Natural Remedies

The Amazing Lemon Treatment for Acne

| Modified on Sep 17, 2023

While there are a number of other ways to treat acne, few are as cost-effective and natural as using lemon juice. This natural treatment option is safe and effective for treating acne as well as preventing acne scarring. Plus, lemons have a great fresh scent and can help in evening skin tone and reducing discolorations.

What Is Acne?

Acne is a skin condition that ranges in severity and involves the plugging or clogging of the hair follicles. Three common forms of acne exist including whiteheads, blackheads, and acne pimples. Whiteheads arise as the hair follicle becomes clogged but remains covered and unexposed to the air. Blackheads have been exposed, which causes the oil and bacteria to take on a dark, black or brown color. Pimples form as the skin becomes infected and inflamed and appear as red raised spots on the skin.

How Does Lemon Juice Treat Acne?

Acne in all of its forms responds well to treatment with lemon or lemon juice. The juice has natural antiseptic properties, which make it effective for treating the underlying infection associated with acne breakouts. Additionally, the natural in acids in lemon juice functions to break down the germs and bacteria that contribute to acne.

Lemon juice serves as an acne treatment in several other ways as well. The l-ascorbic acid in lemon juice is responsible for exfoliating the skin, removing dead skin cells, and treating blackheads. Likewise, the juice has astringent properties that naturally remove excess oil from the skin and prevents future breakouts. The juice can even be used to treat acne scarring from previous breakouts.

How Do I Use Lemon Juice to Treat Acne?

Treating acne with lemon juice is very simple. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into a bowl or other small dish. Dip a cotton swab or other facial cleansing cloth in the juice and swipe it over the skin. The juice functions as a natural cleanser and toner.

As lemon juice does have the effect of lightening the skin, some care must be taken when using this treatment option. When used in moderation, however, it successfully treats acne and prevents further acne breakouts.

Continue reading below for reviews from Earth Clinic readers who have tried the lemon juice cure for acne and let us know what you think!

Related Links:

12 Proven Natural Remedies for Acne
Glowing Skin Remedies
Lemon's Health Wonders: From Detox to Fighting Disease
Natural Blackhead Remedies: Clear Skin Solutions
Natural Remedies for Cystic Acne

10 User Reviews

Posted by Louisa (Greenwich, Connecticut) on 05/29/2014

Lemon juice is an amazing cure to prevent pimples! I have used it since I was a teenager and now am in my thirties still using it. I squeeze fresh lemon juice into my palm after washing my face at night and apply. Also use it on my neck and chest. I apply moisturizer afterwards. Keeps my skin clear and radiant!

Posted by Heather (San Diego, Ca) on 04/03/2013

Lemons work to clear acne breakouts on my fair, middle aged, skin.

I wouldn't let the nay-sayers who say it's too acidic scare you off. Who cares if it is acidic if it's quickly clearing up the embarrassing acne? If you have dark skin, I suppose it would be wise to experiment on an inconspicuous area.

Try it. Also drink mint tea and eat raw carrots or carrot juice.

Replied by Carol

I so agree Heather, I'm in my mid 40s with problematic skin also and the lemon juice is a huge help.

Posted by Veronica (Westbury, Ny) on 04/23/2011

hi. Ive gotten adult acne since after tubal ligation and of course with all the stress of work and home and everything else. I cleaned and tried just about everything that I could except laser and prescription meds. A friend told me to use lemon juice and salt scrub on my acne you dont need alot just enough and wash away with warm water. Omg! The first night I used it the redness and acne and old scares faded some. I cant imagine how fast I saw the difference. And I put moisturizer afterwards since lemon is acid I dont want to peel. hope this helps all who have acne.

Replied by Kelly
(Nashville, Tn)

Be very careful with the lemon juice. Lemon juice is phototoxic and will cause the skin to hyperpigment. Use sunscreen liberally and constantly!

Replied by Ben
(Columbus, Oh)


also lemon juice is way too acidic..... You are better off just using plain old baking soda as a facial scrub; far easier on your skin... As for lemon juice, WAY too acidic!!! Just make a paste of baking soda and water in palm of hand, and gently 'scrub' over your cleanser or soap later, then rinse rinse rinse with COOL NEVER HOT water... If you get a breakout, you could dab some lemon juice or apple cider vinegar on the pimples; the smell leaves right away.. If you get a breakout, apply the apple cider vinegar as many times a day as you can, gently rubbing it into the pimple... Gently rub the Apple Cider Vinegar into the area for 7 times then let dry..... Within 48 hrs. That pimple will either be gone (my experience) or on its 'last legs'.... Apple Cider Vinegar reduces the soreness too.

But Please no SALT ON YOUR FACE... Baking soda is much gentler and does the job very very well!!

with oily skin, exfoliate with the b. Soda 2 times a week........ And wash your hands before you wash your face!!!!!

Posted by Lanie (Hollywood, Ca) on 10/06/2010

Lemon juice has worked wonders for me. Over the years my skin has become an oil slick. I heard that lemon juice can help restore the balance in your skin, so I stopped using most of the other products to keep oil at bay. After I gently wash my face, I soak a cotton ball with fresh lemon juice and apply it to my skin like a toner. Then I apply moisturizer (oil of olay). My super oily skin is now back to normal. Hope this helps.

Posted by K.j. (Phoenix, Az) on 12/01/2009


I just wanted to say NAY to putting OACV on your face for Acne. It made my acne worse. I wouldn't recommend it at all. (But I would for taking is wonderful that way for great health!)

But as a YEA, I'd like to tell people suffering from Acne that I recently started drinking the juice of a lemon in hot water first thing in the morning, before eating or drinking anything else. (Then I wait 20 mins or so before eating breakfast.)

I found that in about a week, my acne had cleared up considerably. If I stop it, or forget, it flares back up. Then I start the cycle again, and it clears up.

So, if you keep drinking it, I truly beleive it will keep acne at bay. And I drink it through a straw so that it's not too acidic for my teeth.


Posted by Nicola (Portland, Or) on 10/06/2009

Lemon juice is good for reducing redness from breakout scars or just when your skin needs help fading the redness of the acne breakouts. just a bit of juice on a cotton ball or cloth applied to the area. i usually follow up with vitamin e, coconut oil or some other moisturizer to make sure the area doesn't get overly dry.

Posted by Marisol (Brookly, NY)

Retina micro really works! it cleared up my face considerably...but one day it ran out! i was devastated lol but thanks to lemon juice, steaming and vinegar, my face has cleared up once again. i put acv in the morning, wash it off after 5 minutes, then exfoliate with st.ives apricot scrub, later on, usually in the evening i steam my face (put ur face over boiling water, and let it open up ur pores) after that i wash it off with warm water to cleanse all the dirt that has come to the top, make sure the water is warm so that the pores are still open, then i take squeezed lemon juice(which is refrigerated (cold)) and put it on my face, this closes the pores and it is allowed to penetrate deep into the pores since they are open, i leave the lemon juice on overnight and in the morning i start over. it will help ur skin!

Replied by Lee
(Vegas, Nevada)

I tried this before reading the suggestion and it works...

Posted by Matt (Australia)

Lemon juice is good for killing toxins, but use sparingly on your face or you will turn white as a ghost. Lemon is a bleach.