Lemon Juice and Acne

Lemon Juice and Acne | YoDerm Blog | Pimples.

The truth about lemon juice and acne:

Many believe that lemon juice is the miracle cure for acne. We looked into the details of using lemon juice as an acne treatment and have brought you the results: how it works, the pros and cons, and how to use it if you want to give it a try.

How lemon juice helps acne:

Lemon juice does have some acne fighting qualities and can be a cheap way to try and clear your skin. Here are the primary benefits of lemon juice and acne:

Reduces oil: The acid in lemon juice has mild astringent qualities. The astringents work by constricting the body tissues and pushing the oil out of your skin.

Kills bacteria: The citric acid of lemon juice also acts as an antiseptic. Since bacteria have a difficult time adjusting to acidic environments, the lemon juice can help reduce the number of bacteria that are living inside or on top of your skin.

Cheap: All it costs you is a couple of lemons and some cotton balls to apply it.

Reduces redness: Many find that applying an astringent like lemon juice greatly reduces the redness caused by acne.

Scar therapy: Some believe lemon juice is a natural way to reduce scars caused by acne. There is no clinical research to support this claim, however.

Negatives of lemon juice for acne:

While there are a few potential benefits to using lemon juice, there have not been any studies to actually prove it’s acne fighting capabilities. Additionally, there are several side effects that you should watch out for if you decide to try it out.

Dry skin: If you have dry or normal skin, the lemon juice may cause excessively dry and flakey skin.

Painful: The acid in lemon juice may cause your pimples to sting or possibly even bleed.

Lightens skin: Astringents like lemon juice can cause your skin to lighten where you’ve applied it.

Not for dark skin: Those with dark skin should avoid using lemon juice as an acne treatment as it can cause dark spots to appear where applied.

Better alternatives: If you’re looking to manage the P. acnes (bacteria) in your pores, there are proven options available that are far more effective than lemon juice. An antimicrobial like benzoyl peroxide is not only an effective way to reduce acne causing bacteria, it is also a more effective exfoliant. This allows the medicine to more easily penetrate your clogged pores and remove the bacteria inside.

How to prepare and apply lemon juice:

If you still want to give lemon juice a try, these are the best practices:

Wash your face: Gently rub lukewarm water and a mild soap on your skin using your fingertips. Wash with warm water and allow your skin to dry for 5-10 minutes.

Create treatment: Cut a fresh lemon in half and squeeze each half into a bowl.

Apply treatment: Dip a cotton ball into the freshly squeezed juice. Dab the wet cotton ball to your affected area. A small stinging or itching sensation is normal. If the stinging is unmanageable add water to the solution to dilute the acidity.

Wait 20 minutes and rinse: Allow the lemon juice to dry, letting your skin absorb all of the acid. After 20 to 30 minutes rinse your face with warm water. Apply moisturizer if necessary.

For those with moderate to severe acne:

Lemon juice might deliver some minor benefits to your acne, but it cannot be the primary treatment for moderate to severe acne. It is important that you apply more effective medications, like topical retinoids.

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  1. Russell-DeLucas, Carolyn. “How to Clear Acne With Lemon Juice.”LIVESTRONG.COM
  2. “Lemon Juice (applied Topically).” Reviews. Acne.org
  3. Internal sources.


66 thoughts on “Lemon Juice and Acne

  1. Great article about Lemon Juice for acne. I loved that you went into the negative effects of it as well which most people avoid talking about altogether.

    One thing to remember though is that if lemon juice lightens skin, it’s only temporarily, lemons alone should not be able to do any lasting harm. Enjoy!

  2. Sounds like lemon juice is quite a risky solution for acne. Has anyone ever done this and gotten positive results?

    I’ve only used Lemon Juice to light my hair. So the fact that it can lighten your skin makes sense.

    Also, what is P. acne (bacteria)?

    • I used it and got positive results! They make it seem really bad it’s actually great! I used it once because a bunch of websites recommended it, and within 2 days my acne was gone! (And believe me, I had a tone of it!) The lemon juice didn’t lighten my skin at all, then again it didn’t do a great job lightening my hair either. I find, if you have a clump of acne, lemon juice is perfect. If it’s just one pimple you want to get rid of, try putting ice to it first. Good luck!

      • I used this lemon thing and my pimple still there and I think its getti g worst I eatclean also. Im a bit worry because im flight attendant and the company warning me to get rid of my acnes. Im on diet and eat very healthy food only. Im onday 7 for detox

        • Try using aloe on ur skin everyday and night. It will help calm your skin. I noticed a huge difference on my skin when I used the simple toner… Have cleared 6 bottles over the past two years….. Definitely lesser pimples for me and believe me when I say I have LOTS of pimples on my skin and I always get those that stays under the skin and it hurts like hell. If all else fails a visit to a dermatologist would be your best bet

      • i am a teenager and i have really bad acne and according to this article or website it seems like it is a good thing.i really hope this works because its almost valentines day and i would really want to show up to school without any concealer or anything. wish me luck.

    • Hey Jennifer,

      Out of curiosity, did the lemon juice work for your hair?

      P.acnes is short for Propionibacterium acnes, which is a type of bacteria that causes moderate to severe forms of acne.

      When the pores on your skin get clogged, you will develop small white or dark bumps called whiteheads and blackheads. Underneath the clogged pore, you have sebum (oil) and P .acnes (bacteria). The P.acnes feed on the sebum and begin growing and multiplying. This is when you develop a bump underneath your pimples.

      If you want to learn more about the different forms of acne and how they develop, take a look at this page: https://yoderm.com/acne-knowledgebase/about-acne/

      • I used the lemon juice as well on two big pimples which set on my face after using proactive which usually works. Within minutes one of the pimples dissolved and the other after about 2-3 days. I had an interview so I needed immediate results. However, I rubbed & squeezed the lemon directly on my face.

      • Hello my name is Rene I need to know what acne treatment should I use after washing my face with oil control foam wash from cataphil?

    • Yes, i have tried this and it worked like magic. It works without drying out your skin. Also nothing can get better than all natural products.

      • Did it really work???? Actually in my case I get pimples due to constepation problem… anyways there r not bunches of pimples on my face ..they r few but they appears really clear on my face …n I hate that…so plz can u tell me that whether I must use or not ..my skin i really fair..so will that harm or will it work properly plz lemme know

    • Yes, i’ve done it before. Im 14 so i got like a whole bunch of acne in my face and then i started using fresh lemon and applied it every night and it really did help my acne and it even lightened my skin but of course my face was dry so i applied moisturizer on after i used the lemon and now my skin doing good so far. ???? i hope this helps. Oh and btw, it really does sting.

    • Hello! I’ve been using lemon juice as my go to quick acne fixer upper for about 3 years now! As someone who’s more dark completed I can tell you that the lemon has never lightened my skin. My advice would be to avoid the sunlight while it’s on. I put it on before bed and leave it on all night long then wash it off in the morning. It has been a complete life saver. I never thought anything would help clear my acne. Id tried basically everything and then to discover something so simple could help it all and the best part is, you don’t have to wait weeks to start seeing results! When I put it on at night I wake up the next morning with visibly clearer skin! I hope this helps!

    • i also used this product and it works for me , if you want to make it posible watchout the food you eat, and drink more waters

  3. I use it periodically, I wouldn’t use it all the time because it will dry out your skin and irritate to the point of getting more acne over time. Using it once a week or on an as need basis works really well. It gets rid of black heads too. Anytime my skin gets extra oily I use lemon juice and then the following day apply Olive oil on my clean face before going to bed to counter the dry affect. It works amazingly well but again in moderation. I do this about once a month.

  4. You would have to use it more than once.. such as everyday but it didn’t dry my skin out. After the 3rd day, my acne went away.

    • Had anyone’s skin ligjtened though? I’m scared that the skin will.lighten in some areas. I like a even like complexion


    Ive been using it for a while and have amazing results if done well. DO NOT use method if you have sensitive skin or darker skin then bronze. ALWAYS use on your whole face. Youll read why later.

    What you need.
    + cotton balls
    + a lemon .. not bottled lemon juice, never!
    + a short pot
    + water
    + faith of progression & a serious attitude

    Got that ? Okay .

    - boil water in a pot.. use about a cup or half a cup so it can boil fast and steam better & longer.
    - turn the fire off after it boils and hold your face over the steam about 10 min. Hold your face close enough to steam but not enough to burn. Ladies and gents, the hotter not the better burns hurt and excessive heat is not good. Your pores will open and you will have oil automatically coming out your pores. ( Do not touch )
    - Go to the bathroom .. quickly! Rinse off the oil with warm not hot water.
    - I usually repeat another 8-10 min. ( first time steaming? REPEAT )
    - Do not dry your face with anything.. air dry
    - When dry .. apply lemon juice either with cotton ball or squeezing it on your face
    – cotton ball: dab/lightly pat it on your face do not rub it in you want it to soak in
    – squeeze: close your eyes! Use one or two fingers to spread around.
    - make sure you see the juice on your face remember you do not want to rub it in you want it to soak in

    * it may burn ( especially if youve been squeezing again )… beauty means pain. Suck it up. Literally lol. Do nothing punk. Do not sit in front a fan , ac or anything . It will dry it off and not soak in well.
    * sleep with it on.
    * wash it off in the am.
    * repeat for a week.
    * it will dry your face .. you need some oil so if using this longer than a week do it 3 times a week only and or use a good moisturizer in the morning.
    * 100% pure cold pressed coconut oil is good for the am after the rinse off and is not like the oil you think lol. It also clears acne believe it or not.
    * do not steam more than 2-3 times a week.
    * please. Copy paste instructions if you are serious or write it down.
    * send to friends battling acne! Love is love.
    ** i have had success with 107 method and i believe you will too. Good luck, God bless :)

    #It will clear acne. Deep or surface. #It will clear acne scars and your complexion WILL come back youll be suprised.

    Question away if you want.
    #LemonMethod107 .

  6. I swear it works wonders!
    I have tried Proactive, Benzoyl peroxide, tea tree oil from the Body Shop & various other methods, but none of it did wonders like a Piece of Lemon.

    I apply it every Night before bed & leave it on… Early morning I wash it off with clear water.
    It dissolved my acne & the big bumps underneath it. Miracle!!

    • Hi Joana,

      Thanks for joining in on the conversation!

      I am sorry to hear about your acne and scarring. Although some people have found lemon juice to be helpful, all scientific research suggests that it is not a very effective treatment.

      It is typically recommended that you first try an over-the-counter acne treatment with benzoyl peroxide. We have a blog post that suggests some good benzoyl peroxide treatments at https://yoderm.com/pimples/best-acne-face-wash

      However, if you are already developing scars, you will almost certainly need prescription medications. Do you have any access to seeing a dermatologist? A dermatologist will make sure that you are actually experiencing acne outbreaks rather than some other condition, and they will also be able to prescribe you the most effective acne medications available. If you are interested in learning more, we also have a blog post about when and why it is best to see a dermatologist: https://yoderm.com/pimples/when-and-why-you-should-see-a-dermatologist-for-acne

      To find a dermatologist in your area, https://ZocDoc.com is a great resource. Alternatively, if you live in California, there are a variety of websites where you can get online dermatology consultations. These are typically cheaper than in-office visits, and they allow you to get the treatments that you need without having to leave your house. If you would like to get an online dermatology consultation, we at https://YoDerm.com offer consultations for only $59. We are very focused on being the best solution for online acne consultation, but you can also check out some of our competitors who treat a variety of different conditions, like DirectDermatology.com

      We know that acne can be a difficult condition to manage on your own, so let us know if there is anything else we can help answer for you.

  7. I have tried using it. I drank lemon juice first then before I seep, I applied it with the cotton ball into my nose(which I have one pimple,white head and black heads) and into my forehead and chin. I let it dry the whole night. Although I have a few pimples on my cheek, I didn’t apply lemon. I just tried applying it in my nose, forehead and chin. Then in the morning, I washed my face, especially the areas that I’ve applied lemon. Then I recognized that my pimple in the nose areas are gone — that’s fast isn’t it? Then my forehead and chin are getting softer. I just applied lemon juice into my skin — evening only. Because I am afraid that if my face exposed in the sun, it will affect my skin. Although I haven’t tried it, but I need to be careful.

  8. I am currently using some prescribed acne cream and face wash…..But it doesn’t seem to work…I have been using this for a week, acne remains same and the only result i got is dry skin…may i stop using this and apply lemon juice treatment….?

    I am so confused of choosing either lemon juice or prescribed items

    • Hey Ramkumar, I highly recommend that you continue using your prescribed medications. Prescription meds will be MUCH more effective than lemon juice. It is extremely common for prescriptions to take 1-2 months before they begin working, so keep using them everyday for at least a few more weeks.

  9. I really hope this works I’m a teen and I hate achne it sucks I tried proactive and x out but it didn’t work :( I have achne on my chest and back as well as my face and it sucks!!:( please make the wonders of lemons work!!!!!

    • I applied lemon on 2 of my fresh scars on cheeks which are on same position right and left cheek.
      i wanted to get rid of it because i am going to meet my fiance first time ….
      So i applied it daily. After 3 or 4 days when is was rubbing lemon on scar. My scar started bleeding . I immidiatey applied ice to stop bleeding.
      i noticed lemon removed several layers of skin on scar and made it bleed .
      now i stopped using lemon now.
      but theese dots are red now like a cut in cirlce on both cheeks.
      it looks much more disgusting now.
      can someone please help me ! What to do

      • I am sorry to hear about your reaction to lemon juice. As mentioned in the article, the acid in lemon juice can peel the top layers of skin, irritate the acne (or acne scars), and in some cases cause it to bleed. That being said, you made the right choice to stop applying lemon juice and you will likely notice a significant improvement over they next few days.

        As tempting as home remedies can be, they are frequently overhyped and more destructive than they seem. It is typically recommended that you first try an over-the-counter product (like benzoyl peroxide) for mild acne, and that you see a dermatologist for more severe forms of acne. Since you are already seeing some scars, a dermatologist is highly recommended.

        Do you have a dermatologist that you can see? If not, I would love to hear why you are unable to (too expensive? no dermatologists in your area? prefer natural treatments?). If you give me some more insight about your ability/inability to see a dermatologist, I would be more than happy to either help you find one or provide some more specific recommendations on choosing an over-the-counter treatment to help your acne from becoming more severe.

        In the meantime, be sure to gently wash your face every day and you should see the bleeding stop.

  10. hey there, i am writing this with high hopes. I am 24 and suffering from acne since last 3 years now. i have tried possibly everything to stop them from medicated ointments to evn some natural methods; but they dont seem to go. i am so tensed because of them. earlier they used to be filled with pus, n bleed when i used to wash my face. I also take every single precaution. they hav reduced although bt still very mch visible. have left me with very prominent red scars. in winters the face is slightly better but in summers the things get worse for me.
    Please help me to get rid of these acne and scars. watching myself everytym in the mirror alsmost kills me.

    • Hi usually i dont comment or ask questions online, but reading your problem reminds me of my problem.Few months before attending a very important wedding in my family i took fish oil capsuls and broke out soo bad ???? but now the solution which helped me alot is some simpl tips i used first avoid oily fried food, spicey food,drink lot of water,and now Special Tip! Take banana peel and rub inside of it on face for 10 minutes and leave it on for 1 hour and wash yyour face with warm then cold water,it works wonder! You can apply honey turmeric face mask, and everyday wash your face with good cleanser and put toner and Always!! Put moisturiser no matter what your skin type is, for marks lemon juice really works put on skin before going to bed .I hope it will help take care! Xx ????

    • Hi Katherine,

      I would not recommend using lemon on sensitive skin. It can cause severe dryness and irritation. We have even seen pimples start to bleed from applying lemon juice.

      If you are looking for a safer treatment, I highly recommend that you read our article: Best Acne Face Wash. You can find it here: yoderm.com/pimples/best-acne-face-wash

      Or if you are able to afford seeing a dermatologist, they would be able to recommend a specific list of prescription or over-the-counter medications that are customized for your skin.

  11. I started using it 05/09/2014 and already see the difference in my skin. My face looks great! It’s starting to look flawless like It used to be when I was a teenager

  12. I have brown skinand have lots of dark spots from acne on mostly my chin and cheeks,but i just followed all of your directions above,and followed them.I hopeit works!

  13. Umm I have been using lemon juice for 2 days now, my skin is soft but I got new acne in the places of my scars I am wondering if I should keep using it or should I stop

    • Hey there,
      I am teen and have got lot of small pimples on my cheeks.
      Im new to this type of situation.
      My skin is oily and wheatish in color
      I am confused.
      Shud i use lemon oil or consult a derm?

    • I’m using 1/2 n 1/2 solution of water and lemon j. and using it in a spray bottle. After I wash my face,I gently mist my face. I feel it doing its job! Then I rinse it off 15-30m later. Since it is diluted, it does not sting AS bad. It is also less harsh on the skin this way. I would try to stay away from putting straight lemon juice on any part of the skin because it is a whitening agent. I think a mist will work EVEN BETTER on my skin. Nothing harsh about that. If my skin ever seems to be a little dry, I just put on my facial lotion. This is my acne treatment.

  14. Hey, I’m trying this for the first time, I have two zits on my face, one big on my nose, and one small one my cheek, I applied lemon on it, it sting a little at first but it doesn’t sting anymore, it that alright? Plus should I apply it for 20-30 minutes or the whole night? And will it go till tomorrow morning? CUZ I need to go somewhere and I really don’t want to go with an ugly face, I already applies to and it’s noon, should I aplly it again at night and let it dry the whole night?

  15. Hy Dr I use lemon juice the fresh one after week ,keep pimples in my face I don’t know y couse I dilute it with water

  16. Hi, I’m 12years old and I have a bunch of pimples on my chin and one huge pimple on my cheek. I usually wash my face with this cleanser called Cerave, but I haven’t had any positive results. I’m going to try the lemon routine for at least two weeks,and I’m hoping it will work! I’m starting middle school and I’m sick of people teasing me about my acne!!! I always heard that lemon juice works for treating pimples, but I just haven’t tried it. Also, should I use this every day if I have fair skin?And do I wash the lemon juice off after about 20-30 minutes or do I wait till the morning?

  17. Im a guy 19 years of age. I heard of lemons and have already tried it once starting last night. I don’t know if my routine is the best though. I wake up, do my 3 step regime of proactive. Then at night i get a shower, squeeze a lemon onto a cotton ball and rub it all over my face and let sit for 15-20 minutes before rinsing off. Am i doing the right thing? Will i see results?

  18. It works amazing on your face it hurts and stings after but it does take down the redness and cleans my pores. It feels amazing after. I did in fact try rubbing lemons and conditioner mixed, in my hair and it lightened to perfect shiny blonde from a mousy brown , it also makes it look and feel healthier.

  19. I’ve been troubled with deep, but moderate acne for years now. About 6, to be exact. Lemon, baking soda, honey and garlic have been the best, not to mention cheap and natural, ways that have cleared up my skin faster than ANY acne treatment ANY company tried to sell me in the past.
    Honey and baking soda as a mask, garlic for the trouble spots and lemon as an over night “toner” (this can be added to an apple cider vinegar toner as well, works even better at bringing down the pH level of your skin, which in return eliminates acne bacteria)
    Obviously do some research on how to use these products before you actually use them. But this is one of those “if it works for me, it must work for EVERYONE” stories. I never thought my acne would get better. Slowly but surely I’m seeing GREAT results wishing a week and a substantial difference in a little over a month. Hope this reaches someone who can benefit from this!!!

  20. Lemons contain ascorbic acid, vitamin P, and phytoncides which suppress and kill the reproduction and growth of acne bacteria. i used to use just pure lemons, BUT THEY ARE too harsh. I did more research and I found the Citrus Clear products have lemon extract and oils in their products that work better and are LESS abrasive than using actual lemon juice. It has taken away ALOT of my acne scarring, and keeps my fresh clean of oil. Been using for 1+ years now and it works great.

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