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The Good and the Bad of Lemon Oil for Your Skin

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Based on both scientific research and anecdotal accounts, lemon oil may have the following benefits when it comes to skin care:

  • absorbent
  • antibacterialTrusted Source
  • antifungal, such as against Candida yeastTrusted Source
  • astringent
  • conditioning
  • fragrant
  • helps decrease hyperpigmentation

Keep reading for more about the uses and drawbacks of lemon oil in skin care.


The proper use of lemon oil depends on the type of oil, as well as what you’re using it for. Here are some of the most common uses and basic instructions for each.

Acne and acne scars

Lemon oil has two properties of interest if you have acne-prone skin:

  • astringent
  • antimicrobial

Together, these properties can potentially reduce inflammation and P. acnes, the bacteria that causes inflammatory acne. Astringents are also known for getting rid of dead skin cells that clog pores.

The qualities of lemon oil that make it lightly exfoliating can also reduce hyperpigmentation from acne.

When using lemon oil for acne and acne scars, one approach is to use it at night:

  1. Mix 1 drop of lemon oil with a small amount of non-comedogenic oil.
  2. Apply to a cotton ball and gently dab on the affected area of skin.
  3. Leave on for a 2 to 5 minutes.
  4. Wash your face with your usual cleanser and follow any other steps of your skin care routine.

The downside is that lemon oil can be too strong, which can lead to red, peeling skin. For this reason, you may want to start out with once-daily applications only a few times a week.

Facial cleanser

Some over-the-counter face washes have lemon extracts to enhance the cleansing properties of the products. If you’re considering adding lemon oil extract to your own face washing routine, simply mix one drop of oil to a small amount of the wash in your hand before use.

Since lemon oil can potentially dry out your skin, you may want to try this method once a day to start. Discontinue using it entirely if you experience redness and irritation.

Bath enhancer

A warm bath on its own can relax muscles and be therapeutic. As a bonus, citrus-based essential oils like lemon can also boost your mood and make you feel less fatigued.

  1. To use lemon oil in your bath, mix 5 to 10 drops of essential oil to a cup of carrier oil.
  2. Add this mixture to a bathtub full of warm water.

You can use this method as often as you’d like, but you should discontinue if any signs of irritation show up.

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