Using lemon juice as a skin lightener is something that has been around for ages. The truth of the matter is that it is not a myth. Lemon juice does have the ability to lighten dark spots and hyperpigmentation. However, it carries several drawbacks which prevent it from being a favorable skin care treatment.
Lemons are a source of pure, fresh vitamin C. Vitamin C can lighten and brighten skin overtime. Many individuals use the juice from lemons straight on their skin to reap its benefits. Unfortunately, using undiluted lemon juice on the skin can cause more harm than good.
Our skin’s pH sits at around 4 to 5.5. Lemons are highly acidic, and have a pH of 2, which can disturb our natural acid mantle. This disruption can lead to all sorts of problems, such as irritation, burning, stinging, and the risk of developing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Lemon juice also dries out the skin by disrupting the lipid layer of the skin, which contains fatty oil secretions and retained moisture.
What’s even more detrimental is that lemon juice can make the skin more sensitive to the sun. This phototoxicity can further darken hyperpigmentation, as well as aggravate irritation and burns caused by the lemon juice.
Many people swear by lemons, and while it’s a DIY method that I will never use, there are some ways to minimize its adverse effects. My suggestion to anyone who wishes to use lemon juice on their skin, is to dilute it with water or witch hazel (or both). Depending on how much surface area you want to cover (whether it’s just your face or your neck, arms etc.) using 1/2 cup of fresh lemon juice to 1 cup of water can cover a lot. It’s advisable to use at night, and to apply with a cotton pad.
Finally, make sure to moisturize, and wear sunscreen during the day to protect your skin