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Does Lemon Juice Lighten Skin Permanently? Results, How to Use, Before and After Photos

Does lemon juice really lighten skin permanently? There is quite a lot that you can do to whiten skin naturally if you are looking to get a fair complexion. Here, learn how to use lemon juice to lighten skin from a dark complexion to a lighter one with additions such as turmeric, tomato, glycerin, honey and milk.

Skin whitening can be such an expensive affair. However, there are natural skin whiteners and bleaching remedies. Lemon juice has vast domestic uses, getting you a fair skin is one of them. But, can lemon juice lighten skin? How and why?

Lemon juice for skin lightening - though most dark skinned women use expensive creams, injections and pills, lemon juice is a good natural option
Lemon juice for skin lightening – though most dark skinned women use expensive creams, injections and pills, lemon juice is a good natural option.

Does Lemon Juice Lighten Skin?

Can lemon whiten skin?  Will lemon juice lighten my skin? Most people claim they have used this fruit juice to whiten dark skin or African American skin. The results and before and after pictures as shown below are just some that I collected online as their evidence. It is claimed that it can help clear hyperpigmentation marks, acne scars and blemishes, dark spots and even the problem of uneven skin tone. But does lemon juice lighten skin?

According to the True Activist website, households can swap ordinary chlorine with lemon juice for bleaching out stains from fabrics and make them whiter. This means that lemons have that bleaching property, which has been applied as one of the uses and benefits on the skin as well.

Being one of the citrus fruits, lemon fruit “contains alpha hydroxyl acid, which penetrates and removes the protein glue that causes dead skin cells to stick to your epidermis” as pointed out by How Stuff Works (see sources at the end). Exfoliation is one of the main methods of skin whitening since the cells with dark pigmentation cells are removed with newer cells emerging. The new dermal cells appear to be lighter or whiter as some people call it. This gives you a lighter skin tone fast.

Does Lemon Juice Lighten Skin Permanently?

Now that you know it does bleach the skin, does it work permanently? Although citrus juices are used for exfoliating the skin, some have additional bleaching properties. Lemon juice is one with strong bleaching properties and is used to whiten dark skin and dark spots from acne.

Are the results temporary? Can lemon juice lighten skin permanently? Well, although it reduces the melanin pigment, this natural skin whitener works in the same way as most dark skin bleaching products and will only show positive results with continued use. Once you stop using it, the results may not be permanent. However, for fading dark spots and blemishes, it can be effective since those do not recur unless you get new pimples and acne scars.

How Long Does It Take Lemon Juice to Lighten Skin

How long will it take to lighten skin with lemon juice? The time it takes to lighten skin depends on several factors: Skin pigmentation, consistency, how and when you use it.

Lemon juice for bleaching dark skin spots and acne scars
Lemon juice for bleaching dark skin spots and acne scars.

The time it takes to lighten skin definitely depends on the skin type and pigmentation. People of color may find it that it takes a longer time to see visual results on the skin tone change compared to light skinned people. This is because dark African American skin has more melanin pigment that requires more applications and time to be effective. However, this factor may also be affected by how consistent and whether or not one gets exposed to the sun.

To get better results within a shorter time, it is best to come up with a skin lightening routine with lemon that you can be able to stick to. This makes sure that the rate at which your skin tans or gets age spots is lower than the rate at which you use lemon to whiten skin. It is important to note that, skin whitening with lemon is not permanent like whitening surgeries and glutathione injections and needs to be followed up to maintain the fair skin.

Lemon juice should be used frequently at least 3 times a week to get great results. Due to phototoxic effects of lemon, it is best to apply it at night. When using pure concentration of lemon juice, do not leave it on for more than 30 minutes to prevent skin burns and irritations.

In the quest to lighten skin within a shorter period of time, do not be tempted to overuse lemon for skin whitening. I would recommend using lemon 3 times a week to maintain your newly acquired glow.

How to Lighten Skin with Lemon Juice

Many people work tirelessly and use expensive skin lightening creams and procedures to lighten their skin. These more often come with undesired effects making natural skin lightening agents such as lemon the better options.  If you are looking for how to lighten skin safely ditch the creams and chemical laced products for natural, safe and effective skin lightening agents such as lemon. Lemon juice is a fast and inexpensive remedy for lightening skin.

The acidic property of lemon acts as a natural bleaching agent. It is rich in antioxidant– antioxidants give you a glowing youthful complexion. Lemon is also rich in vitamin C which encourages new cell growth. Here is how to lighten skin with lemon juice:

Pure Lemon Juice for Skin discoloration

Using pure lemon juice to lighten dark skin spots can help to brighten up your skin and give you a glowing tone.

  1. Depending on the how large the area you want to lighten, squeeze enough fresh lemon juice into a cup
  2. Dab in a clean cotton ball and directly apply to the area you want to lighten
  3. Apply gently while massaging in circular motions being sure to cover surrounding areas for even lightening
  4. Leave it on for 30 minutes and rinse off your face with water
  5. Alternatively, you can rub half cut lemon directly, let it sit for an hour and rinse off with water

Caution: lemon can be very stinging and should not be applied on sore open wounds or eyes.  Alternatively, you can use bottled lemon juice to lighten skin in the same way you use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Just be sure to buy pure lemon juice and not flavored.

Lemon and Honey for Skin Whitening

According to The Health Site, making a lemon and honey mask is not only good for skin whitening but also as an anti-bacterial. They note that the mask of “lemon and honey makes a great cleansing and exfoliating recipe.”

Lemon and honey fade acne scars
Lemon and honey fade acne scars

So, does exfoliation lighten skin? According to Mommy Greenest, lemon juice, being “a natural exfoliator, comes into play in this skin lightening treatment.” The best way to use honey and lemon to whiten skin is to make a face mask or a gentle facial scrub that will exfoliate dead uppermost cells that are pigmented to allow new lighter cells to emerge. You should, however make the process of exfoliation regular.

Here is how to make and use lemon and honey for skin whitening.

  1. Mix 1 teaspoon each of honey, lemon juice and olive oil to form a paste
  2. Massage the paste to the skin for 3 minutes
  3. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes and rinse off with water

Lemon can be very drying on the skin– using it with honey makes it ideal for lightening dry skin as it lightens while moisturizing.

Turmeric and Lemon for Skin Whitening

A mixture of turmeric and lemon juice makes a power natural bleaching blend. Other than skin brightening, for dark spots and to remove skin tanning, turmeric and lemon also makes an effective acne treatment.

  1. Mix three teaspoons of lemon juice with one teaspoon of turmeric powder to make a paste
  2. Apply the paste to the skin that you want to lighten
  3. Leave it for 30 minutes and wash off with cold water
  4. Do this once daily preferably in the evening to brighten skin

Turmeric heightens the skin lightening properties of lemon without drying your skin. It also helps to mask the stinging effect of lemon juice.

Tomato and Lemon for Skin Whitening

Other than lightening the skin tomato juice helps to shrink skin pores and cure acne. A combination of tomato and lemon juice for skin whitening gives you a blemish free, glowing skin.

  1. Blend one tomato into a puree
  2. Optional- add oatmeal for extra exfoliation
  3. Apply this mixture to the area that you want to lighten
  4. Leave it for 15 minutes then rinse off, pat dry and moisturize
  5. Do this at least three times a week for a month to lighten skin and acne scars

Lemon and Milk Skin Whitening

If you are looking to make your skin brighter by getting rid of freckles and other dark skin blemishes lemon and milk is what you need.

  1. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl to get enough lemon juice
  2. Add in one cup of milk and whisk
  3. Apply the mixture onto clean and dry skin
  4. Leave it on for a few minutes and wash off with clean water and continue with your face regimen
  5. Repeat the process  3-4 times a week to get great results

Glycerin and Lemon Juice for Skin Lightening

Face lotion made by mixing lemon juice and glycerin can help you to achieve glowing skin. This lotion gets rid of scars making your skin lighter with a natural glow.

  1. Mix glycerin with rose water
  2. Sieve lemon to remove seeds then pour it over the rosewater and glycerin mixture
  3. Mix well and store the skin lightening lotion in a container
  4. Apply this lotion every night before going to be bed and continue for 2 weeks to get the best results

Glycerin and lemon juice lotion is also good for cracked feet and dry skin. You can replace rosewater with rum for even better effect.

How to Apply Lemon Juice on Face

Other than removing dark spots and lightening the skin, lemon juice can be used in a myriad of ways on face. Here is how to apply lemon juice on face:

As a Moisturizer

Lemon juice can be used in combination with coconut oil to make a moisturizer with astringent and skin cleansing properties. Coconut oil has many benefits for the skin while lemon juice is full of vitamin C and helps to lighten the face and giving you a natural glow. Simply mix a few drops of lemon juice with coconut water. Apply this to the skin every night as a skin moisturizer. It will also help to brighten skin so that you can wake up to soft glowing skin.

Because of the phototoxic effects of lemon, any product made from lemon should be used in the evening or at night to prevent reactions that occur when exposed to sunlight.

To Remove Blackheads

Before and after lemon juice for removing blackheads
Before and after lemon juice for removing blackheads

Excess oils on the skin can clog pores and cause appearance of blackheads. According to everydayroots.com, lemon has astringent properties that can effectively help to get rid of blackheads. It is also full of antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients which make it ideal for all skin types.

  1. Squeeze enough lemon juice into a ball
  2. Clean your face and pat dry
  3. Dip a clean cotton ball into the juice and apply it to the affected area
  4. Repeat this at night 3-4 times a week
  5. In the morning, rinse your face with warm water then moisturize as usual

It is always good to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Remember that lemon can sting. If you have sensitive skin, add some rosewater into the lemon juice before applying on your skin. Alternatively, you can make a lemon juice and honey face mask to remove blackheads.


Womenhealthmagazine.com, recommends using lemon cleansing wipes for problematic skin. Mix a few drops of lemon juice with tea tree oil. Add in 3 tablespoons of water and use with cotton balls as face wipes.

As a Skin Brightener

Vitamin C and citric acid found in lemon juice can help lighten skin when used over time. Lemon juice is also rich in antioxidants which neutralize free radicals and boost collagen production. These properties can help to lighten age spots, dark spots and remove sun tan. To calm sunburn irritation, splash on a mixture of water and lemon juice.

For Exfoliation

Lemon juice is rich in alpha-hydroxyl acids that can exfoliate skin and get rid of dead cells on the skin surface. Removing the dull dead cells on the skin surface allowing the skin pores to breathe and promote new skin growth. To effectively exfoliate skin, simply use cotton ball to rub lemon juice onto the face to remove dead cells.

How to Use Lemon for Skin Whitening

Lemon for skin whitening is so dynamic with lots of benefits for the skin. From brightening skin, treating acne and getting rid of skin blemishes, here is how to use lemon for skin whitening.

Lemon Spray for skin whitening

  1. Mix water and lemon juice in equal parts
  2. Add in the contents of 2 vitamin E oil
  3. Put it into a spray bottle and spray it on to the skin for a natural refreshing glow

Be careful not to use lemon spray on broken skin and cuts. Lemon sprays are a good refreshing treat for the skin in the summer.

Lemon Rub

Lemon is a natural bleaching agent that can lighten skin if used consistently over time. Identify the area that you want to lighten and rub a half lemon over the skin. Leave it for up to 30 minutes and rinse off with cool water. Rubbing lemon rinds to the skin may help to lighten skin over time. Do not leave pure lemon on the skin for more than 30 minutes.

Lemon Bath Scrub for skin whitening

When you desire an even skin tone, lightening large parts of the skin with home remedies can be cumbersome. While lemon may take a longer time, it is sure effective in evening out skin tone. Combine 1 cup of sea salt or corn flour with ½ cup of olive oil, 1 lemon zest and ½ lemon juice in a container. Mix well and use this as a lightening scrub whenever you want to take a bath. Using this skin lightening lemon recipe will help to get rid of dead cells and lighten skin all over your body.

Lemon Juice Skin Lightening Results

Many people positively review lemon juice as the best natural treatment for acne scars, age spots and other skin blemishes. There are many lemon juice to lighten skin before and after pictures. But before that, here are just a few reviews on lemon juice for skin lightening.

Before and after results pictures of fading dark spots on face with lemon juice
Before and after results pictures of fading dark spots on face with lemon juice

This is (hands down) the best way to brighten your skin, even out oiliness, and fade scars or redness. I dilute the juice of a whole lemon with filtered water (1/10), then strain out any pulp or seeds. Put it in a Tupperware and leave it in the fridge. Apply with a cotton ball at the end of the night, let dry, and apply night cream/moisturizer.” [makeupalley.com]

“…not very effective; It takes months if it works. Also it has some bad side effects of making your skin very dry and sensitive to sunlight.” [able2know.org]

“The lemon is very gentle and can be used anywhere, give it a try! But the results are gradual, not immediate.” [mommygreenest.com]

Uses and Benefits of Lemon Juice Skin Lightening

Lemon is one of the citrus fruits that have many household uses. In some hotels, you will find fresh lemon juice used as a disinfectant. Upon entrance, you might use it to wash your hands without knowing. That is just one of the benefits of lemon juice.

Regarding dark skin lightening, lemon juice, as we have already seen above, has the ability to bleach, which makes it a good household product for whitening dark skin, clearing hyperpigmentation marks, getting rid of acne scars, and evening out skin tone. So what other benefits will you get when using lemons on your skin?

  • Exfoliation, cleansing of skin and anti-bacterial properties
  • Acne treatment
  • Dark spot remover
  • Removing suntan
  • Treating sunburn and relieving irritation
  • Toning oily skin
  • Fighting wrinkles

Bottom line: Does lemon lighten skin? Lemon juice lightens skin but this highly depends on how and when you use it. It is important to note that the skin lightening properties of lemon juice are not permanent and one needs to maintain the new glow by using it consistently. This can be tedious for some. For better and permanent skin lightening effects, try glutathione skin lightening creams or injections. Other natural skin lightening agents include: turmeric, milk, and cucumber, potatoes, almond and olive oil.


The Health Site: When Life Gives You Lemons, You Slather them on Your Face

New Health Guide: Lemon Juice on Skin

My Thirty Spot: 8 Ways to Use Lemon for Beautiful Skin
Treat n Heal: How to Get Rid of Black Spots on Face Fast

Natural Beauty Tips: How to Apply Lemon Juice on Face and Skin and its Benefitsfading dark spots and blemishesfading dark spots and blemishes


  1. Kenya fashionista

    The girl in the pic is a Kenyan socialite and has admitted to having undergone an expensive skin lightening cosmetic surgery. No way lemon or otc creams will achieve that look.

  2. Comment:yeah…gotta check out.the chic is vera sidika n shes nt natural at all.

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