Friday, May 20, 2011

When life gives you lemons.. put them on your face! Wait, what?

Lemon Skin Treatment

Yes, it's true. Lemons contain Citric Acid, which is categorized as a "chemical exfoliate", or Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) used in many skincare products. Of course there are several types of natural AHA's, Citric Acid is only one of them - which isn't only found in lemons. Other acids that are popular in skincare are also Lactic Acids (derived from milk) and Glycolic Acids (derived from sugar). All of these can be found in things that are probably lying around your pantry.

What do AHA's do for your skin? Once an AHA is applied to your skin, it will react with the uppermost layer of your skin, loosing up and dissolving your dead skin cells from your skins surface, helping you regenerate new skin cells. Your dead skin cells are essentially whats making your skin look uneven, dull and damaged.

This "cell renewal" will aid in smoothing dry skin, improving your skins overall texture and fading marks caused by blemishes, acne and sun damage.

Many argue that the acid in a lemon is way too strong to be used on the face. The pH scale ranges from 0-14. Both ends of the scale are considered to be "extremes". Towards the middle of the scale, chemicals are milder. Water has a pH of 7, and Normal/Healthy skin has a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. A lemon has the pH of 2-3. That is pretty low, but citric acid is water soluble.. so by adding water to the lemon juice, it will alter the pH.

The FDA has issued guidelines on Alpha Hydroxy Acids in products for home use: 
1. pH has to be 3.5 or higher, and
2. Concentration of the acids in a product has to be 10% or less.

Consumers also have to be warned that these acids may cause photo-sensitivity in some individuals and if they use them, especially in the summer, they must wear sun block."

"Acid-based products need optimal conditions for giving optimal results – clean skin with a healthy pH and enough time to work. For this reason, cleansers with AHA/BHA ingredients have limited effect; they are washed off after a minute at the most. If the cleanser used has a higher pH than desired, a toner with a suitable pH value can bring the skin back to its normal level and improve the efficacy of acid-based products."

(Source: The Modern Skin Alphabet: pH, AHA & BHA)

I hope that wasn't too difficult to understand. But I thought I ought to go over "pH" levels as many argue that it's not good for the skin and many argue that it works miracles. The above source is incredibly helpful, and I highly recommend reading it for a better understanding of AHA's and pH levels.

Since we all have different skin types and skin needs, not everything I use on my face per say will be suitable for your face. Everyone has different tolerances when it comes to skincare. You should always test your tolerance by starting out slow to see how well your skin reacts. You may already have a little idea of your skins tolerance by all of the products you use on your skin. Some have "tough" skin types and can handle harsh products on their face - some are sensitive and can't.

Lemon Treatment

- Cleanse or wash your skin as you normally would. You can prepare the lemon juice any way you'd like. Fresh lemon is always best because bottled lemon juice contains additives. Cut a slice of lemon, around the same size wedge as you'd stick in your glass of water to drink. Squeeze the lemon wedge in a clean bowl and dilute the lemon juice with 50% water. Depending on your skins sensitivity, you can use more or less water. Take a cotton ball and dip it into the bowl and apply it to your face. Before putting anything else on your face, let your face sit from anywhere between 10 to 20 minutes. You want to pay attention to your skin and observe if your skin has any reactions. Don't wait the maximum amount of time for your first use. Avoid applying the lemon juice to any open blemishes, as it may cause irritation. The frequency of use is completely up to you, based on your skins needs. You may use it as a part of your daily routine or used a couple of times a week.

- To fade blemish scars, you can dip a Q-tip in the lemon juice and apply the Q-tip directly to your scars. Again, rinse after 10-20 minutes. 

- You can also use this on your body if you have any old scars or discoloration from chaffing (commonly between your thighs and by your armpits). 

IMPORANT! When using ANY AHA, especially a strong acid, you must protect your skin with sunscreen! Because you are revealing your new skin, it is very sensitive and is very prone to sun damage. Make sure to always apply a sunscreen before you expose your skin to sunlight when using any chemical exfoliates on your skin. 

You can view hundreds of reviews for "Lemon Juice applied topically" on Acne.org, by clicking here. You can also view other Natural remedies in skincare by clicking here.

Other Sources: 

9 comments:

  1. I mentioned this in a post recently - best thing ever! It has made such a huge difference in my skin.

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  2. great post! very informative!

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  3. This is such an interesting and informative post. I've heard a bit about using lemons on your skin but wasn't really sure about why or what it did.

    Thank you for sharing! :)

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  4. thanks for sharing! following you now :)

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  5. This is such a great idea! And I just love the title of this post, haha :)

    x

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  7. Love this post! I do a facial scrub using brown sugar, honey and lemon! Love it!

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  8. I actually follow an exfoliating regimen by squeezing the juice from one lemon (not lime), and mixing that lemon juice with a teaspoon of granulated sugar for 10 minutes once a week. It's something that has been done in my family for generations since my great-grandma. :)

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  9. Yay now I can put my lemon tree to good use thanks Natalie

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