When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade, Not Skincare Products

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The do it yourself beauty craze is on the rise, which gives bloggers and other self-proclaimed beauty experts the opportunity to let their creative juices flow freely creating hair care, skin care, and cosmetic products that can easily be duplicated. I’ll admit it is fun to whip up things from the pantry that you can just slather on your skin. But every recipe is not a good idea. Lemon is one of those ingredients that should not be included in DIY beauty recipes. So before you slice that lemon in half and rub it all over your face, read this.

What’s in a lemon?

Lemon contains many awesome ingredients, but for this article, we are going to focus on just three- Vitamin C, known for evening pigmentation; Citric Acid, an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid) to exfoliate and plump skin; and Niacin, known for evening skin pigmentation and providing moisture.

Anyone reading these ingredients would automatically assume that a lemon is a shoe in! I can hear you right now, “For $0.59, I can totally transform my face!” Not quite.

The problem with lemon

Lemon is an acid, registering at about 2 on the ph scale. That’s up there with vinegar (2), sulfuric acid (1)  and battery acid (0). An acid this strong can damage the skin’s acid mantle (thin layer of fluid that protects the skin).


Lemon is phototoxic. Phototoxic basically means when certain chemical components of lemon come in contact with the sun, it creates a reaction that causes a response that resembles a sunburn. Other phototoxic oils include angelica root, bergamot, grapefruit, lime, mandarin leaf, bitter orange, and rue.

Are there any pros to using lemon on my face?

Thanks for asking.

Fine, what are some safe alternatives?

Vitamin C is the active ingredient you are looking for when lightening dark spots, so rather using a fresh lemon, just pick up a serum that contains vitamin C:

More about Aprill

Aprill Coleman is an award-winning beauty, lifestyle and wellness blogger and freelance writer based in Jackson, Mississippi.

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