Lemon And Skin Radiance Improvement

  • Jessica Tang  BSc, Cancer Science, Oncology and Cancer Biology, University of Nottingham
  • Saba Amber BSc, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK


Glowing healthy skin is a goal many of us would like to achieve. Taking care of our skin with a skincare routine that includes cleansers, moisturisers and serums is practised everywhere in the world. Having a skincare routine allows us to achieve healthy and radiant skin. Despite having a skincare routine, many of us may suffer from dull skin and dark spots that eventually affect our mental well-being. Other than using cosmetic products, there are many traditional ways to achieve glowing skin, such as using lemon juices.

The properties of lemons have traditionally been used as a treatment for scurvy. Other uses include treating coughs, the common cold and high blood pressure.1 Additionally, lemon juice has a positive effect on the skin. Different cultures have used lemon juices in different ways to achieve glowing skin. For example, lemon juice mixed with egg whites, honey and cucumber is applied to the skin every night to treat acne and achieve smoother skin in Tanzania.1 Some studies show that vitamin C from lemon juice is a popular ingredient in anti-ageing cosmetics to reduce wrinkles. 

If you feel that your current skincare routine may not work for you, this article is for you. This article will explore the benefits of lemon for radiant complexion. 

Lemon and Its Nutritional Benefits 

Lemons are abundant in vitamin C and were found to have approximately 60mg of vitamin C.2 Daily intake of vitamin C in our diet has many benefits for our health, such as reducing the risk of scurvy, heart diseases and stroke. Vitamin C produces collagen and plays a role in keeping our skin, blood vessels, bones and cartilage healthy.

Lemons also contain various active compounds that promote good health, including flavonoids and limonoids, which are antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that help fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are molecules with one or more unpaired electrons, making them very unstable. To be stable again, they take electrons from other molecules in your cells, causing damage to those cells because they have lost an electron they needed to function properly. Studies have found the use of limonoids slows the growth of breast cancer cells in humans, proving the effectiveness these compounds have for good health.2

Another essential nutrient found in lemons is pectin, which is the main fibre in lemons that lowers blood sugar levels. In addition to vitamin C in lemons, they also contain vitamin B6 and potassium which are all essential for maintaining good health. 

Lemon for Skin Radiance 

How lemon juice can brighten the skin

Lemon juice has wonderful properties, but the user must exercise caution, as using pure, undiluted lemon juice on the skin can do more harm than good. 

Citric acid and its exfoliating properties

Citric acid is an acid found naturally in all types of citrus fruits, including lemons, oranges and grapefruit. Citric acid is widely used as an ingredient in cleaning products, food flavouring, preservatives and cosmetics. 

In cosmetology, citric acid acts as an exfoliant and removes the upper layer of dead skin. This immediately clears the pores and even skin tones, resulting in glowing and refreshed skin. Citric acids are a type of AHA (Alpha hydroxy acid). AHA is a water-soluble acid with a hydroxyl group attached to the alpha position of the acid.3 AHAs are widely used in cosmetic products and have helped with many skin concerns such as acne, wrinkles, sun damage and uneven skin tone. 

Lemon's role in reducing hyperpigmentation and dark spots 

Hyperpigmentation and dark spots are caused by an increase in melanin production when the skin is damaged by sun damage, ageing, inflammation or acne. Citric acid plays a role in rejuvenating the skin by producing collagen I and procollagen II, strengthening the skin and revitalising photo-damaged (sun) skin.3 Citric acid can vary at different concentrations. For example, 20% citric acid has been shown to increase the thickness of the epidermis (outer layer of the skin) in sun-damaged skin. Having a thicker epidermis can provide enhanced protection against harmful UV radiation against the sun. Additionally, it may contribute to reduced appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, as well as lock in moisture and prevent dehydration. 

Lemon is a natural astringent and toner

A skincare routine may include a toner for some individuals. It is used after cleansing to prep the skin before adding moisturisers or serums to the face. It acts to remove the oil without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Astringents and toners have similar functions, and the name is used interchangeably in cosmetics. Astringents are alcohol heavy, while toners generally contain water-based ingredients such as water or glycerin. Lemon juice can also be used as a toner if diluted with water or other ingredients and acts as a natural astringent. The skin is slightly acidic, and toners or astringents can help balance pH levels and maintain healthy skin. 

Precautions and Potential Side Effects 

Caution regarding lemon's acidity and potential skin irritation 

As with all skincare products, you must take extra caution before using a new product because of the chances of developing an allergic reaction. Some people may experience a mild allergic reaction, but for others, it can be quite severe. 

Allergic reactions and sensitivity 

Lemon juice is highly acidic, with a pH of 2-3, which can irritate your skin. You may experience tenderness, excessive dryness and skin peeling on the affected area. 

Recommendations for a patch test

Before trying out a new product, always do a patch test 48 hours before applying it to your face. Apply the lemon juice on an area of skin where you’re unlikely to wash this off or rub, such as your underarm or behind the ear. If there are no signs of irritation or redness after 48 hours, you can proceed with using the product.4 

Tips for Safe Lemon Usage 

Always consult with your dermatologist if you have any concerns with choosing the right skincare product for your skin. 

Proper dilution of lemon juice 

Direct application of lemon juice can be used but not encouraged for those who have sensitive skin. It is recommended to dilute one part lemon with two parts of filtered water

Sun protection when using lemon on the skin 

Your skin will be very sensitive to the sun. Apply sun cream daily after using vitamin C to protect your skin from sun damage. 

Regular moisturization

Due to the acidic nature of lemon juice, it can be extremely drying for your skin when used frequently. Remember to apply a hydrating moisturiser after applying lemon juice to prevent the skin from peeling or drying out. Using a moisturiser should be included as part of your skincare routine. 

Methods of Applying Lemon for Skin Radiance 

Additional uses of lemon juice include incorporating it into a DIY face mask that you can make at home. Here are a few DIY face masks with lemon juice that you can try.

DIY Face Masks

  1. Lemon and honey: Squeeze lemon juice from half a lemon and mix the juice with a tablespoon of honey. 
  2. Lemon and yoghurt: Use the juice from half a lemon and combine with a tablespoon of yoghurt
  3. Lemon and turmeric: Combine 2 teaspoons of honey, juice from half a lemon and ¼ teaspoon of turmeric. Leave for 10 minutes and no longer, as the turmeric may stain your skin if the mask is left for over 10 minutes.

Avoid using these ingredients if you have a honey, dairy or turmeric allergy. Perform a patch test before using any new ingredient. Different skin types may have different results when using the recipes above. Those with acne-prone skin may feel that using a lemon and honey face mask may not achieve the same result as someone with dry skin. Experiment with different recipes and ingredients to find out what works best for you.

Personalized Skincare Regimen 

How to tailor lemon-based skincare to your skin type 

Different skin types will behave differently to products or ingredients applied to the face. It’s important to take extra caution before applying a new product to the skin and always do a patch test. To achieve the best results for glowy and radiant skin with lemon juice, it’s crucial to determine your skin type. These skin types include:

  • Normal: You have little to no imperfections with your skin regardless of the change in weather or skin care products
  • Dry skin: Fine lines and wrinkles are apparent, and your skin may feel tight or dry
  • Oily skin: Associated with a “shiny” appearance, and you’re prone to acne due to the excess production of sebum (oil). 
  • Combination skin: You get the best of both worlds where you experience oily skin in your T-zone and dry and flaky skin elsewhere. 
  • Sensitive skin: Your skin may feel burning, redness or itching. This can be triggered by the weather or certain products.

Frequency of use for different individuals 

It is recommended to gradually introduce the new product into your skincare routine. For example, use lemon juice once a week so your skin becomes more tolerable to the product and then use it twice a week and then gradually build up the frequency.

Maintaining consistency for best results

Using lemon juice can help to improve the texture of the skin and overall radiance. It is important to maintain consistency for the best results. You may not see any difference in your skin after two weeks but stay motivated and consistent. It may help you by keeping a photo diary and seeing whether lemon juice has worked for your skin concern. 


Lemon juice has been used for centuries as a way to enhance the radiance of the skin. It has various properties like liminoids that help fight free radicals in the body. In addition, it helps to rejuvenate the skin, resulting in a healthy glow. Always consult with your dermatologist before using a new product on your skin. To maximise the benefits of lemon juice, it’s important to use it consistently in your skincare routine to achieve a radiant complexion and use suncream daily, even on cloudy days.


  • Klimek-Szczykutowicz M, Szopa A, Ekiert H. Citrus limon (Lemon) Phenomenon—A Review of the Chemistry, Pharmacological Properties, Applications in the Modern Pharmaceutical, Food, and Cosmetics Industries, and Biotechnological Studies. Plants (Basel) [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2023 Oct 17]; 9(1):119. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7020168/.
  • Park Y-S, Kim I, Dhungana SK, Park E-J, Park J-J, Kim J-H, et al. Quality Characteristics and Antioxidant Potential of Lemon (Citrus limon Burm. f.) Seed Oil Extracted by Different Methods. Front Nutr [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2023 Oct 17]; 8:644406. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8458774/.
  • Tang S-C, Yang J-H. Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin. Molecules [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2023 Oct 20]; 23(4):863. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6017965/.
  • Lazzarini R, Duarte I, Ferreira AL. Patch tests. An Bras Dermatol [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2023 Oct 20]; 88(6):879–88. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3900336/.
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Jessica Tang

Bachelor of Science - BSc Cancer Sciences, University of Nottingham

Jessica holds a Bachelor’s degree in Cancer Sciences with proficiency in bioinformatics and laboratory techniques. Her research project investigated the role of DARPP-32 and the associated genes and signalling pathways in ER+ breast cancer through RNA sequencing.

She is passionate about effectively communicating complex medical information to diverse audiences, bridging the gap between scientific expertise and public understanding. Jessica is an aspiring medical writer and looks forward to opportunities where she can utilise her expertise to drive meaningful change in the healthcare industry.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

my.klarity.health presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818