Why You Should Think Twice About Using Lemon Juice To Treat Acne

Lemon juice has long been hailed as an acne-fighting skincare ingredient. But experts are warning against applying it directly to your skin for one very simple reason — it can cause more harm than good. As New York City dermatologist Dr. Marnie Nussbaum, MD, explained to Byrdie, "While you may see lemon juice listed as an ingredient in your favorite cleanser or serum, that doesn't mean applying it directly to the skin will provide the same benefits." She continued, "Products you buy off the shelves are carefully formulated by chemists using ingredient concentrations that provide optimal and safe benefits."

But why is applying lemon juice to your face considered problematic? "As it is a citric acid, lemon juice can alter the natural pH level in your skin, potentially causing skin irritation and sensitivity to the sun," Dr. Sarah Shah of the Artistry Clinic in London told Dazed Digital. "Using lemon juice on your skin before you go out can increase the risks of getting sunburnt because skin becomes so sensitive," she added.

Applying lemon juice directly to your face can cause serious skin irritation

The resulting skin irritation from using lemon juice to treat acne is your worst nightmare. "The acid can irritate the skin and you can experience dryness, redness and peeling of the skin," said Dr. Shah. "These effects can be even worse for those with already sensitive skin," she added. It could even burn your skin. Yikes! If that doesn't put you off using lemon juice for acne, we don't know what will.

If you're still looking to reap the skin benefits of lemon juice in a safer way, try drinking lemon water, which is full of vitamin C that won't harm you. As Marie Parodi, spa director at the Spa at JW Marriott Chicago, explained to Popsugar, "Vitamin C eliminates bacteria and wards off acne most common with sensitive or problematic skin types," adding it also "aides in the detoxification of our organs, thus contributing to a healthy, vibrant glow found in healthy skin." Sign us up!