Tag Archives: Clear Skin

Does Lemon Promote Clear Skin?

You may have heard numerous reports that lemon—which contains a type of acid called alpha hydroxy acid (or AHA) believed to have potential benefits for the skin—is a skincare powerhouse useful both internally and externally. Of course, with the amount of misinformation that exists in the world of skincare, such claims always merit a closer look before buying in. Today, let’s dive into the use of lemon in skincare, and see if there’s anything to this trend or not.

Woman squeezing lemon juice in a glass of water

Drinking Lemon Water
One proposed use of lemon for the skin is to drink lemon-infused water. The idea here is that it will promote clear skin and help prevent or even get rid of blemishes. Sadly, there is no evidence supporting this claim and there is telling, if anecdotal, evidence by beauty bloggers using a scientific approach and testing the effect for themselves, which suggests that imbibing lemon water has little to no effect on the skin. That said, we can’t rule it out, but we also can’t recommend it, as further study is needed before we can say anything conclusive on the matter.

That said, drinking lemon water occasionally isn’t going to hurt you (just don’t overdo it; if you have much more than a glass a day you might give yourself heartburn from the acidity), and it does taste pretty good. Just don’t hold your breath for your skin to clear up if you do.

Woman holding a piece of lemon

Used in Scrubs and Moisturizer
Another popular use for lemons if to use them or their juice in scrubs, cleanses, moisturizers, masques, etc, etc. The basis of this practice is the presence of alpha hydroxy acids in lemons, which have some medical backing for use in treating sun damage when used in a cream or lotion (not a peel), and for treating dry skin when used—again—a cream or lotion. They are possibly effective for use treating acne as well, but this potential use needs more evidence before we can say anything conclusive.

All this said, while lemon does contain a fair bit of AHAs, it also contains a bunch of other ingredients that may or may not be harmful to your skin. As with most useful ingredients, AHAs are more reliable and effective when extracted, isolated, and used in products in their pure state. Just as taking aspirin is better and safer than chewing willow bark—which does contain the active ingredient in aspirin, but contains it in amounts which can’t be predicted reliably, and contains other things you may not want—so too is using AHA’s when they’ve been professionally isolated and measured.

In short, lemon contains at least one component (AHAs) that might be good for your skin, but please, please, don’t rub a lemon on your face or even squeeze lemon juice into your moisturizer. Instead, find a cream or lotion that contains AHAs for medical use.

Allergies and Clear Skin

April showers bring May flowers, but they also bring puffy, itchy and watery eyes, constantly runny noses and the inability to stop sneezing. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, 50 million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies every year. Also known as hay fever and allergic rhinitis, seasonal allergies can be majorly uncomfortable to deal with and in some instances, they can wreak havoc on your skin as well. If you suffer from seasonal allergies that cause your skin to be problematic, try the three tips below to both deal with allergies and to keep your skin clear.

Woman sneezing

Treat Allergies
If you want your clear skin back, you will need to treat your allergies properly. “Seasonal allergies cause the skin to swell and take on a yellowish hue due to the seepage of serum from the bloodstream into the skin. As a result, your eyes can become puffy, and, in some cases, skin can become red and flaky,” says Dr. Macrene Alexiades-Armenakas, MD Ph.D., director of Dermatology and Laser Surgery Private Practice in New York City, New York. “Seasonal allergies are due to pollen, which becomes airborne in spring and summer, so it can affect any part of the body, including the skin. I recommend allergy sufferers take quercetin as an herbal remedy or Allegra as an antihistamine to relieve symptoms.”

Care for Your Skin
When seasonal allergies make your skin red and flaky, you need to treat your skin gently because irritating products or ingredients will only cause further damage to your skin. “When your skin is (i.e. red and flaky), you can develop reactions to topical cosmetic ingredients, so you’ll need to focus on building up the skin barrier. I’d recommend seeing your dermatologist; I’ve found that a prescription to EpiCeram as a barrier builder to be particularly effective,” says Dr. Alexiades-Armenakas. You want to be sure that you are using products that contain ingredients that restore, repair and strengthen your skin’s natural barrier. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, squalene and ceramides to give your barrier a boost and restore your clear skin. “If you suffer from seasonal allergies, I recommend that you avoid products that contain fragrances and/or toxic preservatives such as parabens and/or propylene glycol. These are high on the list of allergens that can irritate your skin,” advises Alexiades-Armenakas.

blueberries

Eat Well
In addition to treating your allergies and repairing your skin’s barrier, eating foods that promote clear skin can help to keep your skin healthy and happy. Wellness expert, Dr. Frank Lipman, says “sugar, dairy and gluten are the biggest foods that affect skin,” and urges those seeking clear skin to significantly reduce or eliminate these foods from their diets. Instead, he says that “avocados, kale, walnuts (or nuts), wild salmon, blueberries – all the superfoods…” are the foods you want to include in your clear skin diet.

Allergies are annoying and uncomfortable, more so when they target your skin. By treating your allergies with the proper medications, you can reduce the amount of damage seasonal allergies do to your skin. Focus on eating well and using skin care products and ingredients that calm irritated skin and repair your moisture barrier to keep your skin clear during allergy season.