Being perpetually unhappy with your facial skin is, unfortunately, not an abnormal trait. Yes, we humans are designed to be dissatisfied and extremely self-critical, but sometimes it’s not without cause.
TV commercials zooming in on unnaturally blemish-free models (with whom we find it ridiculously justifiable to compare ourselves with) don’t make it any easier on our self-perception.
Have you woken up on the fated day of a much-dreamt-about date only to find a blazing zit on your nose?
Or are you just one of those who have surrendered to Jyestha (the Hindu goddess of misfortune) and waved your white flag eons ago?
Your musket is LEMON.
Let’s get straight to it.
The extremely acidic nature of lemon juice inhibits the growth of microbes—bacteria, viruses, fungi. While these unseen micro-organisms sound very harmful (they certainly are), our skin also houses beneficial bacteria. It is, thus, recommended to use lemon juice on your skin in moderation so you don’t interfere too much with the bacteria that should be there. Having said that, for people who have an inherently over-reactive native microflora causing them serious acne problems, this antibacterial property makes lemon juice their knight in shining armor.
AHAs (appha-hydroxy acids) naturally exfoliate the skin by ‘unglueing’ the outer layer of dead skin cells causing dead cells to fall off easily. They also improve blood circulation and, hence, promote new cell growth. Citric acid found in lemon is an AHA and works as a mild exfoliant.
Baking soda (in the above face scrub) is alkaline in nature, which means it dilutes some of the sting from the citric acid. It also helps loosen the skin around black heads, freeing them from their tight hold and putting a genuine smile on your face.
As already mentioned, AHAs (citric acid) enhance blood circulation and, hence, promote the growth of new cells. This is especially useful in the treatment of skin scarred with war wounds from the battle against acne. Simply put, lemon juice is great for treating post-acne hyperpigmentation (=dark spots).
Oily skin is caused by over-active sebaceous glands. Large open pores are indicative of excessive oil secretion. Close these pores and voila! Problem solved (maybe). Lemon juice contains natural enzymes that shrink pores. An added perk is taut skin and slowed ageing.
Now while this is great news, there is a glitch.
AHAs are water soluble and not lipid soluble. This means that lemon juice may end up closing pores without removing the oil first. Trapped oil is screaming ACNE.
There is a solution. Combine it with a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid). BHAs are lipid soluble and can remove the excess oil. Salicyclic acid is a BHA and is naturally found in fruits like tomatoes, strawberries, and cucumbers.
Here’s what you can do: Cut a tomato in two halves. Squeeze out the juice. Add 4-5 drops of lemon juice to it. Apply this mixture on your face and leave for 15 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water.
Lemon juice is a rich source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is an essential component in the production of collagen and is a potent antioxidant. Both these attributes make it extremely useful for the ‘forever young’ generation. Lemon juice can help revitalize aged and photodamaged skin.
If you have no time to make a face pack, you can try this…
Too good to be true?
Our skin has a slightly acidic film called the acid mantle that promotes the growth of normal bacteria and prevents infections by harmful bacteria, viruses, and the likes. So, the normal pH of the skin is between 4 and 6.5 (read: slightly acidic). Lemon juice, on the other hand, has a pH of about 2 (read: highly acidic). With prolonged usage, this can interfere with your skin’s pH and cause irritation.
So, you need to be careful when applying lemon juice directly on your face.
- Don’t apply lemon juice for more than 5 minutes at a time on your face.
- Lemon juice treatments should be done only now and then and not adopted as a daily beauty regime (maximum 2-3 times a week). If you still stubbornly want to persist and use lemon on your skin daily, it is advisable to first dilute the juice with water to decrease its acidity and then apply it on your skin.
- After applying lemon juice on your face, don’t step out in the sun without an overlying layer of sun protection.
- Only use the juice of fresh lemon and not store-bought lemon juice. The latter may be too concentrated for the skin.
- It is better you perform your lemon skin care regime in the evening or at night before sleeping. This helps avoid the not-so-skin-friendly side effects of solar radiation like hyperpigmentation.
After a couple of weeks of a little tangy attention to your beaming countenance, you’ll need to get used to this…