Are you looking for a safe way to use lemons for healing your skin? The right combination can benefit your skin without causing dryness and irritation.
Rich in antioxidants, lemons can help fight aging, hyperpigmentation and mild bacterial skin infections. Using it based on your skin type and Prakriti can detoxify your skin and restore its natural glow.
Read on to know the best ways of using lemon on your face for various skin benefits.
Our Ayurvedic Doctor Speaks
“Ayurveda recognizes Nimbuka to be Rochana param, very delightful and taste-enhancing. It balances all the three doshas and is beneficial in vata disorders.”
Dr. Zeel Gandhi (Bachelor Of Ayurveda, Medicine & Surgery), Chief Ayurvedic Doctor, Vedix
Is Lemon Good For The Face?
Lemon and its extracts have been used for ages in skincare for their cleansing, detoxifying and antioxidant properties. It is a rich source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) and various phytochemicals such as flavonoids, quinines,  terpenoids, alkaloids and phenols.
These help slow down skin aging and enhance your skin’s complexion. These bioactive components also give lemon its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial abilities, which help prevent acne and other skin infections, thus giving you beautiful, clear skin.
According to Ayurveda, using unripe lemon on your face can balance the vata and kapha doshas, which cause excess dryness and oiliness. Ripe lemons, on the other hand, have the ability to balance the pitta dosha, which is responsible for inflammatory conditions, redness and irritation on the face.
As per Dr. Zeel Gandhi, Chief Ayurvedic Doctor at Vedix, “Nimbuka (lemon) is the gift of the Indian sub-continent to the world. Ayurveda recognizes Nimbuka to be Rochana param, very delightful and taste-enhancing. It balances all the three doshas and is beneficial in vata disorders.”
During the 1800s, lemon was used as a natural skin bleach to lighten the complexion and manage pimple conditions.
Benefits Of Using Lemon On Your Skin
1. Removes Dead Skin
Citric acid in lemon acts as a natural exfoliator that helps remove dead skin cells from your face. Accumulation of dead skin can lead to pore clogging and acne issues.
By removing the upper damaged layer of keratinocytes, lemon helps reveal the healthy skin layer lying underneath, thereby enhancing your skin's natural glow.
2. Brightens Dull Skin
According to research, the essential oil extracted from lemon exhibited powerful tyrosinase inhibitory activities. Components such as myrcene and citral in lemon oil are mainly responsible for its skin-brightening properties.
Using lemon on the face not only helps to lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation, it also protects your skin from UV ray induced photodamage.
3. Prevents Premature Skin Aging
Flavonoids such as eriocitrin , hesperidin and naringin; phenolic acids such as cryptochlorogenic acid, ferulic acid and erucic acid; limonoids and other bioactive compounds in lemon are responsible for its potent antioxidant  activities.
Thus applying lemon on the face can help reduce free radical skin damage, which is considered one of the primary causes of skin aging.
Further, lemon’s ability to enhance collagen production helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
4. Treats Acne
Lemon can help treat acne in various ways. Its exfoliating abilities help unclog your pores. Being astringent, it controls excess sebum production on the face and its antibacterial properties prevent the proliferation of P. acnes bacteria that cause acne.
Further, its anti-inflammatory properties heal inflamed acne lesions and its wound healing and skin brightening abilities prevent the occurrence of acne marks and scars.
Research in 2017 suggested the use of fresh lemon as a natural treatment for acne in adult female patients. Though the efficacy of such a treatment depends on the severity of the condition, it is a more preferred alternative to harsh medications such as retinoids and benzoyl peroxide.
5. Improves Skin Barrier Function
Vitamin C is known to promote collagen synthesis, aid wound healing and strengthen the epidermal barrier for better protection from environmental damages.
Research shows that skin manifestation of scurvy, a condition caused by vitamin C deficiency, includes skin fragility, impaired wound healing and depletion of collagen.
Lemon being a great source of topical vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, can help increase skin immunity and keep various skin conditions at bay.
6. Prevents Skin Infections
The presence of phytochemicals such as flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins, terpenoids, glycosides, steroids and reducing sugars contribute to lemons' antimicrobial  properties.
At a time when antibiotic-resistant bacteria is constantly becoming a challenge, the application of fresh lemon juice on bacterial and fungal skin lesions has shown to inhibit further microbial growth.
Lemon, especially its essential oil, is also effective as a scabies treatment  owing to its antiparasitic properties.
7. Regulates Excess Sebum
According to Ayurveda, lemon is a kapha hara herb that helps prevent excess sebum secretions on the face. This makes it a beneficial ingredient in oily skin care.
8. Aids Eczema And Psoriasis Treatments
Phytochemicals in lemon such as alpha pinene , linalool , citral  and others make this natural ingredient a perfect remedy for chronic inflammatory skin conditions. Applying lemon juice or lemon oil on eczema and psoriasis-affected skin not only reduces inflammation but also helps to clear the scaly lesion with minimal scarring.
How To Use Lemon On The Face?
A. For Pimples
1. Add 1 ½ tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 tablespoon of raw Manuka honey. Mix well and apply on the acne lesions as a spot treatment. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and wash off. Use twice a day till the pimples heal.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 teaspoon each of turmeric and triphala powders. Add some water to adjust consistency and apply on the pimple affected areas of your face. Leave it on for 30 minutes and wash off.
3. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 tablespoon of jojoba/ safflower oil. To this add 3-4 drops of tea tree oil. Mix and apply on your pimples. Wash off with lukewarm water after 10 minutes.
B. For Dark Spots And Pigmentation
1. Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 teaspoon each of yashtimadhu and sandalwood powders. Add some water to prepare a paste and apply on your face. Leave it on for about 30 minutes and wash off.
2. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 tablespoon of aloe vera gel. Mix well and apply to lighten dark spots on your face. Wash off after 15 minutes.
3. Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice with 1 ½ teaspoon each of khadira  and neem bark powders. Add some water to form a paste and apply on the hyperpigmented areas of your face. Leave it on for 20 to 30 minutes and wash off.
C. For Oily Skin
1. Add 1 ½ tablespoon of lemon juice to 1 tablespoon of rose water and 1 teaspoon each of hibiscus and amla powders. Mix well and apply on your oily skin. Leave it on for about 30 minutes and wash off.
2. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to 1 tablespoon of pineapple paste and 1 tablespoon of green tea (brewed, strained and cooled to room temperature). Mix all ingredients and apply the pack on your face. Wash off after 20 to 30 minutes for fresh, oil-free skin.
D. For Glowing Skin
1. Mash a ripe papaya and mix 1 tablespoon of this paste with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and ½ tablespoon of raw honey. Mix all ingredients and apply on your skin. Wash off after 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Add 1 ½ tablespoon of lemon juice to1 tablespobon of sweet almond oil and 1 tablespoon of orange peel powder. Mix well and apply on your face. Wash off after 20 minutes for glowing skin.
Always do a patch test before putting lemon for the first time on your skin. Never expose your skin to direct sunlight after lemon application.
Does Lemon Have Side Effects On The Face?
1. Skin Irritation
The high concentration of citric acid in lemons can cause dryness, irritation, redness and mild burning sensations. Hence topical use of lemon is not advisable for sensitive skin, dry skin or skin with cuts and open wounds.
2. Citrus Fruit-Induced Phytophotodermatitis
Certain plant compounds are known to increase your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays of the sun. Citrus fruits such as lemons and limes belonging to the Rutaceae family contain phototoxic chemicals known as furocoumarins .
When exposed to the sun, these compounds can cause sunburns and a more serious skin condition called phytophotodermatitis . Blistering, inflammation, redness, hyperpigmentation and cell death are common symptoms of this condition.
3. Chemical Leukoderma
While lemons are widely used for skin lightening, there are reports of it causing hypopigmentation or leukoderma in certain people. This can lead to your skin losing its natural color in the affected areas and the appearance of white or discolored spots on the face.
Frequently Asked Questions About Lemon For Face
1. Is Rubbing Lemon On The Face Good Or Bad?
Diluted lemon juice is always a safer method of applying lemon on the face for all skin types. Lemon can prove to be quite harsh, especially for dry and sensitive skin. Directly rubbing lemon on the face may also cause skin irritations and redness.
2. Can You Leave Lemon On Your Face Overnight?
Leaving lemon on the face overnight is not advisable. The strong acidic nature of lemon can not only cause skin irritation, but if left overnight, it may increase the potential risk of developing hypopigmented patches on the skin.
The Last Word
Lemon has various therapeutic properties owing to its rich content of antioxidant phytochemicals and vitamin C. Adding lemon juice, its extract or essential oil to your skincare routine can brighten your complexion, fight acne, prevent skin diseases and slow down the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
However, it is important to remember that while using fruit acids on the face, moderation is the key to good skin health. So, understand your skin type and accordingly follow the methods mentioned in this article to safely use lemon on your face for bright, glowing, beautiful skin.Know Your Dosha Now
1. Phytochemicals From Citrus Limon Juice As Potential Antibacterial Agents, 2020
2. Isolation Of Eriocitrin (Eriodictyol 7- Rutinoside) From Lemon Fruit (Citrus Limon BURM. F) And Its Antioxidative Activity, 1997
3. Phytochemical Profile And Antioxidant Activity Of Physiological Drop Of Citrus Fruits, 2013 January
4. Phytochemical, Antimicrobial, And Antioxidant Activities Of Different Citrus Juice Concentrates, 2015 July
5. Citrus Limon (Lemon) Phenomenon- A Review Of The Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications In The Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, And Cosmetics Industries, And Biotechnological Studies, 2020 January
6. Alpha-Pinene Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Activity Through The Suppression Of MAPKs And The NF-KB Pathway In Mouse Peritoneal Macrophages, 2015 June
7. Anti-Inflammatory Effects Of Linalool In RAW 264.7 Macrophages And Lipopolysaccharide- Induced Lung Injury Model, 2012 December
8. Anti-Inflammatory And Anti-Cancer Activity Of Citral: Optimization Of Citral-Loaded Solid Lipid Nanoparticles (SLN) Using Experimental Factorial Design And LUMiSizerⓇ, 2018 October
9. Critical Review Of Ayurvedic Varnya Herbs And Their Tyrosinase Inhibition Effect, 2015 July-September
10. Asymptomatic Hyperpigmentation Without Preceding Inflammation As A Clinical Feature Of Citrus Fruits-Induced Phytophotodermatitis, 2018 February
11. Lime-Induced Phytophotodermatitis, 2014 September
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