Fact check: Is lemon juice a powerful home remedy for acne?

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A Facebook post claims that lemon juice is a powerful home remedy for acne and that it not only prevents pimples from forming but also helps make skin glow and reduce the appearance of scars. We checked the facts and found that this claim was Generally false.


A Publish on Facebook reads, “7 powerful home remedies for once.” Among these, one of them is “lemon juice”. The screenshot of the message is attached below.

Fact check

What is Acne?

As defined by the NIH“Acne is an inflammatory disorder of the skin, which has sebaceous (oily) glands that connect to the hair follicle, which contains fine hairs. Acne occurs when the hair follicles under the skin become clogged. When the Clogged follicle wall breaks down, it spreads bacteria, skin cells, and sebum into nearby skin, creating lesions or pimples.

Association of the American Academy of Dermatology says, “If you have acne, a dermatologist can diagnose you by looking at your breakouts. During your appointment, a dermatologist will also note what types of acne and where breakouts appear on your skin. This helps your dermatologist create an effective treatment plan.

How is acne treated?

Most often, acne will go away on its own by the end of puberty, but some people still struggle with acne in adulthood. Almost any acne can be successfully treated after finding the right treatment. The doctor decides the treatment regimen based on your age and the type and severity of your acne. Most often, acne will go away on its own by the end of puberty, but some people still struggle with acne in adulthood. Certain medications that work by reducing sebum production and swelling or treating a bacterial infection are given. The most commonly prescribed topical medications are retinoids, antibiotics, salicylic acid, etc. You may even be prescribed oral medications along with topical treatment. Few therapies such as light therapy, chemical peels, steroid injections, drainage and extraction are also done depending on the condition.

Can lemon juice treat acne?

Not always. There is no scientific evidence to prove that using lemon juice on acne will cure it. Acne can be caused by an underlying condition, such as PCOS, etc. ; until this is dealt with, it will happen again. Although lemon is a good source of vitamin C and an antioxidant, it is not recommended to use lemon directly on the skin. It can have side effects that further damage your skin because it is very acidic and can change the pH of your skin. This can lead to skin irritation, dryness, and sun damage, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Dr. Jyothy Kannangath, Dermatologist, adds, “Many people seek out home remedies to treat their acne before turning to medical options, more so these days due to social media ‘awareness’ blogs and videos. Lemon juice is touted as a remedy on its own or in combination with turmeric, aspirin, honey, etc., to name a few. Even though lemon oil has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties in animal studies, no evidence exists to show that lemon juice is effective in treating acne. Sometimes it can make acne worse by irritating the skin. Some potential risks of using lemons on the skin include a burning or stinging sensation, excessive dryness, redness, itching, and increased skin sensitivity to the sun.

Dr Sonali Kohli, Dermatology Consultant, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital, explains, “Lemon is a vibrant source of vitamin C and has flavonoid antioxidant and antibacterial properties that are great for the skin. Vitamin C serums prepared for the face have a particular formulation and other additions that help balance the pH. Lemon juice is very acidic and the vitamin C serums we use are not citric acid but the ascorbic acid version of lemon juice which is beneficial to the skin and stabilized. When a person applies lemon directly to the face, you disturb the pH of the skin and make it completely acidic. In such cases, sun exposure can lead to phytophotodermatitis (a skin reaction). It should therefore be avoided. »

Why should home remedies for acne be avoided?

Home remedies aren’t developed to address the root cause of acne, so they’re unlikely to have any benefit for your skin. Although they sometimes show visible results such as reduction of inflammation, redness, etc., it does not cure acne and just gives a temporary effect. Also, since these are not scientifically proven, they can do more harm than good by causing reactions and can make the skin worse.

Dr Kannangath shares her take on this by stating, “Where most home remedies for acne won’t have an appreciable effect on your skin, and the foundation of your clear skin routine should be proven medications for the acne treatment prescribed by a doctor. Home remedies have no scientific basis and can sometimes make acne worse, especially if you have dry/sensitive skin. Before trying alternative/home remedies, educate yourself and discuss them with your dermatologist before starting them. Stay away from false claims of overnight miracle cures using toothpaste, garlic, etc., for acne.

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