Does Lemon Juice Lighten Skin?

Having dark spots on otherwise smooth skin can be distressing. However, many of the skin whitening products on the market contain harmful chemicals that make things worse. Those searching for a natural way to achieve lighter and brighter skin may wonder if lemon juice can help them achieve that goal. Here is the truth about using lemon juice as a skin lightening treatment.

Lemon Juice – A Natural Skin Whitener

Lemon juice to lighten skinLemon juice is one of the most well-known skin lightening treatments and really works to eliminate dark spots on skin. Lemons contain L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C). In addition to preventing scurvy, it is a powerful cleaning agent that has been used to eliminate tough stains and freshen up homes for centuries. When applied to the skin, this compound strips away the top layer of dead skin cells exposing the new clearer lighter layer underneath.

This treatment has been used in the tanning community for a long time as a way to fix tans gone wrong. However, lemon is not a miracle beauty treatment. It takes at least a month of consistent application to see results and it doesn’t always work on people with naturally dark skin. Additionally, there are a number of disadvantages to using lemons. They are highly acidic, so much so that eating lemons can cause the enamel on teeth to erode. The acid can also irritate skin and make it photosensitive.

If you want to lighten your skin using lemons, here are a few tips on safely using this natural beauty enhancer.

How to Use Lemon to Lighten Skin

Lemons should not be applied directly to skin. Not only can it irritate the sensitive tissues in the face, it can leave skin dry. The best way to use lemons is to mix it with other ingredients. For example:

  • Cut a lemon and squeeze the juice into your favorite cleanser.
  • Mix well and cleanse the area you want to treat. You can also make your own cleanser by mixing lemon juice with honey and aloe.
  • Scrub skin and rinse thoroughly.
  • You should only use these lemon cleansers three times per week.

Another way to use lemon is to make a lemon spritz.

  • Combine lemon, water, and witch hazel or rose water in a spray bottle.
  • Spritz on skin making sure to avoid the eye area.

Yet another way is to grate the rind of a lemon and use it as a scrub. Rub into skin and then rinse well.

It is critical to use a moisturizing lotion or cream to prevent skin from getting too dry. Additionally, always use sunscreen when going outside to prevent sun-related skin problems from developing and avoid undoing all of your hard work. If you want to see how well the lemon treatment is working, take before and after pictures to chart your progress.


For the most part, lemon juice is safe to use. Since it’s so acidic, though, you can damage your skin if you use it the wrong way. Here are a few precautions to take when using this herbal remedy:

  1. As noted before, it can take a long time to achieve the results you want when you use lemon juice. If you want to lighten your skin faster, you can use other lightening agents in conjunction with the lemon juice. Hydroquinine, alpha-hydroxy acids, kojic acid and bearberry are all substances that have been known to make skin lighter. Be careful, though, as some of these products can cause side effects. For example, hydroquinine can cause extreme redness, burning and itching. It can also increase the negative reaction to other ingredients in the skin lightening product.
  2. If you do choose to use lightening products, avoid any that contains mercury. This compound can build up in the body and cause neurological disorders. According to some statistics, one out of every four products manufactured in Asia and sold in America contains mercury.
  3. Do not spray the lemon juice on rashes, cuts, burns or other injuries. If a rash does develop, then avoid using in that area.
  4. Only use this method every other day. Lemon juice can irritate skin and leave it dry. Although it may be tempting to use it every day to speed up the process, it’s best to only do it 3 to 4 times per week.
  5. Another issue is lemon juice can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, which can lead to sunburns or increased discoloration. Always rinse the lemon juice off your face completely before going outside. Avoid being out in the sun when you don’t need to be and always use sunscreen when you are outside to protect your skin from UV damage.
  6. Lemon juice’s astringent properties and drying effect may help eliminate acne. The acids in lemon juice kill bacteria while lightening acne scars. If you’re already using topical treatments for acne, talk to your doctor before using lemon juice to make sure it’s safe to do so.
  7. Do not use lemon juice near the sensitive eye area. These areas aren’t as thick as other parts of your face and may burn.
  8. Take a close look at the other things you’re using on your face. Skin is porous, and the ingredients in the skin care products you use get absorbed into your bloodstream. With this in mind, carefully consider each and every product you decide to use on your skin.
  9. The acidic quality of lemon juice can be too drying for people who already have dry skin. If you’re skin become irritated—burns or stings—try diluting the lemon juice with water. If that doesn’t help, then stop using this method altogether. Any lingering skin problems should be brought to the attention of a dermatologist.
  10. It’s essential to make sure your skin is well moisturized when using lemon juice as a lightening agent. Instead of using the juice alone, mix with other ingredients. For example, mix it with yogurt to create a lightening mask. Incorporate it into Shea butter to create a lightening moisturizer.

Not a Long Term Solution

Lemon juice is only a temporary solution for lightening your skin. Once you stop using it, your skin will return to its natural color.

Other Skin Lightening Treatments

While lemon juice is a good option for achieving lighter brighter skin, using an over-the-counter skin whitening product may be easier. There are lots of skin lightening lotions and creams that use lemon and other natural ingredients to achieve the effect you want. A good way to find the best skin lightening cream for you is to read reviews of top products on the market. Then pick a few and test them. Use the product that provides the best results.