constriction of certain tissues within the body. As a consequence of this constriction, excess oil, or sebum, is forced out of the body so that it can dry out. It should be understood that if this excess oil is not forced out of the pores to dry up, it will accumulate under the skin layers to form sebum which, in turn, leads to acne. Therefore, you can use lemon to reduce the accumulation of oil under the skin so that acne breakouts on the skin can be prevented.



  • Lemon Reduces Inflammation and Redness


Redness and inflammation are often experienced during an acne breakout. As an astringent, lemon has the ability to reduce the redness and inflammation; thus, it improves the skin condition.



  • Lemon Reduces Appearance of Scars After Acne


Apart from reducing or getting rid of acne, lemon can also be useful for anyone that wants to reduce the appearance of acne scars. Scars usually appear after acne has disappeared on a spot, and it can take several months or even years before these scars disappear. Even in some cases, they may never disappear on their own. However, if you apply lemon to these acne scars, the rate of healing of the scar can be increased so that they can disappear in a few weeks or months. Lemon works better on new scars rather than old ones.

What Are The Side Effects Of Lemon On Acne?

Just like many other things, lemon is not the perfect substance for getting rid of acne because it can have various side effects on an acne-prone skin. These side effects include:


  1. Lemon can induce stinging pain – If you have ever used lemon on your skin before, you would agree that it stings, especially when applied on active acne. Due to the stinging feeling, the pain can be felt when using lemon on an acne-prone skin. It should be noted that despite this painful feeling at the beginning of using lemon on acne, this same stinging sensation will be useful in reducing inflammation; thus, preventing new acne from developing.


  1. Lemon can make the skin excessively dry – For those with normal or dry skin, it is advisable that they avoid the use of lemon because it can make their skin to be excessively dry. This is because Lemon is capable of forcing out excess oil from the sebaceous glands beneath the surface of the skin.


Nonetheless, people with dry or normal skin may not even have excess oil on the skin; therefore, lemon will force out the oil required for nourishing their skin; thus, making their skin to be extremely dry. This process will cause acne breakouts as the sebaceous will continue working forcefully to compensate for the lost oil; hence, leading to clogging of the skin pores. Basically, lemon is more suitable for people with excess oil in their body.


  1. Lemon can darken brown or dark skin – Using lemon can stimulate the melanocytes to produce more antioxidants. These antioxidants are meant to serve as a protective material for the skin. While they are protecting the skin, these materials will also stimulate the production of more pigments that are capable of darkening the skin. Although this is not entirely bad on its own, exposure to the sun will worsen it. The melanocytes will become more active due to the effect of the sun and the skin will become very dark and sometimes unsightly.


  1. Lemon can alter the acid mantle of the body – Acid mantle refers to the coating of the skin which is meant to aid the maintenance of the pH balance of the skin. Excessive use of lemon can alter this balance and cause more acne breakouts and other skin conditions.


In addition to the aforementioned adverse effects of lemon, it can also kill the good bacteria in the body and cause burning, itching, and redness of the skin.

How Can You Apply Lemon To Get The Best Results?

If you consider the side effects of lemon, you may feel that using it to get rid of acne is not worthwhile. However, this is not entirely true because there are ways through which you can utilize lemons to help your acne without experiencing most of the side effects. Remember, a natural treatment is always better compared to chemically based treatments.


So, how can you apply lemon to help your acne? Here are some important suggestions:


Apply directly to your skin

  • Squeeze fresh lemon to extract the juice
  • Cleanse your skin with clean, warm water. Use a clean towel to dry off the water
  • Apply Lemon on the affected parts. Avoid applying to areas that are not affected as this may lead to irritation or burning of the skin
  • Rinse off after 15 to 30 minutes. Do not allow to stay longer than this


Drink the juice

  • Squeeze fresh lemon to extract its juice
  • Mix with water or honey and then drink. This will clear out harmful bacteria and toxins from the body


Combine with other ingredients


With rose water

  • Rinse the affected part with a clean towel and little water
  • Combine an equal amount of lemon and rose water. Use a cotton ball to apply the mixture to the affected areas directly
  • Rinse off the mixture after 30 minutes


With egg white

  • Mix a spoonful of egg white with lemon juice
  • Use the mixture as a mask
  • Rinse it off after 30 minutes


With honey

  • Extract lemon juice and mix it with honey
  • Apply on the face as a mask overnight. If not possible to use overnight, rinse off after one hour.


With baking soda

  • Mix two tablespoons of baking soda with lemon juice
  • Apply the mixture on your face
  • Rinse off after 15 to 30 minutes. This combination will brighten and exfoliate your skin


With yogurt

  • Mix lemon with yogurt to reduce the stinging sensation of using lemon alone
  • Apply for 30 minutes and then rinse off

What Are The Alternatives That Can Be Used To Help Acne?

Although lemon can help acne, it can be sometimes too harsh for sensitive skins; thus, irritating or burning the skin to cause more acne. You can try out the following alternatives that can help you get rid of acne as well as acne scars:

  • Lysine
  • Sulfur
  • Green tea
  • Rosehip oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Zinc
  • Aloe vera
  • Witch hazel
  • Eucalyptus


Based on its potency, lemon can be a useful agent against acne condition for those with acne. Not to mention, lemon is extremely safe to be applied on. However, it is difficult to ascertain the right quantity of lemon to use for each skin type. Therefore, the potential dangers of using lemon must never be ignored. You must always apply caution when using lemon for acne.



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