So I have been battling acne on my forehead for over a month now. You have to understand I never have acne or can’t remember the last time I had one, this was nightmare for me. I tried everything I know… Willow bark extract, witch hazel water and even vinegar? But nothing seemed to work.
The acne stayed put and was going nowhere. However, on that fateful day I had gone to the shops and while in the citrus section it suddenly struck me that I still had one more thing to try on my acne forehead before I finally give up and throw in the towel.
So here are a few facts about lemons and the skin that I gleaned off the internet:
What Lemon Juice Does on Your Skin
Lemon juice, as we all know, is acidic. Sometimes the whole problem in acne care is that the skin is not acidic enough for all the other treatments we do to work.
Although it’s popular to talk about alkalizing the interior of the body for health (actually it’s only your urine that needs to be alkaline, the rest of your body is in a very right range of pH balance anyway), the surface of the skin is actually healthier when it is acidic, with a pH between 4 and 5. That’s about the pH of lemon juice.
Lowering the pH of the skin makes it a lot less comfortable for bacteria. The skin needs some bacteria as part of its natural “clean up crew.” Acne bacteria in small numbers perform a useful function by consuming excess sebum. But lowering skin pH makes the pores a lot less hospitable to the bacteria, without causing them to send out the chemicals that trigger an immune reaction that result in inflammation and redness on the skin. Korean scientists studying Korean citrus fruits have confirmed that applying lemon juice to the skin causes acne bacteria to send out less of the chemical messenger that tricks the human immune system into destroying skin cells (and giving the bacteria an escape route to the surface) by releasing a compound called interleukin-8, or IL-8.
Japanese scientists have discovered that a compound called nobiletin, which is also present in oranges, stops excess production of sebum, at least in lab animals. Bitter orange, blood orange, and sweet orange juices (that is, juices from sweet oranges such as those consumed in most the world outside Asia, not orange juice with sugar in it), can also be useful on oily skin.
Lemon Juice Can Sting
Many users note that lemon juice stings when it is applied to “active blemishes,” that is, when it is applied to pimples. Normally, anything that causes stinging of the skin is not a good thing if you have acne. Lemon juice, however, causes a stinging that also slows down inflammatory processes, so that the net effect on the skin is good.
Lemon and dark skin!
There is one group of people who should not use lemon juice to treat acne. Lemon juice is not beneficial for acne on dark brown or black skin. The reason not to use lemon juice on dark skin is that dark skin contains many melanocytes, cells that make pigment. Lemon juice stimulates melanocytes to make antioxidants that protect the skin. When they make these protective antioxidants, they also make extra skin pigments. It is possible that lemon juice, like nearly any other “stinging” skin treatment, can cause long-term or permanent darkening of already-dark skin.
Any darkening of the skin caused by lemon juice will be more severe when the skin is exposed to the sun. Lemon juice compounds are especially active in the melanocytes when they are activated by the UV-A rays of sunlight. Dark skin will not burn, but it will darken even more when exposed to sunlight after lemon juice treatment.
So while lemon juice may be good for treating acne, the above article excludes dark skinned people from using lemon juice as an acne treatment simply due to the fact that it may lead to skin darkening if skin is exposed to the sun.
However, before you throw up your hands in despair, there are other home remedies which might also be as effective in treating acne and also lighten the skin without the negative side effect of causing photosensitivity.
Potato juice has mild bleaching properties and is rich in vitamin C. This naturally lightens skin by clearing dead skin cells and reduces melanin production preventing dark skin. It turns out that potatoes have more potassium than bananas and are able to clear acne.
The vitamins and minerals in potatoes help improve your skin, and the acids will clear up your pores. The magnesium will help reduce inflammation and swelling.
- Aloe vera contains hormones called gibberellins and polysaccharides which kills acne-causing bacteria.
- Aloe vera is a natural astringent that removes excess oil, dirt, and dead skin cells which further clog skin pores and cause bacterial infection.
- Aloe vera purifies blood and stimulates cell growth, healing damaged and scarred skin.
- Aloe vera reduces the redness, inflammation, and pain associated with acne as it is a natural anti-inflammatory and has soothing properties.
- Aloe vera gel reduces scars and pain due to its influential antioxidants, zinc, and vitamins C and E.
Finally, if you are struggling with acne and acne marks as a dark skinned person….,and you have your reservations about using lemons, there are other home made remedies that you can use that might achieve the same results!