What Does Lemon Juice Do For Your Skin

Lemon juice does a lot of things for your body owing to the numerous nutrients it contains. But what about the skin, what does lemon juice do for your skin? A lot, I might say. Lemon juice is a great source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients that have great benefits for the skin one of which is its capacity to improve the condition and appearance of your skin.

Find out all the benefits, uses, side effects and the precautionary measures to be taken in the course of using this wonderful substance.

About Lemon Juice

The lemon, scientifically called Citrus Limon is a small evergreen tree in the flowering plant family Rutaceae. Native to South Asia, particularly North Eastern India, the tree produces ellipsoidal yellow fruits whose juice is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes all over the world. The pulp and rind (zest) of the fruit are used in both cooking and baking.

Nutritional Value

Lemons are a rich source of numerous health benefiting nutrients. They include the following:

Citric Acid

Citric acid which is responsible for the lemon’s acidic taste constitutes up to 8% with a PH of around 2.2 in its juice. Lemon juice contains more citric acid than lime juice, twice the citric acid of grape juice and five times the amount in orange juice. It is excellent for the treatment of some health as well as skin conditions

Vitamin C

Lemon juice is an excellent source of vitamin C ( Ascorbic Acid ). It provides 88% of the recommended daily intake. Vitamin C is a natural antioxidant which can help prevent scurvy. Consumption of foods rich in this vitamin would afford the body so many health benefits.


Lemon juice contains vitamin A and numerous flavonoids namely; B-carotene, A-carotene, B-cryptoxanthin, Lutein, and zeaxanthin. Though they are minute in content they all possess properties that are beneficial to health as well as to skin.

Other vitamins contained in lemon juice, also in minute levels include B-complex vitamins such as pantothenic acid, pyridoxine, and folates. They are essential nutrients which the body obtains from outside sources to replenish itself.

Also, contained in the juice in some appreciable amount are minerals like iron, copper, potassium, magnesium, manganese, and calcium. These nutrients all possess antioxidant properties which are beneficial for both the body and skin.

For an in-depth analysis of lemon juice nutrition value, check out this article.

What Lemon Juice Can Do For Your Skin

Because lemon juice is high in so many nutrients, it can benefit not only your body but your skin as well. Topical application of the juice can help your skin in the following ways:

For cleansing

The citric acid in lemon is an antibacterial and an antiseptic. This is what accounts for its effectiveness as a cleansing agent and an excellent product and it has been used by women to get a fair and flawless skin.

For Skin Lightening

Due to the high content of citrus acid and vitamin C in lemon juice, it can help to lighten and brighten your skin when used over time. Citric acid is acidic in nature and has bleaching characteristics which help to inhibit melanin production, the result being a reduction in blemishes. Also, vitamin C has antioxidant properties which fight free radicals and boost collagen production. It, therefore, can help to lighten discoloration and fade dark spots and age spots.

For Oily-Skin Related Problems

Lemon juice is a product that is particularly effective for dealing with oily skin and all the problems related to it. Citric acid in lemon juice is a compound which can absorb excess oil and control the oil secretion in oily skin thereby preventing unsightly breakouts.

For Treatment Of Acne

Lemon juice has the capacity to reduce sebum (oil) due to the drying effect of citric acid. It has antiseptic properties which can kill acne-causing bacteria such as P. astringent along with reducing the scars.

Also, the astringent properties of lemon juice can effectively fade out facial scars when it is taken with water in the morning on empty stomach.

A Great Anti-aging Solution

High in natural antioxidants, lemon juice can combat free radicals and remove damages done by them from your skin. Vitamin C which is found in high quantity in this juice is very effective in reversing aging signs. It plays an important part in the production of collagen, a substance that gives the skin elasticity the breakdown of which causes fine lines and wrinkles. Lemon juice helps to repair damaged skin cells and to rid the skin of fine lines, wrinkles, etc.

Helps To Clear Skin

The antioxidant content of lemon juice, aside from combating free radicals also purges the blood of toxic materials resulting in a clear and radiant skin. Vitamin C in the juice is effective in rejuvenating the skin internally thereby preventing age spots which are sun damage. And as a powerful anti-oxidant, it protects against and can even repair damage caused by UV light from the sun.

For Exfoliation

Lemon juice is excellent for the dry and dull skin. Due to its high content of citric acid, a type of natural alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) which is a chemical exfoliant, it helps to remove dead skin cells to reveal the layer of newer, smoother skin cells underneath.

Side Effects Of Use Of Lemon Juice On Skin

Lemon juice, no doubt, is replete with a lot of health and skin benefiting ingredients. The fruit itself is so useful that every part of it, ranging from the juice to the peel and even the leaves are used for beauty benefits. However, due to the same ingredients, the skin can suffer some side effects from its use.

Happily, though, these side effects are minimal and can be avoided or controlled as they occur only when used on skin without dilution and when the skin is exposed to sunlight with lemon juice on it. When used in such circumstances, the skin can react in the following ways:


This reaction is typically common for those with sensitive skin or allergic to L.ascorbic acid, which is the primary base of most vitamin C serums. Irritation, which can sometimes lead to redness occurs when it is used with other active ingredients

Sun Burn

According to an article published in 2002, going out in the sun with lemon juice on your skin can cause blisters or dark spots. This condition,  referred to as phytophotodermatitis occurs when sunlight interacts with chemicals in lemon juice called psoralens on your skin. Details of the article are available here

Acne Scars

When used on pimples, lemon juice can sting and cause them to bleed due to its acidic nature leading to scars.

Alteration Of PH Level Of The Skin

Because lemon juice is highly acidic with a PH level of 2, the thin protective layer of the skin called acid mantle can suffer permanent damage as a result of alteration of the skin’s PH level leading to irritation, redness, dryness, breakouts, etc

Precautions For Avoiding Side Effects

To curb side effects, always ensure the following:

  • Dilute lemon juice before use
  • Do not dab undiluted lemon juice directly on face
  • Dilute lemon juice with either plain water, rose water, aloe vera gel, plant oil or honey to decrease its acidity
  • Use lemon juice on the face in the evenings or night rather than in the morning to prevent reaction due to sun
  • Never use stale lemon juice. Use only the fresh juice to maximize its vitamin C benefits.
  • Lemon juice is not to be used daily as it has properties that can dry out your skin. Limit its use to 3 or 4 times a week.
  • Always do a patch test of lemon juice on your skin before use.

How To Use Lemon Juice For Skin Care

Besides drinking lemon juice with warm water on an empty stomach in the morning for overall body and skin health, there are several ways of incorporating it into your skin care routine to optimize the benefits of this product for your skin. Below are some suggestions:

For Exfoliation

Thanks to its high content of citric acid, a type of alpha-hydroxy-acid that is effective in sloughing off the top layer of dead skin cells, lemon juice is a natural exfoliant.

To exfoliate using lemon juice, mix lemon juice with brown sugar and water into a paste. Using your fingertips gently rub it on your face. Leave on for about 5 to 10 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water.

For Moisturizing Skin

Lemon juice diluted with olive oil and honey works well to moisturize even the excessively dry skin. To use, mix lemon juice, honey and olive oil in equal parts together. Apply on your face and let it sit on it for about 10 to 15 minutes and rinse with warm water

An Anti-aging Solution

Due to the vitamin C content of lemon juice which boosts collagen production, lemon juice is very beneficial for anti-aging. To use safely for this purpose, mix some drops of lemon juice with a few drops of coconut oil together with a teaspoon of honey. Apply the mixture on your face and leave on for about 10 to 15 minutes and rinse off with warm water.

Though this treatment is effective to remove fine lines and wrinkles, it is a slow and gradual process. It, therefore, requires some patience.

To Lighten Skin

Citric acid in lemon juice has natural skin lightening properties. Using it over time in the above-mentioned ways would lighten and brighten your skin giving you a beautiful complexion.


Though it is not in doubt that lemon juice contains numerous nutritious ingredients that would benefit your skin in so many ways, these benefits are however accompanied by some side effects which can be averted by observing the precautionary measures enumerated above. You can, therefore, use lemon juice to acquire the smooth, flawless and beautiful skin that you desire.

What are your thoughts about lemon juice, Is it worth giving a try? If you have any questions about lemon juice or have any personal experiences you wish to share, please leave a comment below and I will gladly get back to you.



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