How effective is lemon juice as a natural acne remedy? Will it clear your skin or just leave you burned?

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Using Lemon Juice to Treat Acne and Scars

Applying lemon juice can help clear up acne, but use it the wrong way and you may end up making your skin worse

 

Many acne home remedies involve applying citrus fruits to your skin. In most cases, this is simply thanks to the citric acid they contain. Lemon juice is especially popular because it is one of the best sources of citric acid, along with several other beneficial ingredients such as potassium and vitamin C.

 

Its ingredients, plus the fact that lemon juice is easy to acquire and use (just squeeze a lemon!), has made it one of the most common ingredients among natural acne remedies. But be warned, this is one natural treatment that packs a punch.

 

How can topically applied lemon juice improve your skin?

 

Citric acid belongs to the family of alpha hydroxy acids, which are highly used in skin rejuvenation creams and lotions. Its most powerful effect is in stimulating exfoliation, burning away your top layer of dead skin cells and working to unclog your pores. The concentration of citric acid in lemon juice is strong enough to kill off acne-causing bacteria, and like any AHA, it aids in promoting skin elasticity and keeping your skin cells supple (when applied in moderation). As a natural astringent, it can dry up excess skin oil and help prevent whiteheads or blackheads from forming.

 

Besides these common effects, lemon juice also has the property of "bleaching" or lightening your skin tone. This has made it a popular remedy for acne scars, as beyond reducing redness and swelling in inflamed blemishes, it can potentially diminish the appearance of even older scars, concealing them and promoting faster healing. But be careful, as applying it to an open wound will just cause you a lot of pain.

 

Pure lemon juice is not a gentle solution

 

Despite its benefits, lemon juice is anything but gentle. Its highly acidic nature means that it can leave your skin dry and burned. The sting can be especially painful if your skin is broken, and potentially even cause scars to worsen, so never apply it to a partially opened scar or cyst. Some users of lemon juice find that they need a few weeks for their skin to adjust before the redness subsides, and it's not uncommon for acne sufferers to experience an initial breakout when starting out with this remedy. This is definitely not a treatment you want to leave on your skin for a prolonged period of time, as too much exposure can easily lead to peeling.

 

Protecting your skin from the harsh side effects

 

If your skin is sensitive, you'll probably want to avoid pure lemon juice altogether. At most, you should only apply it as a spot treatment, dabbing a small amount of the juice onto isolated areas of your face (use a cotton ball for better control). For more liberal applications, the safest course is to dilute it with water. Two parts lemon juice and one part water is usually enough. However, perhaps the best means of use is to mix it with other home acne remedies. Lemon juice mixes well with many natural ingredients, including honey, mint julep clay and aloe vera. By combining it with ingredients that have moisturizing properties, you can get the same exfoliation benefits and improvements to your skin tone without the excessive dryness that usually follows.

 

Lemon juice isn't only a topical treatment, you can also drink it

 

As it turns out, drinking lemon juice is another way to promote healthy skin. It has natural detoxifying properties and works to cleanse your liver, enabling more efficient absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. Of course, it doesn't hurt that it's rich in vitamin C either. However, to get the full effect, you need to prepare it properly. Typical lemonade is not good enough. Sugar can work against you, so for best results you should keep things pure and simple. Squeeze 1 fresh lemon into 16 oz (2 cups or 1 tall glass) of water and drink. Just expect that it may taste a little sour. Also, try not to eat anything within 1/2 hour of when you drink the lemon juice, as food can interfere with your body's detoxification.

 

Should you want something with a bit more flavor, another good recipe is to add some lemon juice to freshly brewed green tea or white tea. The combined cleansing and antioxidant effect makes for a great clear skin beverage. Just watch out for sweeteners (other than a touch of honey).

 

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