BY DR. BLOSSOM KOCHHAR
New Delhi– Every beauty expert, and skincare blogger would advise you to add Vitamin C to your skincare routine. So, we all turn to sources of Vitamin C and the most easily and readily available is lemon. You might come across various DIYs which involve lemon juice, lemon zest, etc. There are so many skin benefits of adding lemon to your face masks and packs but in the past few years, we have been hearing whispers of the risks associated with using lemon on the skin.
Let’s weigh in on the pros and cons of using lemon on our skin:
Benefits of using lemon on your face:
Exfoliates dead skin – Lemon juice contains alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) such as glycolic acid. Such acids are commonly used in skin care, as they increase cell turnover and slough away dead skin cells. As a result, many folks use lemon juice in hopes of reducing dullness and brightening the skin.
Reduces Acne – Lemon juice has astringent qualities due to its acidic level. Ingredients with a low pH level can help decrease inflammation and oil that may contribute to the formation of acne. Furthermore, citric acid, a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), can help break down dead skin cells that lead to noninflammatory forms of acne, like blackheads.
Increases collagen production – The body needs vitamin C to synthesize collagen, the main structural protein in the skin. Using vitamin-C-rich ingredients can help support your intake of the nutrient, and ultimately, collagen production.
Skin spot or hair lightening – Citrus ingredients like lemon may also work well on lightening age spots or acne scars, as well as any hair on your face.
Dandruff treatment – lemon has been used to treat dandruff for ages, the sloughing-off effects are attributed to lemon’s natural levels of citric acid, as AHAs have an exfoliating effect on the skin, therefore it can also alleviate skin patches attributed to dandruff.
Offers antioxidants – Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, meaning it can help fight oxidative stress. This is noteworthy because oxidative stress can lead to inflammation, sagging, and faster skin aging. However, lemon juice may help stave off these effects because it contains vitamin C.
Now let us look at some disadvantages of using lemon on your face:
Cause irritation: Even if your stint with lemon juice doesn’t result in burns, the ingredient can still cause irritation. This is a side effect of acids, like those in lemon juice, weakening and damaging the skin barrier. According to Worden, possible symptoms include peeling, dryness, stinging, and redness, depending on your skin tone.
Sunburn: Citrus fruits applied topically can also increase your risk of sunburn. Never apply lemon before going outside in direct sunlight, and don’t use it for several days before any planned outdoor activities.
Phytophotodermatitis: It is a type of skin reaction to citrus fruits and other culprits, like parsley, celery, and carrot plants. When you have citrus substances on your skin and your skin is then exposed to UV rays, an inflammatory reaction may occur. This can result in swelling, bumps on your skin, redness, and rashes.
Hyperpigmentation: Although lemon juice is often used to reduce hyperpigmentation, it can actually worsen the issue. That’s because the sunburns caused by lemon juice can cause blistering, leading to months of hyperpigmentation and potentially permanent scarring. Basically, you need to understand that vitamin C in beauty products is different from vitamin C in your food.
We are not saying don’t use lemon at all on your face, but do the following so that you don’t develop any skin problems:
Always do a patch test before applying it to your face. You can do it on your arms and wait for some time to see the reaction
Always dilute lemon juice with something like rose water or honey, avoid using it alone and directly on your face
Sunscreen is a must after you apply lemon juice
Use fresh lemons in case you are adding the juice to a pack (IANS)