From girls in their sweet sixteens to ladies in their graceful forties, blackheads affect almost everyone. Those ugly, little demons developed all over the nose, chin, and/or cheeks are nothing less than a nightmare and we know how desperately you want to get rid of them. So, we have the simplest and most effective solution for you. All you need to do is go to your kitchen and grab a large, fresh, and juicy lemon. Yes, lemon can turn out to be the savior when nothing else helps in eliminating this nasty issue. How? Well, let us talk about the 12 best ways to use lemon for blackheads.
What are Blackheads?
Blackheads (open comedones) are basically a type of non-inflammatory acne, which is known to be the mildest by its nature. Sometimes, our skin pores get clogged due to the accumulation of dead cells and excess sebum in it, thus forming tiny, slightly raised bumps (comedones) on the skin. When the top parts of these clogged pores remain open, they get oxidized by the air and turn black or dark brown in color. Though blackheads are mostly seen on various parts of the face (tip of the nose, chin, or cheeks), you can also develop them on other areas of your body, such as the neck, shoulders, chest, back, arms, etc. However, blackheads do not come with redness, swelling, or pain as they are not inflamed like pimples. Also, they can easily be cleared up with natural remedies, OTC topical medicines, or even manual removal methods.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin disorder experienced by almost 50 millions of Americans (1). Among different types of acne, blackheads are known to be the most common one.
Read Also – How to Get Rid of Blackheads on Nose Fast?
Causes of Blackheads
As mentioned earlier, blackheads form when dead cells and sebum (the oil produced by the sebaceous glands in the skin) collect in the opening of hair follicles in the skin, thus producing ‘clogs’ or ‘plugs’. But there are certain factors that can increase the chances of it significantly. These include the following (2):
- Too much production of sebum
- Irregular shedding of dead skin cells
- Irritation of hair follicles in the skin
- Hormonal imbalance caused by adolescence, menstrual cycles, birth control pills, etc.
- Certain medications like androgens, corticosteroids, lithium, etc.
Why Use Lemon for Blackheads?
Blackheads can be successfully treated with a number of natural home remedies and lemon is one of them. But how does a small, humble lemon can fight against the issue of pore-clogging to help you get rid of those pesky blackheads? It is all in the vitamin and antioxidant contents of the citrus fruit. We have listed below the reasons why plain lemon juice has been touted as a highly effective natural cure for blackheads:
- Lemon contains citric acid, which has drying effects on the skin (3). This controls the overproduction of sebum in the sebaceous glands of the skin, thus keeping blackheads at bay.
- As citric acid is a type of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), it also helps in breaking down dead cells in the outermost layer of the skin (4). Otherwise, those cells get deposited in the hair follicles and cause blackheads.
- The high level of antioxidants in lemon can fight against free radical damage in the skin (5), which results in clearer skin with no appearance of blackheads, whiteheads, or pimples.
Being rich in vitamin C, the lemon extract has great antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. This helps in killing acne-causing bacteria i.e. P. acnes and combating inflammatory acne.
Read Also – Multani Mitti for Blackheads
12 Effective Ways to Use Lemon for Blackheads
Now, here are some simple yet effective methods of using lemon combined with other skin-boosting natural ingredients for the elimination of blackheads. Check them out:
1. Fresh Raw Lemon Juice
Squeeze out the juice of a fresh lemon and apply it directly to your blackheads either with your fingertips or with a small cotton swab. Doing it twice or thrice a day will give excellent results within a few weeks.
2. Diluted Lemon Juice
Prepare a facial rinse by diluting fresh lemon extract with lukewarm water in a 1:5 ratio. Splash your face with this followed by a plain water wash. If you remain consistent with this practice, your blackheads will go away gradually.
3. Lemon, Salt, and Water
You already know that the diluted lemon extract is a good natural remedy for treating blackheads. In order to make it more effective, add a dash of salt to the mixture. Leave it on your blackheads overnight for the best results. Wash it off the next morning and repeat it daily.
4. Lemon and Sugar
Pour a few drops of lemon juice over some white sugar (you can use brown sugar too). Let the sugar get dissolved partially to form a thick, uneven paste. Scrub the affected areas of your skin gently with it for 3 to 5 minutes. Doing this regularly will help you remove all kinds of blemishes including blackheads.
5. Lemon and Honey
Cut a lemon into two halves. Squirt some pure raw honey onto one of them. Now, rub your blackheads with that lemon-half gently by following small circular motions. After 5 minutes, rinse it off with lukewarm water. Do it twice weekly for fast results.
6. Lemon and Egg White
Separate the white portion of an egg from its yolk. Add half teaspoon of lemon juice to it. Mix well and apply all over your face. Allow it to dry up completely. Then, pull it off slowly and splash your face with cold water. This peel-off mask is one of the most effective natural ways to remove blackheads.
7. Lemon and Rosewater
Take fresh lemon juice and fresh rosewater each 1 tablespoon. Mix them well and apply the blend to the troubled areas of your face with a cotton ball. After 10 to 15 minutes, wash it off with cold water. Do it daily for the best possible outcomes.
8. Lemon and Milk
Add 1 teaspoon of diluted lemon juice to 1 tablespoon of raw milk and mix them together (using raw lemon juice will curdle the milk). Apply it all over your blackheads carefully and wait for 15 minutes. Once it gets dry, rinse away with plain water. It should be practiced at least once every day.
9. Lemon and Olive Oil
Prepare your own blackhead-removing toner by combining equal amounts of lemon juice and olive oil. Soak a cotton ball in it and apply all over your face, focusing on the areas with blackheads. Make sure that you repeat it every day to help the blackheads fade away fast.
10. Lemon and Groundnut Oil
You can replace olive oil with groundnut oil to add a twist to the previous blackhead-clearing recipe. Just blend an equal amount of lemon juice with the oil and apply the mixture to the troubled areas of your face. Let it sit for 15-20 minutes and then, wash it off with lukewarm water.
11. Lemon, Honey, Yogurt, and Salt
As you already know, the mixture of lemon and honey can work wonder for blackheads. You can even turn the mixture into a good scrub by adding some plain yogurt and a little salt to it. Gently exfoliate your face with it twice every week to get rid of blackheads in a few months.
12. Lemon and Pomegranate Skin
Roast some pomegranate skin and grind it into a fine powder. Add fresh lemon juice to this powder and combine well to form a thick, smooth paste. Apply it thoroughly to the affected parts of your skin and leave overnight. Wash it off with plain water the next morning. Keep repeating 3-4 times each week to get excellent results.
Apart from lemon, there are plenty of other natural ingredients that can be used for treating blackheads at home. You can try aloe vera gel, virgin coconut oil, turmeric powder, plain yogurt, tea tree essential oil, lavender essential oil, lemon essential oil, etc. for this purpose.
Side Effects of Using Lemon on Skin
While lemon is considered as a wonderful natural remedy for several skincare woes including blackheads, it comes with its own dangers too. If you have sensitive skin, lemon juice can make it even more sensitive. Being a strong citrus fruit, it may have some potential side effects on the skin that cause further damage to it. Common side effects of using lemon on the skin are dryness, redness, itchiness, irritation, stinging, burning sensation, etc. So, applying lemon extract directly to the skin is not usually recommended. Lemon can also make your skin photosensitive, thereby increasing the risk of issues like sunburn, sunspots, phytophotodermatitis, leukoderma, and so on. Hence, avoid going out in the sun after treating your skin with lemon juice. Upon regular use, the acidic properties of lemon may also make your skin prone to hypopigmentation by lightening its original tone. (6)
Always do a patch test before including lemon in your daily skincare routine, Also, it is always good to try this fruit as a spot treatment only.
Other Treatments for Blackheads
If DIY treatments at home with natural ingredients do not work for your blackheads, there are also other options to try. Find below the most common treatment options for blackheads that your doctor may suggest you:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) acne medications (creams, gels, and pads) containing ingredients like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and resorcinol, etc.
- Prescription topical medications with vitamin A, tretinoin, tazarotene, or adapalene.
- Manual removal with a round loop extractor
- Chemical peels
- Laser and light therapy
How to Prevent Blackheads?
Last but not least; follow the preventive measures that can help you get clear skin by averting blackheads at first hand. Here are the ways:
- Keep your face clean by washing it twice every day – once in the morning and once at night. This will prevent oil-buildup as well as pore-clogging.
- Use gentle exfoliators that will eliminate dead cells from the outermost layer of your skin without causing irritation to it.
- Always use a gentle herbal cleanser for cleaning your face as it will not make your skin red or irritated.
- Wash your hair regularly to stay away from dandruff. It may also cause your pores to get clogged and your skin to develop blackheads.
- Choose oil-free beauty and skincare products that will not contribute to new blackheads.
- Your makeup items should also be non-comedogenic so that they do not clog your skin pores.
Blackheads are mild, non-inflammatory acne, which do not come with redness, swelling, or pain like pimples. They appear on the nose, chin, cheeks, neck, chest, back, and so on. Blackheads formed when the skin pores get clogged by dead cells and excess sebum and their open surfaces get dark due to oxidation. The process can also be triggered by the overproduction of sebum, irregular shedding of dead cells, irritation of hair follicles, hormonal imbalance, certain drugs, etc. Many natural home remedies including lemon can be used for eliminating blackheads successfully. Being rich in vitamins (mainly vitamin C), antioxidants, and citric acid, lemon helps in clearing up blackheads effectively. You can use fresh raw lemon juice or its diluted version for this purpose. Otherwise, combine lemon extract with other skin-boosting ingredients like salt, sugar, honey, egg white, rosewater, milk, olive oil, groundnut oil, yogurt, pomegranate skin, and so on. However, it may have some potential side effects on the skin that cause further damage to it. Apart from home remedies, blackheads can be treated with OTC medications, prescription medications, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, and laser and light therapy. Following certain preventive measures can also help in keeping them away at first hand.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can I Put Lemon on My Face Every Day?
You can use lemon on your face daily, provided you do not have sensitive skin and you are not going out in the sun immediately after its application. Also, you must not use it more than once a day and make sure to stop its use after achieving the desired results.
Can I Leave Lemon on My Face Overnight?
Lemon is a highly acidic fruit and hence, is not suitable for overnight applications on the skin.
How to Get Rid of Blackheads Instantly?
Commercial peel-off masks can help you get rid of blackheads instantly. Otherwise, you can also try face masks made of clay, charcoal, or baking soda in order to eliminate those pesky bumps quickly.
How to Use Toothpaste to Cure Blackheads Overnight?
Combine salt with toothpaste to prepare a mixture of medium consistency. Rub it gently onto the affected areas of your skin for 2-3 minutes. Wait for10 minutes, give it another quick rub, and then, wash it off immediately with tepid water.
Can Duct Tape Remove Blackheads?
Duct tapes are adhesive tapes that can be placed on the troubled parts of the skin and pulled off to remove the blackheads from the skin as well.
- “Skin Conditions by the Numbers“, AAD.org
- “Blackheads“, Healthline.com
- “Lemon As a Source of Functional and Medicinal Ingredient: A Review“, ResearchGate.net
- “Effects of Alpha‐Hydroxy Acids on the Human Skin of Japanese Subjects: The Rationale for Chemical Peeling“, OnlineLibrary.wiley.com
- “Lemon Juice Antioxidant Activity Against Oxidative Stress“, ResearchGate.net
- “Does Applying Lemon on Your Face Help or Hurt Your Skin?“, Healthline.com