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Lemon juice is a home remedy for acne, but before you pull all the lemons off your neighbor’s tree or buy a bushel at the local farmers market, you need to consider other topical treatments that are using. Lemon juice is a fairly powerful antiseptic that can help to kill bacteria that causes skin problems in some cases. However, it can cause irritation on its own, especially if you have sensitive or dry skin, so be careful using it with other topical treatments.
Benzoyl peroxide may be a little difficult to say and spell, but it may be the most effective acne treatment that you can get according to Mayo Clinic. Benzoyl peroxide works to clear out dead skin cells that clog your pores -- gross, right? -- and get rid of excess oil on the surface of your skin. Benzoyl peroxide can cause irritation, redness and extremely dry skin resulting in scaling and peeling, so it should not be used in conjunction with other topical treatments like lemon juice that can cause irritation.
Sulfur-based products are often combined with other ingredients like benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, though sulfur soaps and creams are sometimes sold without these acne-fighting ingredients. Sulfur helps to remove the oil that causes breakouts while getting rid of dead skin cells that clog your pores. Sulfur can be irritating to the skin, and one of its most common side effects is dry skin. For this reason, you shouldn’t use lemon juice in conjunction with sulfur-based products, unless you don’t mind peeling, flaky skin.
Alpha Hydroxy Acids
Alpha hydroxy acids and lemon juice are very similar and have a similar function when it comes to clearing up acne. Alpha hydroxy acids are natural acids most commonly derived from citrus fruit or sugar cane. Used topically, alpha hydroxy acids help to remove excess oil and clear your pores and may be beneficial for reducing the visibility of acne scars. However, using alpha hydroxy acids in conjunction with lemon juice is kind of like adding more lemon juice to your lemonade: You probably won’t notice the difference. You are likely to cause irritation and increase the potential for redness as well.
Talk With Your Dermatologist
The Mayo Clinic recommends trying out a few different types of over-the-counter acne treatments in conjunction if you have stubborn acne, but before you do this, you should talk to your doctor or dermatologist, especially if you are using prescription-strength products. Your dermatologist can tell you for sure whether it is okay to use lemon juice or a product that contains lemon juice along with your acne medication based on your specific skin condition.