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Acne and Lemon

Lemon and lemon water are believed to be natural acne treatments. In this article, we look at what the research has to say about using lemons for acne.
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When treating acne, many people choose to utilize natural treatments.

Prescription medications and medicated lotions and gels are useful, but benzoyl peroxide and antibiotics (the most common prescription acne treatments available) can damage the skin and cause irritation/allergic reactions.

Ideally, the best way to treat acne would be with a safe and natural home remedy that can be created using ingredients bought at the local grocery store. That is one of the many reasons that people use lemon for acne.

Lemons and Acne

It's unclear when lemon became a popular home remedy for acne or what its origins were.

Still, it's clear that lemon and lemon water for acne are considered well known acne treatments. The question is whether or not they work.

Because lemon is such a simple idea, and because rarely are any research dollars spent on natural remedies, there is no current evidence that acne and lemon interact in any way. That said, it's possible that lemon has an effect on acne.

Most likely – if lemon affects acne at all – it would be with regard to acne scars. There is evidence that vitamin C is beneficial for speeding up the wound healing process. Since acne scars are a type of wound, leaving vitamin C on the face could be a beneficial way to reduce scarring and ultimately reduce the appearance of acne (although acne itself will still be present).

It's also possible that lemon has some type of either antibacterial properties.

Lemon has a very low pH balance, indicating that it may damage and ultimately reduce the amount of bacteria on your face. Essentially, lemon is an acid that may be safe for skin, and since most bacteria cannot handle that type of acid it's possible that lemon is killing off the excess bacteria that cause acne.

That same acidic content may help dry out the skin as well. That dryness would essentially mimic what other acne treatments do – reduce oil buildup on the skin to help pores breath and prevent bacteria proliferation.

Once again, it's not necessarily clear what the link between lemon and acne is, if there is a link at all, because there are no scientific studies of the effects of lemon for acne. But there is logic behind the idea that lemon could be effective as an acne treatment.

Anecdotal Effectiveness of Lemon Water and Acne

This lack of research indicates that the only way to know if lemon is a valuable treatment option for acne is through anecdotal reports.

Generally, most people report that acne does appear to have a small effect on their skin – especially those with mild acne. It's believed to reduce pore size as well, making it less possible for acne causing bacteria to build up within the pore.

Most people claim that it takes longer for lemon treated acne to fade than traditional treatments, but they claim that it does fade and many people state that it cures their acne.

However, arguably the most common use for lemon is not as an acne treatment at all. Many experts believe that lemon doesn't prevent acne per se. Instead, it reduces the size of the acne bumps, and heals acne more quickly so that the acne that does appear doesn't last as long.

If true, lemon would not necessarily be an acne treatment, but it would still be a valuable tool for fighting acne.

Acne and Lemon – Side Effects

The clearest side effect of using lemon for acne is the burning/stinging risk.

Many people report that using lemon dabs on the face may burn or sting. Stinging is especially common with an open wound.

Some people also report that lemon can cause skin drying and peeling. In these cases it may be best to dilute the lemon juice – although diluting the juice would likely lower its effectiveness. It can also be sticky, which may make it harder for people to sleep.

Lemon juice for acne may also lighten the skin, which some people like but others find upsetting.

How to Use Lemon Water for Acne

There are countless lemon water and acne home remedies available for those that want to try a more complex mixture. However, the most basic step by step process is as follows:

  • Wash your face thoroughly.
  • Squeeze out a lemon or buy lemon juice in the store.
  • Take a cotton ball and dab it all over your face – both areas with acne and areas without.
  • Wait 30 minutes and wash it off (although some people keep it on overnight).
  • Repeat every day for at least 3 months.

All acne treatments take a long time to work effectively, and lemon water is believed to take longer than traditional treatments, so a 3 month commitment is important, otherwise you may not see any benefits even if it is working.

If the lemon stings too much, you may want to dilute it with water. However, the more water there is in your lemon water, the less effective it is believed to be.

Because lemon may cause dry skin, some people combine lemon with honey to nourish and moisturize the skin. It's unclear what honey does to the efficacy of the lemon treatment.

Myths About Lemon Juice

Although it's possible that lemon does affect acne, it's important to not fall for the belief that lemon is some magical acne cure. A press release for an association for lemon grows claims the following:

"Lemon juice also works as an acne medicine. Simply put lemon juice onto a cotton ball and dab it on your pimples. Leave the juice on overnight and wash it off in the morning. According to many users, lemon juice will get rid of acne in about a week."

It would be wonderful if this was the case, but we know it's not highly unlikely to be true. That's because acne is generally forming weeks before it shows up on the skin, making it near impossible to clear up acne in a week.

Also, some people believe that lemon is a good complement to other acne treatments. However, doubling up on treatments is rarely good for your acne. If you are already using treatments that reduce acne scars, dry out the skin, or kill facial bacteria, it's best to not use lemons.

Acne and Lemon – Overall Thoughts

It's unclear whether or not lemon truly has much of an effect on acne. But for those that want to avoid many traditional acne treatments, there should be no harm. Rarely does lemon cause any side effects beyond burning or stinging, and since lemon juice is available at the local grocery store, it's the type of natural solution that is easy for anyone to try.

Sources


 

http://www.personal.psu.edu/ssh5022/5873934194bed5f3c3ba14/uploads/1/2/2/1/1221116/feature_story.pdf

http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2012/pickruhn_mega/

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