Lemons. We see them everywhere, but what you might not know is that this highly acidic fruit is used all over the planet by various beauty experts, and for good reason. Lemons are a fabulous source of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium—all antioxidants that improve the look and feel of our hair, nails and skin. Here are some reasons our love for lemons, and soon yours, reaches beyond the confines of our kitchens.
1. Blackhead Buster
Lemons’ antifungal and antibacterial properties make it a natural alternative to fight troublesome blackheads and acne. Instead of staring into a mirror and obsessing over these tiny (yet huge!) problem spots, add a few drops of honey to a lemon half before applying it directly to the affected area. Or, if you’re looking for an overnight treatment, skip the honey and apply lemon juice to the skin using a cotton ball. Leave it on overnight and rinse with cool water in the morning.
2. Hyperpigmentation Lightener
Lemon is a legendary folk remedy for freckles and age spots. The citric acid found in lemon juice works to gradually fade away spots and evens skin tone. Dissolve a pinch of sugar in 2 tablespoons of lemon juice with a cotton ball and apply daily to lighten spots over the course of a few weeks. Plus, since it’s a natural lightener, use this same formula on new pimples to fade redness throughout the day.
3. Teeth Whitener
This super fruit can also help brighten your smile in between professional whitening treatments. Mix baking soda and the juice of a freshly squeezed lemon and apply to your teeth using a Q-tip. Leave on for no longer than a minute, seeing how the acid is strong enough to break down tooth enamel, and gently scrub off with a toothbrush.
4. Oil Eliminator
The citric acid from lemons help balance pH levels and oil production, which means it can be used as an all-natural oil fighter in place of your regular skin toner. If you are looking too oily, Norma Garza, the founder of Norma's Touch Skin Specialty Spa in Houston, recommends combining two tablespoons of lemon juice, two tablespoons of vodka, one tablespoon of distilled water and one tablespoon of witch hazel. Apply the mixture with a cotton swab, just as you would a traditional toner to eliminate surface oil.
5. Nail Rehabilitator
Nails can become weak and brittle if spent too much time in water, as a result of natural aging or because of poor nutrition. To strengthen them and increase growth, soak your fingernails in a solution of olive oil and lemon juice for ten minutes, then rinse well with warm water. The ingredients in lemons also work wonders on softening your cuticles and getting rid of any yellowish tinge dark nail polish has left behind.
6. Skin Saver
If you’re unsure about what ingredients are lurking inside your favorite body or face wash, create a homemade cleanser out of lemon juice, yogurt and an essential oil like chamomile or lavender. Massage this solution onto skin to cleanse and moisturize at the same time. If you’re looking for a natural exfoliator, combine lemon juice and sugar for a natural exfoliating technique that’s sure to slough off dead skin cells.
7. Scalp Soother
Dandruff is a common chronic scalp condition that results in skin itching and flaking. While it’s not preventative, lemon juice is great for removing existing flakes. Create your own scalp moisturizer by massaging a simple combination of lemon juice, coconut oil, olive oil and honey into dry hair, focusing on the scalp. Leave in for ten minutes and shampoo as usual.
Keep in mind that lemon juice should not be left on the skin for extended periods of time and may have severe reactions when exposed to the sun. As always, consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.
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