Lemon Extract Benefits for the Skin

a cup of lemon juice extract

Lemon Extract for Skin

Being a rich source of vitamin C and citric acid, lemons are very well known for their detoxifying effects, especially when you add a few freshly cut lemon wedges to your drinking water.

Because of the health benefits of eating lemons, there’s increasing popularity of using lemons as a treatment for skin conditions like dark spots and acne.

However, using lemons on your face can be more damaging to your skin than good. Here, we list the risks and benefits of lemon juice for the skin.

Lemon benefits for skin

The claimed benefits of using lemon on your skin have to do with the natural acidity of this citrus fruit, as well as its vitamin C content. Lemons are sometimes basically used for:

Acne treatment

Lemon juice has astringent properties due to its acidic nature. Components with a low pH level like lemons can help decrease inflammation and oil that may be responsible for the formation of acne.

Furthermore, citric acid which is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), can help break down dead skin cells by unclogging pores that lead to noninflammatory types of acne like blackheads.

Antimicrobial effects

Lemons' antimicrobial effects may help tame Propionibacterium acnes bacteria that lead to the formation of inflammatory acne.

Due to the antifungal effects of lemon, it may help treat Candida rashes and controls sebum production as well as scalp fungus that sometimes happens with seborrheic dermatitis.

Skin or hair lightening

Citrus ingredients like lemon can also work well in lightening age spots or acne scars, as well as any facial hairs.

Psoriasis and dandruff treatment

As lemon juice can help to get rid of dead skin cells, the theory is that it might also alleviate skin patches attributed to psoriasis and dandruff.

The discarding effects are attributed to lemon’s natural levels of citric acid, as AHAs have exfoliating effects on the skin.

Increased collagen

One of the benefits of using lemon on the skin is that this citrus fruit helps in increasing the collagen in your skin.

Collagen itself is a protein that naturally breaks down with age, which further results in fine lines and wrinkles.

Being an antioxidant, vitamin C may help prevent free radicals that can damage collagen, leaving you with smoother and shinier skin.

Side effects and precautions of using lemon on your face

Lemon tends to have more side effects than benefits for the skin, making it a risky option for home skincare. The risk becomes more if you have sensitive skin or you get exposed to the sun after applying lemon.

Skin irritation

Skin irritation is the most common side effect of using something acidic and lemon is one of them that can irritate your skin severely.

You might face excessive dryness, redness, and peeling of your skin which can be worse if you have sensitive skin.


Phytophotodermatitis is a kind of skin reaction due to citrus fruits.

When you apply citrus substances to your skin and then are exposed to UV rays, an inflammatory reaction may occur. This can result in signs like redness, swelling, and blistering.


Leukoderma, also known as vitiligo, occurs when your skin is lightened due to a loss of melanin, the substance which is responsible for creating your natural skin colour.

While some people use lemon on the skin to lighten dark spots, but large, widespread white leukoderma spots may develop instead.


Never apply lemon before going outside in direct sunlight as it can increase the risk of sunburn, and don’t use it for several days before any planned outdoor activities.

Can you put lemon on your face daily?

If you want to try out fresh lemon as a face treatment, you may start with once-a-day applications. Ideally, you would discontinue using lemon once you see development in your complexion.

Can you leave lemon on your face overnight?

Lemon is highly acidic, and it may be difficult to look for any side effects that start to develop overnight. It’s advised to start using the product during the daytime when you can observe your skin.

Leaving lemon on your face overnight isn’t a good choice if you have sensitive skin.

How to use lemon on the face carefully?

When applying lemon directly to your face, you should treat this fruit like you would treat any new skincare product. 

Always do a patch test on an area of skin first. Wait for one or two days to ensure that no side effects develop before moving ahead with using lemon on your face.

Squeeze some juice from a fresh lemon onto a cotton ball. Gently apply to the desired area of skin using gentle pressure but don’t rub it harshly.

Once it dries, you can continue with the rest of your skin.

Start with the application once a day, potentially working your way up to twice a day.

Discontinue usage if you have any side effects.

Other remedies to treat facial skin

Due to several risks involved with applying lemon on the face, you’re better off using other remedies that are known to help the skin without harming it. Talk to your dermatologist about the following:

  • Aloe
  • coconut oil
  • lavender oil
  • lemon essential oil
  • tea tree oil
  • Turmeric
  • yoghurt

Take Away

While the benefits of using lemons on your face can be appealing, only small quantities are safe as an occasional spot treatment — if your skin can tolerate this citrus fruit to start with.

If you’re still wanting to use lemon, consider using OTC products that contain extracts of the fruit instead so you still benefit from AHAs and vitamin C.

You can also seek a dermatologist for treating specific skin conditions. They will know which treatments are safe for your skin, along with which ones you should avoid.