Does Lemon Juice Lighten Skin?

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Do you want to improve uneven skin tone? Or perhaps fight off pesky pigmentation? There is a commonly asked beauty query of whether you can lighten your skin with lemon juice.

And the good news is, while other methods of skin lightening may be too harsh for the skin, lemon juice could do the same job in a more gentle way.

How Does Lemon Juice Lighten Skin Naturally?

Lemon juice is an astringent fruit that has natural whitening properties, such as vitamin C. Applying lemon to the skin will reduce melanin production. Excessive production of melanin can cause skin pigmentation and dark patches.

Therefore, if you’re trying to combat skin concerns such as discoloration, it might be a method to try.

Is Fresh Lemon Juice Good or Bad for Your Skin?

There are mixed feelings amongst experts as to whether lemon juice is good or bad for the skin. Some say that using lemon juice is great for the skin, as it provides it with natural vitamin C.

It also contains alpha hydroxy acid in the form of lactic acid, which is a natural exfoliant that helps to shed dead skin cells.[1]

It has antimicrobial properties and is a natural astringent, which means it helps to fight acne and blackheads.

However, there are other skin experts that are of the view that applying lemon on the face daily is harmful, due to the fact that it can increase the risk of sunburn, sensitivity, and inflammation.

How Do I Prepare to Lighten my Skin with Lemon Juice?

A bowl of freshly squeezed lemon juice

It is always advisable to do a patch test first, before applying lemon juice to the entire area of skin that you want to treat. This is the best way to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.

To do a patch test, simply clean the skin behind your ear and apply some lemon juice to a small patch with a spray bottle.

Wait for at least 24 hours before confirming that your skin hasn’t reacted badly to the juice. If there is any burning or stinging sensation, wipe the juice off and do not proceed to use this method of skin lightening.

How to Lighten Skin with Lemon Juice

You might be wondering how to use lemon juice for skin whitening. To make the skin-lightening mixture, take half a lemon and remove the seeds. Squeeze the lemon with your hand into a bowl to get the juice.

Then, wash your face, let your skin dry and apply all of the juice and lemon oil extracted onto your skin with a cotton ball, using a rubbing motion.

Can You Use Lemon Juice on Your Skin Every Day?

Whether you can use lemon juice on your skin every day will depend on how sensitive your skin is. It is also not advisable to keep using the mixture after achieving your desired results as this makes you more prone to side effects.

In addition to this, it isn’t a good idea to use pure lemon juice every day if you are exposed to a lot of sunlight. This can cause a condition called Phytophotodermatitis, which is a skin-irritating reaction to using lemon juice, or products rich in citric acid.[2]

Using lemon juice every day can also increase your risk of sunburn and make your skin extra sensitive. You may want to take before and after photos to track your progress and use them as a guide to when you should stop.

Why Should You Use Lemon Juice to Lighten Skin?

Lemon juice is seen as one of the best natural remedies for various skin problems. It can help with dry skin, stimulate the production of a protein called collagen, which keeps skin appearing more plump and youthful, and helps with the turnover of old skin cells.

It also has potent antioxidant content, which helps to protect the skin against environmental aggressors. However, when used as a method of bleaching the skin, there may be disadvantages.

As previously mentioned, various skin conditions can occur with prolonged use.

How Long Does It Take for Lemons To Lighten Skin?

Ginger girl with a slice of lemon

You should start seeing results within two weeks. However, in order to achieve your desired results, it may take between three and four weeks in total. It also depends on the severity of the skin condition you are trying to treat.

If you just want to lighten dark spots or a small area of pigmentation, it’ll take less time than if you are trying to get rid of stubborn acne inflammation.

Does Lemon Juice Lighten Skin Permanently?

When you use lemon juice to lighten skin, bear in mind that it will not produce permanent results. You would have to consistently apply lemon juice in order to keep up with the results, which, as previously mentioned, is not particularly good for the skin.

RELATED: How to Lighten Skin with Aloe Vera

Can Lemon Juice Help with Dry Skin?

Lemon juice is a great way of treating dry skin due to its alpha hydroxy acid ingredient, which promotes skin cell turnover. In short, it sheds old, dry skin cells and promotes the growth of new, fresh skin cells, thus giving the skin a nice glow and making it appear less dull.

Can Lemon Juice Treat Oily Skin and Acne?

Because of its acidic properties, lemon juice is an astringent ingredient. It has a low pH level, which can help to counteract the overproduction of sebum (which causes oily skin) and prevent acne.

Citric acid, which is found in lemon juice, is also great for drying out spots and works as a natural anti-inflammatory that can help with any redness and inflammation. Pure lemon juice also has antiseptic qualities, which can help to stop breakouts from spreading.

Can Lemon Juice Be Used to Treat Acne Scarring?

While lemon juice can be used to improve skin tone, whiten the skin and treat dark pigmentation, it cannot help with stubborn, pitted acne scarring. While it can reduce inflammation and help with minor scars and discoloration, pitted scars usually require more advanced treatment.

Woman applying facial cream with lemon extract


Q: Is it better to use freshly squeezed lemon juice on your skin?

Yes, freshly squeezed lemon juice should be used on the skin. Bottled lemon juice, which can be bought, may contain additives that are not so good for the skin and may cause damage. Bottled lemon juice is commonly known to contain extra water and preservatives, that could be detrimental to the complexion.

Q: Does lemon juice provide skin with extra vitamin C?

Yes, lemon juice provides skin with vitamin C, which can help it look brighter and healthier.

Q: Are there any other citrus fruits that do the same job?

Limes are known for a high concentration of alpha-hydroxy acid too. However, it is not clear whether this fruit will have the same effect on the skin as lemons.

Q: Will lemon juice give my skin an instant healthy glow?

Due to its brightening effects, when you apply lemon juice to the skin, you should notice an instant healthy glow.

Q: What does citric acid do for the skin?

Citric acid helps with cell turnover and neutralizes pH levels in the skin. This is the acid in lemon juice that is responsible for reducing oiliness, acne, and inflammation.


So, it is clear that pure lemon juice can benefit the skin in more than one way. Fresh lemons contain a high concentration of elements that can help to regulate and counteract melanin, a protein that skin produces in order to get darker. Therefore, it can be effective in making the skin lighter.

While it might not match up to a professional facial, lemon juice can also help with other skin issues such as acne, scarring, inflammation from spots, excessively oily skin, as well as dry and dull complexion.


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Avatar for Megan Foley

Megan has been a freelance writer and editor since 2016. In that time, she’s penned a diverse collection of articles for online publication, with a focus on skincare and beauty. From in-depth product reviews to concise marketing content, Megan is passionate about developing content that informs, entertains, and inspires.