Fact Check: Is lemon juice a powerful home remedy for Acne?

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Quick Take

A post on Facebook claims that lemon juice is a powerful home remedy for acne and it not only prevents pimples from forming but also helps in glowing skin and reduce the appearance of scars. We fact-checked and found this claim to be Mostly False.

The Claim

A post on Facebook reads, “7 Powerful Home Remedies for once.” Out of these, one of them is ‘lemon juice.’ The screenshot of the post is attached below.

Fact Check

What is Acne?

As defined by the NIH, acne is an inflammatory disorder of the skin, which has sebaceous (oil) glands that connect to the hair follicle, which contains fine hair. Acne appears when hair follicles under the skin become blocked. When the wall of the plugged follicle breaks down, it spills the bacteria, skin cells, and sebum into nearby skin, creating lesions or pimples.

The American Academy of Dermatology Association states, “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 the 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 at the end of puberty, but some people still struggle with acne in adulthood. Almost all acne can be successfully treated after one can find the right treatment. The doctor decides the treatment regimen depending on your age and the type and severity of your acne. Most often, acne will go away on its own at the end of puberty, but some people still struggle with acne in adulthood. Certain medications that work by reducing oil production and swelling or treating bacterial infection are given. The most commonly prescribed topical medication 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 as per the condition. 

Can lemon juice treat acne?

Not always. No scientific evidence proves that using lemon juice on acne would treat it. Acne might be caused due to an underlying condition, such as PCOS, etc.; until that is treated, it will reoccur. Even though lemon is a good source of Vitamin C and is an antioxidant, using lemon directly on the skin is not recommended. It can have side effects that further damage your skin as it is highly acidic and can change your skin’s pH. It can lead to skin irritation, dryness, and sun damage, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Dr. Jyothy Kannangath, Dermatologist, adds, “Many people seek home remedies to treat their acne before turning to medical options, more so these days because of the social media ‘awareness’ blogs and videos. Lemon juice is touted as a remedy either alone or in combination with turmeric, aspirin, honey etc., to name a few. Even though lemon oil is found to have anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties in animal studies, no evidence exists to show that lemon juice is effective in treating acne. At times it can worsen acne by irritating the skin. Some potential risks of using lemons on the skin include burning or stinging sensation, excessive dryness, redness, itchiness, and increased skin sensitivity to sunlight.”

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

Why should home remedies be avoided to treat acne?

The home remedies are not developed to treat the root cause of acne, so they’re unlikely to have any benefit for your skin at all. Even though they sometimes show visible results such as reduction in inflammation, redness, etc., it does not cure the acne and just gives a temporary effect. Moreover, as these are not scientifically backed up, they may do more harm than good by causing reactions and can worsen the skin.

Dr. Kannangath shares her view on this by stating, “When most acne home remedies aren’t going to have an appreciable effect on your skin, and the basis of your clear-skin routine should be proven acne treatment medications prescribed by a doctor. The home remedies have no scientific backup and, at times, can worsen acne, especially if you have dry/sensitive skin. Before trying out the alternate/ home remedies, educate yourself, and discuss them with your dermatologist before starting them. Stay away from false claims of overnight miracle cures by using toothpaste, garlic, etc., for acne.”

Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

Disclaimer
Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can further read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.

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