Q:

“I have always wanted to try lemon on my face to help with my dark spots and acne but I have been not told use it. I have been told it’s too harsh on my face. So here’s my question. What is the best recipe in using it for my face?
– Khanhlee

A:

Hi Khanhlee,

Thanks so much for your question!

Lemon is an excellent ingredient for dark spots and acne. Lemon mildly exfoliates the skin. It is astringent, so highly recommended for oily and blemished skin. It is a rich source of vitamin C too. It also brightens and lightens the skin, so may be helpful for dark spots and other pigmentation issues.

Though it may help with dark spots, it will only lighten them a couple shades, and it may take a few weeks to many months to lighten. The lightening effect will not be as dramatic as using stronger lab derived, lab concentrated, and synthetic skin lighteners. But I think lemon is an excellent ingredient to use as a lightener and brightener since it is gentler than many other lighteners and it is also non-toxic. However, different ingredients work for different people, so lemon may or may not work for you.

Some people recommend using it full strength on the skin, but in my experience using it full strength on the facial skin is a little too acidic or drying for many people. Therefore, I usually recommend using it in dilution. Do a test patch on the inner elbow or on your jaw line to check for any skin sensitivities, and to find out which concentration you can tolerate. For patch tests, start with a low dilution (use distilled water to dilute the lemon juice), cover the area with a bandage, and observe the skin after 24-48 hours. Some people may be able to use a higher concentration than others, so always start with a low concentration and see if you can tolerate that, before trying a stronger concentration. Use lemon products at night.

Some people may be able to use (diluted) lemon juice as a leave on product. Others find that they need to rinse it off after a few minutes to 15 minutes. Experiment and find what works for you.

If you want to use lemon juice as a daily, long term toner (for all over use), I suggest starting out with a 5-10% concentration. Use distilled water, aloe, or a hydrosol as a base. If you use lemon toner daily, you may or may not need extra exfoliation.

For a spot treatment, you may be able to use a slightly stronger concentration. Start with a 10% concentration and work your way up if needed. I personally don’t recommend using stronger than a 33% concentration for the facial skin, and I highly suggest using as low as a concentration as possible. For the body skin, a stronger concentration may be used. Dilute it with distilled water, aloe, or a hydrosol. You can thicken it with a gel or gum, if you like.

Spot treatments can usually be made a little stronger, since they are used on only certain areas of the face, and over a shorter time frame. If your skin is super sensitive, use only a low concentration. If your skin gets red or irritated, do not use lemon juice on the skin. The spot treatment can be used once a day. Every once in a while, take a break from using this ingredient, if using it for more than a few weeks. For the toner and spot treatment, it is best to refrigerate them when not in use. Use within a week or two, or add a broad spectrum preservative for a longer shelf life.

Lemon juice can be added to other products such as masks and cleansers too. Squeeze a little lemon juice in yogurt for an excellent cleanser or mask. Leave it on your skin for one to fifteen minutes. It is best to make this fresh before each use. You can use this daily (you may or may not need more exfoliation when using this cleanser). Or use 1-2 times a week as a mask. Be sure to rinse you skin well after applying this cleanser or mask.

Li Wong ContributorPrivateContent
Owner , Expert Plant Alkemie
Li has over two decades of plant knowledge and experience! She is an aromatherapist (trained in clinical aromatherapy and advanced aromatic medicine), herbalist (trained in family, community, and clinical herbalism), natural perfumer, natural formulator, eco living writer, and environmental scientist/biologist.
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Li Wong ContributorPrivateContent
Owner , Expert Plant Alkemie
Li has over two decades of plant knowledge and experience! She is an aromatherapist (trained in clinical aromatherapy and advanced aromatic medicine), herbalist (trained in family, community, and clinical herbalism), natural perfumer, natural formulator, eco living writer, and environmental scientist/biologist.
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