Ooh-la-lemon! | Inquirer Business
Medical Files


/ 11:05 PM January 06, 2012

All the late-night sleep and too much sun exposure at the beach one might have gotten during the holiday season, no doubt, could impose so much strain on one’s skin and make one look haggard at this point. Now, that the frenetic holiday activities have abated, it’s time to give one’s skin and body the recovery they need.

There’s no substitute to having a good night’s rest. To further help our skin regain its glow, the good old lemon treatment can help do the trick, according to our daughter Shelly, who’s now a dermatology resident at the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital.

Good ‘skin food’


“When life throws you lemons, don’t make lemonade. (That’s extra calories!) Instead, squirt them all over your face, hair and nails. Replete with citric and ascorbic acid, which are natural exfoliants and antioxidants, lemons are good ‘skin food’—they make your skin lighter, clearer and more radiant,” writes Shelly in her published article in the latest issue of Zen Health magazine.


The lemon extract could help lighten dark areas, and even improve the appearance of age spots for senior citizens. “To get an overall glow, squeeze the juice out and apply them directly to your problem areas once a day before going to bed,” Shelly advises. She adds though that if one’s skin becomes overly sensitive, one can opt to dilute the lemon juice in water by applying a few drops to a moistened cotton ball or mixing it with equal parts clean water in a spray bottle.

“You can even add it to your bath water as you soak in the tub!” Shelly says. And for those who’re feeling more experimental, they can mix the lemon juice with honey, egg white, aloe vera, extra-virgin olive oil, chamomile tea, rose water, sugar, or yogurt to concoct a homemade whitening toner, paste, or mask.

Some people’s skin can be extra sensitive, so they need to test first before applying these concoctions. “To best determine if your skin can handle it, it’s best if you test a small, coin-sized area under your chin with a dab of lemon juice or your preferred concoction overnight. If it doesn’t become irritated the next day, then you’re good to go,” Shelly recommends.

Aside from the juice, the lemon rind also has skin-enhancing effects. One can peel off the rind, chop it up in little pieces, and rub these gently on the skin in a smooth, circular motion. After a few seconds, wipe them off and rinse with water, Shelly advises.

Exfoliating effects

Shelly also says that the exfoliating effects of lemons also help clear pimples and blackheads faster, giving one’s skin an overall boost. “It must be said, however, that while putting your skin on the ‘lemon diet’ is generally safe, you should avoid excessive unprotected sun exposure, because this might result in redness and irritation which may reverse the lightening effects and actually cause darkening,” Shelly warns. She recommends wearing sunblock and to avoid applying lemon juice on the areas with thinner skin such as around the eyes and sides of the nose and mouth.


The beautifying benefits of lemons extend beyond the skin. It can also do wonders for one’s nails and hair, Shelly says. Soaking the nails in lemon juice can help make them whiter, stronger and faster growing. Those with dirty-looking nails due to stains caused by nail polish or smoking can benefit from lemon treatment. Here’s how to do it: “Just fill a bowl halfway with warm water and then add 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Dip your nails in the bowl and allow them to soak for 5 to 10 minutes. Afterward, rinse off your hands and pat them dry. You can keep repeating this daily until the yellow tinge wears off.” For the smokers, quit smoking, of course.

Lemon also does wonders for the hair. Shelly recommends that after shampooing and rinsing your hair, apply lemon juice directly on the hair strands to give it shine and volume. To do this, add about 1/4th cup of lemon juice to 500 mL of water and use it as a second rinse. “The acidity of the lemon juice will lighten the hairs and create shine,” explains Shelly.  She does not recommend it if one has just recently had her hair colored or treated. I think this might accelerate the fading of the hair color.

“So the next time life throws you lemons, don’t feel bad. Rub it all in and get fantastic, glowing skin!” says Shelly.

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For more health tips for the holistically healthy woman, one can grab a copy of Zen Health magazine from any leading bookstore or magazine stand.

TAGS: Beauty, dermatology, fruit, Health, skin care

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