Switching your favorite facial cleanser isn't an easy choice. Since everyone's skin type can range from dry, to oily, to some complicated combination of both... well, let's just say that the conventional wisdom is to stick to what you know works.
However, fruit—and citrus fruit in particular—offers benefits that can't always be purchased in the typical drugstore face wash. Lemons are an excellent choice: they're great natural cleaners for just about everything else, from your dishwasher to your cutting boards. So it makes sense that they would be just as effective for your face... and easy to incorporate into your skincare regimen due to its wide availability.
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As Reader's Digest writes, one of the most beneficial aspects of choosing citrus is its skin-brightening ability. When you use lemon juice, either alone or as an ingredient in a homemade scrub, stubborn freckles, spots, and blemishes become less obvious over time.
Dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD, says that lemons are loaded with vitamin C and citric acid; these ingredients increase your skin's collagen production and work as an antioxidant against the chemicals hitting your skin on a daily basis. With regular use, lemons work to reverse dark age spots, acne scars, and even the orange-y streaks of a bad fake tan.
Lemons also cleanse the skin, according to an executive beauty editor at Huffington Post. The same citric acid that works to brighten the skin also draws out dirt and bacteria that cause blackheads and other skin blemishes. Another beneficial effect of citric acid is its ability to clear away dead skin cells—an important factor in treating dry skin or sunburn.
(This ability to remove dead skin cells also makes lemons or any citrus fruit a great way to treat chapped lips. Just rub whatever citrus fruit you prefer on your lips and the surrounding skin at night, then wash it off the next morning. Ta-dah—kissable lips!)
Note: although I've been talking about lemons exclusively, any other citrus offers the same benefits, such as grapefruit, oranges, and limes.
While lemons on their own are fantastic for your skin, consider incorporating it (or any citrus fruit) with other equally natural ingredients for an even more effective facial cleanser.
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YouTube user Marina De Giovanni recommends washing your face with a DIY cleanser recipe: guaranteed to penetrate through whatever clogs your pores. Simply combine lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and sugar, then apply on your face to exfoliate and scrub away the dirt sitting upon your skin.
She also offers another recipe for what she calls the "lemon face lift": a blend of lemon juice and yogurt, which should be done after the cleansing. Watch the video below for more details.
And if you're struggling with particularly stubborn scars, spots, or otherwise, the inclusion of citrus can offer what's missing from your usual face product.
YouTube user SecretLifeOfaBioNerd developed her own face scrub, made with lemon juice, honey, and sugar (omitting the olive oil in the above recipe, though she does recommend adding jojoba and castor oil) to reduce the appearance of her stubborn acne scars.
As Crunchy Betty writes on her website, most skin varieties should be safe for citrus application; in her applications of fruit on various skin types, she found that nearly all fruits work for all skin types.
However, if you have sensitive skin, it pays to be cautious. Before you smear the pure juice from a lemon (or the DIY recipe you've chosen to use) all over your face, first dab a bit onto your wrist. Then, check on the same spot of skin in an hour or two to see how your skin tolerates the fruit acid. If you get a reaction, try buying and using an AHA toner instead (with a pH between 3 and 4).
Additionally, be sure to give your skin a break from the potentially harsh components of citrus; limit your use of a citrus-based face cleanser to once per week, as citric acid can easily be too harsh for your skin if overexposed to it. Citric acid also increases your skin's sensitivity to sunlight, so be sure to stay away from direct sunlight for a few hours after application.
Now that you know the benefits of using citrus fruit instead of artificial cleaners, will you make the switch? Let us know in the comments below whether this article has changed your mind... or, if you're already an advocate of natural cleansers, tell us your favorite DIY recipes!