You probably use lemons as flavoring in your food and drinks all the time, but if you're like most people, you've never thought about using them as a natural skin care and beauty treatment. Lemons won't fix your skin overnight, but they can help treat certain problems and may even help prevent serious skin conditions. Using lemon juice topically for a short period of time doesn't have long term side effects, either.
For Acne Scars
Like smearing toothpaste on pimples, lemon juice is sometimes mentioned as a quick home remedy for getting rid of acne. Unfortunately, there's little evidence that lemon juice can really make acne vanish overnight. However, lemon juice can help lighten acne scars if used sparingly. Apply freshly squeezed lemon juice to areas of acne scarring with a cotton swab or pad in the evening after washing with a mild facial cleanser. Avoid getting lemon juice on the rest of your skin – it can be very drying.
For Oily Skin
Lemon juice is a natural antiseptic. When lemon juice is used as part of a facial mask, it can help to clear dirt and bacteria on the surface of your skin that can cause pimples and breakouts. Oleda Baker, author of "29 Forever" suggests making a mask from fresh lemon juice and chilled oatmeal. To make the mask, combine 1 cup of cooked, chilled oatmeal with 2 tablespoons of freshly-squeezed lemon juice in a small bowl. Apply the mask to clean skin and leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse the mask off with lukewarm water and pat your skin dry with a clean towel. Baker recommends using the mask once per week or less. If the lemon juice mask is too drying for your skin, use it once every 10 days to 2 weeks instead.
Lemon peel, when added to hot black tea may protect your body from skin cancer according to BBC News. Researchers Iman Hakim and Robin Harris of the University of Arizona found that people that drank hot tea with lemon peel had a 70 percent reduced risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma. Study participants that drank hot black tea without lemon peel only had a 40 percent reduced risk. Drinking tea regularly may also help reduce the risk sunburn too, but more research needs to be conducted in this area.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil produced through the vapor distillation process can be used on the skin to help rejuvenate dull skin according to Barbara Close, author of "Pure Skin: Organic Beauty Basics." According to Close, the best way to use lemon essential oil on your skin is to mix 1 part lemon essential oil and 10 parts natural carrier oil like jojoba or coconut oil. Apply the mixture to clean skin in the evening. Close also recommends limiting sun exposure while you're using lemon essential oil topically, because it may increase photosensitivity.