Active Ingredients: Lemon

Reyanna Ng Beauty Expert
Active Ingredients: Lemon

When life gives you lemon, lemonade isn’t the only that can come out of it.

There was a time where DIY skin-remedies were all the rave and lemon was definitely one of the core ingredients to practically almost every home-remedy. Either using lemon juice+yogurt as a face mask, or lemon+sugar as a face scrub. Been there, done that! But have you ever wondered why lemon, why not other fruits like apples or its citrus-sister orange? This is largely because lemon extract is a great brightening agent due to its rich content of Vitamin C, citric acid and antioxidants.

Lemon derivatives used in skincare aren’t limited to only lemon juice, instead there are a total of 3 main lemon derivatives; lemon juice, lemon rind (skin) and lemon oil. Although all 3 carry the necessary components that bring forth skincare benefits, each actually vary in potency and phytochemicals. Therefore, some parts of the lemon may deliver varied effects, however, there isn’t enough research to 100% confirm which part is better than others. So, don’t ponder too much on finding a product with a specific type of lemon extract.

Although lemon does boast amazing skin benefits, using lemon juice directly on the skin can increase the chances of adverse reactions, especially on sensitive skin, so we advise against using pure lemon juice directly. Yes, that includes DIY home-remedies! However, lemon extract in topical products are a different matter as they have been developed and formulated to be safe and suitable on the skin.



Brightens the skin

  • A great natural source of Vitamin C and Citric Acid (AHA), lemon helps to gradually reduce pigmentation such as dark/age spots, scarring and blemishes thanks to its potent anti-tyrosinase properties that prevents melanin production. Hence, revealing a more even skin complexion.

Gentle exfoliation

  • Citric Acid is a type of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) that is well-known to offer exfoliation benefits of the skin. Citric acid works to cleanse the skin of dead skin cells and other buildup in the pores and on the skin surface. 

Boost collagen production

  • Vitamin C can also repair damaged skin cells and together with the exfoliation effects of citric acid, lemon encourages collagen production. In turn, reducing fine lines and wrinkles for suppler looking skin. 

Antioxidant defence

  • Lemon oil extract contains a high concentration of antioxidants (glutathione, ascorbic acid, alpha-tocopherol) that fights against free radicals and environmental stressors that result in oxidative stress damage – a culprit behind ageing skin. Hence, why you can why lemon oil extract in anti-aging products.
  • Lemon oil extract is also widely used in skincare products as a source of citrus fragrance. Which is why sometimes you may find them at the bottom of the ingredient list but that doesn’t mean that you will reap the benefits of lemon oil extract.

Balances excess sebum

  • Lemon rind, aka lemon skin/peel, is rich in flavanones and possesses a unique set of polyethoxylated flavones that is rare in other plant extracts. Lemon rind has astringent properties that regulate sebum production, clear unwanted buildup and minimize the appearance of enlarged pores.


  • A common trait in citrus fruit is its antibacterial and antifungal qualities. Coupled together with its astringent and AHA effects, lemon can help to prevent the formation of acne, blackheads and whiteheads, even millia, as it cleanses the skin and pores of bacteria, sebum, dead skin and impurities.


What to note?

  • Like we stated above, direct use or application of lemon juice on skin is not advised as its concentration can harm the skin or cause an allergic reaction, such as rashes, itching, redness or a burning sensation.
  • Consisting of citric acid, application of lemon-infused topical products in the AM must be followed by SPF-use because citric acid makes the skin more susceptible to UV damage.
  • Always conduct a patch test prior especially with a potent ingredient like lemon.


Products we recommend and where to find them

The Face Shop Lemon Nature Real Nature Sheet Mask

the face shop real nature lemon sheet mask

Instead of DIY home-remedies, use this lemon infused sheet mask for whenever your skin needs that quick pick-me-up for brighter and glowing skin.


The Face Ship Herb Day 365 Cleansing Foam Lemon & Grapefruit

the face shop herb day 365 cleansing foam lemon & grapefruit

A combination of two citrus fruits, lemon and grapefruit that removes dead skin cells and any residues like makeup or your cleansing oil/water. It leaves a refreshing sensation to help freshen the skin.


Garnier Light Complete Whitespeed Vitamin C 30x Booster Serum

garnier light complete whitespeed vitamin c 30x booster serum

Enriched with Japanese Yuzu Lemon, this potent formula helps to achieve smoother, brighter and glass-like skin, whilst helping to fade pigmentation.


Pixi Vitamin-C Tonic

pixi vitamin c tonic

This daily toner helps create a smooth and vibrant complexion while prepping your skin for the rest of your skincare regime. Formulated with orange, lemon, grapefruit and aloe vera extracts, as well as willow bark, the antioxidants works to protect the skin. Additionally, probiotics fortify the skin’s barrier and vitamin C + ferulic acid treats sun damage.


Commonlabs Vitamin C Glow Boosting Face Mask

commonlabs vitamin c glow boosting face mask

A cream, wash-off face masks that provides a natural exfoliation effect due to the blend of lemon peel granules, 7 kinds of fruit complex and an AHA, BHA, PHA complex. This mask also moisturizes, smooths and brightens the skin for a more radiant skin complexion.


Commonlabs Dual Vita Anti Oxidant Ampoule

commonlabs dual vita antioxidant ampoule

Although small, this ampoule is certainly mighty. This ampoule delivers anti-aging and brightening effects due to the Vitamin C + E, whilst also providing 24-hour hydration and firming fine lines and wrinkles. It is enriched with 63% Lemon Myrtle Extract, Centella Asiatica, Sodium Hyuluronate and 6 types of antioxidant complex - Pure Vitamin C 15%, Vitamin E, Ferulic Acid, Fullerenes, Gluconolactone, Ubiquinone.


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