The internet tells you lemon juice is an antibacterial, skin brightening exfoliant that can help clear acne, age spots, uneven skin tone and more. The benefits of lemon juice for skin sound wonderful. But before using lemon juice on your skin there’s important questions to be asked;
One; Does lemon juice for skin work? And two; Is lemon juice for skin safe?
Do not use DIY lemon juice hacks on your skin without reading this first.
Is It Safe To Put Lemon Juice On Your Face?
Lemon juice is an acid. Which can sound scary. In fact your skin is also acidic. Naturally the skin on your face is healthiest when at a pH between 4.2 to 5. Skincare with a slightly acidic pH can therefore be helpful. When your skin pH is raised your skin can quickly become dry, damaged and acne prone. When your skin pH is healthy your skin is glowing, radiant and supple.
The lowest pH level you can find in at home skincare is around 3.2.
The pH of lemon juice is 2. It’s significantly lower. Skincare with pH levels this low should never be left on skin.
Fact 1: The drastically low pH of lemon juice is too acidic to be used safely on skin when undiluted.
Can You Leave Lemon Juice On Your Face Overnight?
Natural lemon juice made in your home is not a cosmetic ingredient. Actives used in skincare are purified. This is important because the mix of ingredients found in natural products can be harmful to skin. Lemon juice is a well-known example.
Putting lemon juice on your skin exposes skin to 100s of natural actives. Some of these actives i.e. furanocoumarins are phototoxic. Meaning when they come into contact with light – they react to create potent skin irritants. Sabotagers of your skin health.
Fact 2: If using lemon juice for skin it’s best to use a highly diluted amount at night and to wash off thoroughly the morning after.
Does Lemon Juice Really Brighten Skin?
Some people claim putting lemon juice on their face helps brighten their skin. That it can get rid of acne scars, fade age spots and even your skin tone. Can it be true?
Lemon juice contains citric acid and an extremely small amount of vitamin C.
Vitamin C is known to help fade pigmentation by engaging enzymes which help create melanin. With time age spots, acne scars and uneven skin tone can fade. But – the percent of vitamin C in undiluted lemon juice is far too low to effectively lighten and brighten skin.
The next possibility is citric acid. An alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) with natural exfoliating power. Speeding your skin cell turnover rate is known to help fade away temporary pigmentation i.e. acne scars or post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Although the percent of citric acid in lemon juice is strong enough to mildly exfoliate skin, it cannot match the percent of AHAs used in skincare.
Fact 3: Neat lemon juice (which we advise as unsafe for skin) may mildly help lighten and brighten skin because it contains citric acid – a known AHA.
Bottom line; Lemon juice may have weak benefits for your skin – but strong side effects. Acid irritation, phototoxic burns, persisting redness and premature ageing.
We recommend not to risk using lemon juice for skin. Instead use tomato fruit extract – it’s clinically proven to lighten and brighten skin minus nasty lemon juice side effects. We use it at active concentrations in our Explorer Blend Facial Oil. Find it here.