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Is It Safe to Try the Lemon Juice Acne Treatment?

The first thought that many people have about the lemon juice acne treatment is that since it uses a natural ingredient, it’s not possible for it to harm your skin. While I would wholeheartedly agree that it is of the utmost importance to avoid chemical ingredients in your acne products, I would also like to point out that even ingredients found at home have the potential to harm your skin.

Your skin is a delicate and vulnerable organ that serves the purpose of protecting your body from outside damage; it works to regulate temperature, release toxins, and keep your body protected from injury.

However, what so many acne sufferers have already come to realize is that it is so easy to disrupt the delicate protective barrier of your skin to leave you at risk for long-term skin conditions, like acne, discolorations, and even disorders like rosacea and eczema.

Should You Use the Lemon Juice Acne Treatment?

When an acne sufferer has tried every possible product out there, they often turn to natural home remedies as a last resort, with lemon juice acne treatments being one of the most popular. The reason behind this is because lemon juice is an easy ingredient to come by at home, and based upon many of the beauty blogs that I have read, it is believed to immediately clear up your skin and even reduce acne scars.

Lemon juice contains citric acid, which provides the benefit of exfoliating the skin to possibly reduce acne. [1] This ingredient works as a natural astringent, which will dry many of the surface oils on the skin to potentially clear up acne breakouts. Lemon juice also has the ability to bleach and lighten the skin, so many people believe that it can reduce surface redness and inflammation.

However, I must caution you from my firsthand experience as an aesthetician that it is very probable for this “gentle” home remedy to go wrong.

Firstly, it is not a good idea under any circumstance to apply pure lemon juice directly to your skin. As I already established, your skin is a delicate and sensitive organ, and when you apply a harsh and drying ingredient like lemon juice directly to your skin, it could cause irritation, an abrasion, and even more redness.

Even more importantly, do not under any circumstance ever apply lemon juice to an open acne wound! Not only will that be incredibly painful, but it will cause serious irritation and potential scarring in the future.

Yes, lemon juice has the potential to exfoliate the skin, but since it is used in such a strong concentration, the odds are that your skin will become red and irritated immediately. Instead, I would recommend a natural and gentle enzyme fruit scrub that may contain diluted lemon juice to gently remove dead skin cells and reduce your risk for acne breakouts.

The truth is that if you are not a skin care professional, using such an aggressive ingredient as lemon juice at home in a lemon juice acne treatment may do more harm than good.

Here’s what a few acne sufferers from the forums had to say about using lemon juice to treat their skin:

I read all about this so I decided to give it a try. Used it for 2 weeks straight and saw no change in my acne. Waste of time & money.

I used fresh squeezed lemon on my face for seven days. After two days I already saw a difference in the size of the flat pink scars. I’m a naturally really pale but the lemons seemed to give my face a darker glow which I loved! The skin that was unaffected by scars or acne ended up very smooth and my pores looked nonexistent. However my current blemishes took WAY longer to go away when I put lemon on them. It seemed to prolong the healing process. My forehead also mildly broke out in tiny red bumps, not pimples, just some irritation.

Using Lemon juice was working great, giving me quick results, but then after things were going good, I broke out again, and things just suddenly got bad. Maybe it was something I ate?

To take it a step further, you can dramatically improve your skin by attacking acne at its root and making healthy dietary changes. Yes, it is incredibly important to care for your skin on the outside through exfoliation and moisturizing to prevent acne, yet you will be fighting a losing battle if you don’t first improve your diet by cutting out harmful preservatives and unhealthy fats that trigger acne in the first place.

Once you make these essential changes to your diet, you can manage and maintain the health of your skin through using natural acne products, but not the other way around.


  1. Stratford, SJ. “Lemon Juice Help Pimples – LoveToKnow Skincare.“ Skincare Tips | Skin Health | Skin Care Products and More… Web. 17 Jan. 2011. <>.

About the Author: Bethany Ramos is an aesthetician and makeup artist with a special interest in using nutrition to heal and alleviate a number of conditions in the skin. You can find out more skin care and makeup tips by visiting her blog at FacebyBethany.

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I tried lemon juice on my face three days ago after reading about it on blog. Wish I had seen this first. Even today, I still look like a burn victim. Guess what else? Still have acne.

Thanks for letting others know about your experience using lemon juice. I’m guessing you didn’t dilute the lemon juice enough, causing it to aggravate your skin. Things like this can seem very alarming at first, but over time your skin will heal unless your immune system is very weak.

This also shows that we should not immediately believe one source of information before taking matters of health and skin into our own hands. Inform yourself as much as possible before undergoing any types of treatments, no matter how harmless they may seem.

This article is clearly biased against the use of lemon juice. When I read about what people said about lemon juice for acne, the reviews that I read were unanimously glowing. The three quotes included in this article are all negative; obviously, the selection of reviews is imbalanced. Moreover, only one source, which does not even appear reputable, is cited in this article, and the author is relying upon his or her ethos as an aesthetician to be considered credible. Conceivably, as an aesthetician, the author is personally invested in discouraging home remedies, and frightening readers into needlessly seeing aestheticians.

Yesterday, I tried the lemon juice approach to acne treatment, squeezing the juice onto a cotton ball and directly applying it to my face. It itched for a minute, and then felt fine. About 20 minutes later, I rinsed it off. The next morning, not only was my face less oily than usual–a very pleasant surprise–but my pores had shrunk dramatically. My skin hasn’t looked so good in years! It appears smooth and even, and is softer than before. I applied lemon juice to my face again today, and it itched less than yesterday.

I appreciate your input!

The main point I think Bethany is trying to get across here is that although lemon juice may provide some benefits, it will do nothing from stopping acne to form in the first place, and there are far better approaches towards treating ones skin, notably from the inside-out through dietary habits.

I’m glad you’ve seen improvement with Lemon Juice. Stating your experiences only makes the community more aware :)

M is right, I don’t know why this site is trying to make it seem like it doesn’t work. The FACT is, I used proactiv for the last 5 years and it stopped working recently. I went into a panic because I wasn’t sure what to do if BP was no longer working and I was not about to step up the dosage of chemicals like that. I tried lemon juice and found the results stunning, have not had 1 pimple since. Not only that but the current pimples were brought to the surface sometimes only seconds after applying the juice. Most people who complain about any treatment usually have sensitive skin. Also, these ideas that changing diet and such is the answer is so far from the truth its not even funny. I have tons of friends who live on fast food, yet I cook dinner and eat healthy and continue to have acne. Tell someone with bad acne to change their diet and it will fix the problem and they will laugh. If that was true everyone would have acne because almost everyone eats like crap.

i use lemon juice on my pimples at night before i go to bed and in the morning my pimples are significantly smaller and the redness is near non existant.
Works great for me with no irritation!

What’ if acne isnt your problem but just skin darkning, would lemon still work?
20yrs old never had acne, skin is clear and soft like a babies ass but i’ve got dark spots on my face

I haven’t tried this for dark spots, but hope its helpful Jay!

I started using lemon juice undiluted on my face 2 weeks ago. I haven’t noticed any negative results. It does itch a bit, but nothing horrible. I’ve only gotten one new pimple in the last two weeks. I also started drinking it mixed with water every day. I will continue this until I see some proof that it’s not working or having harmful effects. So far, so good.

Ive been using lemone juice, its working wonders, slightly drying but using cerave moisturizer will fix it! I hope this continues to work!! (knock on wood)

Nooooo! I’m an aesthetician! If people start using Lemon Juice, I might be out of a job!

I’ve been using pure lemon juice as a toner for the last month. No results. It burns too.

Today was my 1st time using the remedy i used Orange Juice as well as tgr peels in rubbed it on my face after i let that sit for 20mins i cut a lemon n chunks n sat a chunk on each spot ant pimple on my face after i used real lemon juice out the green bottle this is when my skin started 2 tingle but it lefy my skin feeling and looking clean witj little to none irritation besides a itch lol I hope it works bc im 2 cheap 2 keep buying productds 4 blemishes and acne

I’m 15 and I’m at a point where I have really bad acne. Sometimes my skin is decent, but other times I can break out substantially. 2 days ago I tried applying lemon juice to my entire face in small amounts, and I can honestly say it’s working. There is no more redness or swelling on my face and my acne is barely visible. The lemon juice also makes my skin really soft! The only bad thing is that it stings for a few minutes after application. I recommend it to everyone with acne problems, even if you have sensetive skin. :)

I am 15 going on 16 and i have had redness on my back and face for a while now. It isn’t that bad but it still bothers me to the point i don’t even want to where anything that shows my back. I have tried dieting, medication, working out pretty much everything you can think of. I just recently heard of the lemon juice thing and i am eager to try it out. I will try it for about a week and see how well it works on my skin. Lets hope it works.

Currently have lemon juice on face. Will be back in the morning to tell you all about it. Oh and I actually have medication prescribed by my dermatologist. I have bad acne, that once was gone because I stopped using the medication and birth control, it came back WORST! UGH!! Well, here goes nothing. I’ll try anything to have my beautiful skin back. One more thing, I’m in my late 20′s and never had skin problems as a teen.

first day today with the lemon mask..undiluted…lets hope for d best tomorrow

As far as I’ve seen this method is only recommended for treating scars, I’ve not read one thing about people trying to treat current acne. As you say, a healthy, non-processed diet, washing the face regularely and not touching the skin will do best in preventing acne.

Am trying it out and hope it works. My face looks horrible;(

My face leaves acne redness years ago, does lemon juice helps to lighten my acne redness?

I am going to try Lemon juice I really hope this works.

Most adult acne is caused by food sensitivities. Usually soy, peanuts, wheat, corn shellfish or Citrix fruits. Look up elimination diets. So, just because you eat healthy doesn’t mean that you will not have acne. Natural remedies are
Always best. No OTC meds will work if you don’t get to the roots of the problem.

So I started applying lemon juice on my face this week. After two uses my face started peeling the acne scars away!:) however when applying the juice my face instantly turns red like a tomato and I can’t leave it on for a damn minute. The redness goes away with 15minutes after washing with Olay bar soap. Face is really dry but my makeup looks great now and my scars are peeling away:) does anyone’s face turn red instantly ?

Mine turns red instantly was my first day..and it was stinging so I just washed it off and my face was red..i dont know if I shud continue using it..

I have noticed in these “lemon juice didn’t work” comments that barely any of them mentions if they moisturized enough to deter any effects that caused their irritation. Of course your going to get irritation if you apply it neat and don’t use proper moisturizer. If you put on one with oil in then your just inviting acne back in. I use lemon juice neat. I suffered with terrible sensitive skin, I suffered with heat rash every time my skin was exposed to warmth mainly on my chin, neck and chest. I apply the neat lemon juice 3+ times per week to tone and to get rid of the excess oil, I wash it after 15-20 mins with tepid water and pat dry or allow to air dry. Then I use garnier pure A daily treatment moisturizer which makes my skin lovely and soft. I do apply primer before makeup, no 7 airbrush away which soaks in and dries to a velvety finish. Its important to use primer as your just going to be putting a breeding ground for acne with foundation straight on your face. I like the proactive range but now I only use the cleanser and three toner on the non-lemon juice days. I use the garnier moisturizer instead of the proactiv repair treatment as my lemon juice regime dies the job perfect. My main point is that if neat lemon juice is to be used: moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!!!!

I’ve only been using lemon juice for 3 days now, and I’ve realized that my scars are fading, but my acne is working up a bit more than the way it was before. Maybe it’s because I’m coming closer to my “time of the month” but other than that I’ve come to believe that my acne is coming out because the lemon juice is cleaning my pores on the inside. I do also have a prescription from my dermatologist + I take antibiotics, I will continue to use lemon juice to see how well it will work, but so far it’s doing pretty well and I’m beginning to see improvement in these awful scars.

p.s: no swelling or rash has occurred.

I haven’t tried lemon juice yet but it was recommended by a friend a few weeks ago and after reading on several sites that it works i think I’ll try it. to those with sensitive skin, first dilute the lemon juice. and second try a rice water rinse. the nutrients from the rice help to moisturize and soften skin. also leaves a glow. all it takes is putting a bit of rice in warm water and letting it sit for about 30 mins, then rinse face with it. it will help with dryness caused by lemon juice. i use this instead of moisturizer and it works amazingly.

I have been mixing lemon juice with my water for several months now, and it really helps. The alakalinity helps keep my skin drier.

However, I do want to say that diet IS also VERY important. When I eat processed foods, my skin breaks out. When I don’t drink enough water, my skin breaks out. When I eat foods that break down into sugar easily, my skin breaks out. Eating foods with unhealthy fats also causes my skin to break out.

Hormones also play a big part. High levels of estrogen increase skin breakouts. Estrogen levels can be increased by eating soy products. Eating good fats is also very important for hormone balance. Lastly, stress raises cortisol levels, which in turn, worsens acne. Every summer when I have the added stress of taking college classes, my skin breaks out, due to the stress of scheduling time for my classes and often changing my sleep patterns.


Well done on spotting the direct correlation between diet and skin health. It also makes me happy that you understand how eating the wrong foods, such as soy (which is all GMO in this day of age) can effect your hormones in a bad way. You are correct in saying healthy fats are important to consume and unhealthy fats are important to avoid. Stress can cause digestive issues and slow healing, since it puts your body into the flight-or-fight response. You’re definitely in the right mindset! Kudos to you.


By reading about what people have said about using this natural ingredient while at home, I have decided to try it out. So I currently have fresh squeezed lemon juice on my face that I rubbed on with a Q Tip. I’ve tried a few different things to reduce acne redness and nothing has worked like I hoped it to. I’m 24 and it’s never been so bad till after having my daughter 9 months ago. So we’ll see how this works out!! Fingers crossed:))

I have very oily, sensitive skin with a lot of redness. I have tried EVERYTHING for acne, even being prescribed Roaccutane in my teens (hell.) I was worried about the lemon juice aggravating my skin, which is quite thin and red so I used lime juice, which is less acidic. WOW! My skin looked a lot more even in tone, less red and with smaller pore. All pimples were diminished and none have since formed. After a week of lime juice I tried lemon and though it stung a bit, it subsided after a minute or two and has not caused any irratation. A God send.

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