Lemon juice has long been used as a home treatment for acne. But, what does science have to say about it?
A 2018 study from the College of Science / University of Baghdad looked at the effect of lemon juice on the bacteria believed to cause acne, including Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis. The results were published in the Journal of Physics: Conference Series.
Acne is caused by a number of elements coming together. Excess production of sebum or skin oils plugs the follicles, and those follicles are in turn colonized by Cutibacterium acnes (or Propionibacterium acnes), which causes a cascade of inflammatory responses.
- Swabs were taken from the faces of people with acne;
- Lemon juice was tested against the bacteria;
- Juice was tested at different concentrations at (20%, 30%, 40%, 60%, 80% and 100%)
- They tested lemon juice and peel extract, tested against a known acne cleanser;
- The cleanser became more active at higher concentrations, but was not as effective as lemon juice at any concentration;
- They noted that other studies had shown improvement in acne scarring as well.
Researchers speculated that it was lemon juice’s acid content that made it so effective against bacteria.
The study concludes, “The present study showed that the bacterial species that causes Acnevulgaris (Pimples), identified as P.acnes and S. epidermidis was very sensitive to Citrus limon, more than crud bacterocin from P. fluorescens so as to the very acidic normalizes of Citrus limon.”
Acne home treatment
The at-home treatment is simple.
- Use a clean cotton swab to soak up a small amount of pure lemon juice;
- Apply directly to acne;
- Leave on for a few seconds, and then rinse with warm water;
- Repeat 2-3 times daily.