4 Effective Ways of Using Lemon Juice for Acne (Pimples)

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Many people turn to lemon juice for acne treatment, making it one of the most popular at-home remedies for this common affliction.

Is Lemon Juice Effective for Treating Acne?

For millions of people around the world, acne or pimples is an irritating and difficult-to-eliminate skin condition that can be costly or even painful to treat with prescription medication. Lemon juice has been touted as an effective remedy for this condition because it possesses natural exfoliating, antibacterial, and astringent properties, while also helping to stimulate healing. While this home remedy is widely praised and commonly used, acne can be very serious and lead to other dangerous infections or complications. It is always wise to seek medical attention or consultation if you have a bad case of acne. [1]

How does Lemon Juice help Cure Acne?

Lemon juice for acne is particularly effective because it can reduce oil, eliminate bacteria, reduce redness, and speed the healing process, among others.

Oil Reduction

The high acidity of lemon juices has an astringent effect, which squeezes the excess oil from the skin, rather than letting it build up beneath the skin and block pores. [2]


Acne is caused by the buildup of sebum, but much of the redness is from bacteria that take up residence in those blocked pores. Lemon juice is a natural antibacterial that clears out these pathogens. [3]

A flat lay pic of a smiling woman covering one of her eyes with a lemon slice

Vitamin C content in lemons keeps skin healthy. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Inflammation and Redness

Acne causes large patches of redness and irritation, but lemon juice has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve the discomfort and itching.


Antioxidants found in lemon juice can help to speed healing and works as scar therapy, as some particularly bad cases of acne can leave permanent marks on the skin. [4]

How to Use Lemon Juice to Treat Acne?

You can use lemon juice for acne in a number of ways, including remedies with lemon juice and honey, rosewater, baking soda, and egg whites, among others.

Lemon Juice

Using fresh lemon juice for acne, dab a cotton ball into the juice and apply to the affected areas. Allow it to sit on the acne patches for 5-10 minutes before washing it off.


Apply lemon juice with a cotton ball to the site of your acne, then use yogurt as a mask for your entire face. Wash this off after 15 minutes for best results.


Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of honey; apply this as a mask to your face. Leave it on for 20 minutes and don’t move your face, as the mask will harden. [5]


Mix even parts of rose water and lemon juice, then use a cotton ball to apply this rejuvenating mixture to your irritated skin. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes before gently washing off.

Side Effects of Lemon Juice for Acne

While this remedy is helpful, it can have certain side effects that you should consider, such as drying out the skin and lightening the skin. If you have dark skin, using lemon juice can almost act like a stain and lighten portions of the skin, and should be avoided. Similarly, the astringent nature of this juice can dry the skin out, which can exacerbate irritation and other skin conditions. It is usually best to dilute lemon juice before applying it to those sensitive areas to reduce the chance of negative side effects. [6]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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