When we were kids, our introduction to lemons wasn’t so friendly. (It went something like this.) But now that we’re all grown up, we actually like the tangy flavor it adds to our recipes for chicken, cookies and, most importantly, cocktails.
But now our relationship with lemons has moved from the kitchen to the bathroom, as we incorporate the citrus fruit into our beauty regimen. Lemons are a great source of calcium, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium — minerals and antioxidants that improve the appearance and condition of our hair, skin and nails. So we present nine awesome uses for lemons you should know. Tip: Keep in mind that lemon juice should not be left on the body for extended periods of time and may have severe reactions when exposed to the sun. Always consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.
1. They heal acne and remove blackheads. Lemons’ antibacterial and antifungal properties make them a natural alternative to treat acne. Simply slice open a lemon and rub it across your face. Or you can add a few drops of honey to a lemon half before applying it directly to the area where you have blackheads. Wait five to 10 minutes before rinsing off with cold water.
2. They lighten dark spots and blemishes. Acne scars and marks are embarrassing and a pain to get rid of. Lemon juice’s citric acid gradually fades spots and evens your skin tone. Be cautious of open wounds or cuts on the face, as it can sting real bad.
3. They whiten teeth. Professional teeth whitening treatments can cost a fortune. Save yourself a lot of money and time with a homemade teeth whitener using baking soda and lemon juice. Mix the two ingredients into a bubbly solution and put onto your teeth with a Q-tip. Leave on for no more than one minute (the acid is strong enough to break down tooth enamel) and gently scrub off with a toothbrush.
4. They get rid of oily skin. We’ve tested out some pretty weird ways to bring down the shine on our faces, including laxatives. But swiping a cotton swab with a little lemon juice is just as effective. Try doing this before bed and washing your face the next morning to prevent oily skin.
5. They brighten your hair color. The cheapest highlights you’ll ever pay for involve making a trip to the grocery store to buy lemons. Combine lemon juice and hair conditioner, comb through strands, sit in the sun for a few hours and wash out. Repeat these steps at least once a week, and you will notice that your hair is significantly lighter.
6. They strengthen nails. There are tons of nail hardeners on the shelves at your local drugstore, but you can get the same results — and naturally — using olive oil and lemon juice. The solution will not only condition weak and brittle nails, but it will also whiten yellowing nails.
7. They calm dry scalp and remedy dandruff. We’re huge believers in DIY hair masks. Massaging a combination of household staples like coconut oil, olive oil and raw honey with lemon juice onto your scalp is a simple solution for dry scalp and dandruff.
8. They soothe chapped lips. Another overnight beauty treatment that only requires slicing open a lemon is an exfoliant for chapped lips. Rub the fruit onto your pucker, then wash off the next morning. The lemon juice will remove any dead skin cells so that your lipstick goes on super smooth.
9. They cleanse the face and body. If you’re unsure about what’s lurking inside your favorite face or body wash, you can always be certain with a homemade cleansermade out of lemon juice, yogurt and an essential oil like lavender or chamomile. Massage this on to remove dirt and bacteria, while moisturizing your skin at the same time.
By Dana Oliver