Lemons are often mentioned as a natural way to lighten the skin, but do they actually work as advertised? Today we are going to take a look at a little bit of biology and chemistry to figure out what lemons do for your skin and whether or not they are effective.
What causes dark spots on the skin?
Over time, exposure to UVA rays can lead to areas of hyperpigmentation on the skin. These are sometimes referred to as “age spots” or simply “dark spots.” While they are often tied to age alone, that’s not entirely the case. Sure, they don’t start showing up until around middle age, but that is usually the time when you have accumulated enough UVA exposure for the damage to show. So it is a combination of time and sun exposure.
Another cause of dark spots can be acne or injury. Acne scars can cause discoloration of the skin, particularly in those who have a tendency to pick at blemishes. Injuries such as cuts or scrapes can also leave dark marks behind after the area has healed.
Lastly, one of the biggest determining factors in whether or not you end up with dark spots and an uneven skin tone is genetics. There’s not much you can do about inherited genetic traits, and some people experience more dramatic dark spots than others.
The important thing is that you should not turn to any harsh chemicals or unsafe treatments to eliminate these spots. Which brings us to lemons …
Lemons reduce melanin production
Melanin determines the pigment of your skin. To put it in very simple terms, the more melanin you have, the darker your skin. Lemon juice, when applied topically, can cause your skin to slow down its melanin production, meaning that the new skin cells being grown will not be as dark.
In this way, lemon juice can help even out your skin tone, because as new skin cells grow, they will not be as darkly pigmented as the old ones.
Lemons are a natural exfoliant
Continuing with the theme of new skin cell growth, lemons contain citric acid, which is a wonderful natural exfoliant. The surface of your skin completely renews itself approximately every six weeks. The oldest skin cells are closest to the surface, and gradually drop off and fall away as new skin cell growth pushes them out of the way. But this process does not always happen gracefully, and this is where exfoliation can really help.
Citric acid helps to gently loosen the bond the older skin cells have with the newer skin cells. This means that they can fall away sooner, allowing the lighter and more evenly pigmented skin cells to take their place.
Lemons boost collagen and vitamin E
Lemons are also full of vitamin C, which is a nutrient our skin needs to continue looking its best. Vitamin C plays a role in the production of collagen – the substance which gives skin its softness and elasticity. Applying lemon juice topically delivers vitamin C directly to the skin surface, where it can be put to work immediately in boosting collagen production.
Vitamin C also has a very beneficial relationship with vitamin E. When your skin is receiving adequate amounts of vitamin C, vitamin E production is boosted. Vitamin E is very important for healthy skin, and lemons can help make sure you have enough.
Lemons are a good, all-natural, and gentle approach to skin lightening, but they will not necessarily get the job done on their own. One of the best things you can do is look for professional grade skin lightening treatments which include all-natural ingredients such as lemon extract. For instance, Zeta White includes not only lemons, but also papaya and licorice – all of which are shown to be effective and safe natural skin lighteners.
In other words, lemons are a good place to start, but if you want to see lasting results, look for a professionally formulated and safe solution.