The noticeable changes were surprising.
I’ll admit it: I haven’t been taking the best care of my skin lately. Despite being a skin care junkie, life has sort of gotten in the way and I’ve slacked a bit when it comes to my morning and nighttime skin care routines. I’ve been falling asleep with my makeup on, skipping a few steps (but never moisturizer!) and, of course, the repercussions have begun to show. My skin recently started looking tired and blotchy and breaking out. In an effort to be proactive about reversing the damage, I went in search of a natural approach that would jump-start it back to a healthy state. That’s when lemon water entered the chat.
I’d heard all about drinking lemon water daily for different purposes, but a friend of mine shared how it worked wonders for her skin. After doing a little research of my own, I realized she wasn’t alone — many swear by the concoction for great skin and overall body health. So I figured, why not give it a go? I began every morning with a tall glass of freshly squeezed lemon juice and water. Here’s what I learned about the benefits of lemon water for skin after one month of putting it to the test.
As much as it’s important to detox your skin on the outside, we should also try to detox from the inside. Lemon water helps eliminate harmful toxins that can display external damage on your skin, and “contains citric acid, which has antibacterial properties,” explains Dr. Brendan Camp, M.D., a double board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “It also acts as a diuretic, encouraging the elimination of impurities in the blood through urine.” Think of it as flushing out all the bad stuff. Within a week, my pores were less visible and felt a lot less clogged.
Lemon juice is a natural antibacterial agent, while the pulp can be used to treat pimples and wrinkles, according to a 2016 study in the South African Journal of Botany. So, in theory, drinking lemon juice may internally banish harmful bacteria or toxic materials from your bloodstream to in turn clarify and protect your skin.
“The bacteria that contribute to acne, Cutibacterium acnes, lives on skin and in pores,” Camp tells TZR. “While drinking lemon water may not directly impact these bacteria, keeping the body hydrated and optimizing the function of skin cells may help maintain a clearer complexion.” Either way, I had been suffering from a string of breakouts that just seemed to keep spreading. As my lemon water kick progressed, my acne didn’t go away entirely, but it was a lot less frequent.
When you’re talking lemon benefits for skin, the word “brightening” is almost always going to come up, thanks to its high vitamin C content. “As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps neutralize free oxygen radicals that can damage cellular structures like DNA, lipids, and proteins,” explains Camp. “The damage from these unstable oxygen species can also contribute to signs of photoaging, such as fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots.”
We all desire an even skin tone, and the last thing we want to deal with is dark spots or hyperpigmentation. I’ve always had a difficult time correcting dark spots with topical products, but drinking lemon water has helped make my complexion look more radiant.
Apart from brightening, vitamin C also helps repair damaged skin cells. “Vitamin C stimulates the production of collagen,” Camp tells TZR. “As one of the main structural proteins within the dermis, collagen provides firmness and rigidity to skin, which keeps it bouncy and youthful. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps to quench the damage from free oxygen radicals that develop as a result of normal metabolism and exposure to UV radiation.”
In the long run, it helped soften my smile lines and under-eye puffiness. Plus, according to a 2019 Scientific Reports study on mice and lemon polyphenol consumption, drinking lemon water may even help ward off signs of aging, like skin lesions, if you do it consistently.
Staying hydrated — a must for your best skin — is a major struggle for people who don’t like the taste of plain water. Yes, it’s a thing. “Drinking water helps keep skin hydrated; dehydrated skin lacks moisture and is dry to touch and dull in appearance,” says Camp. So having tasty infused water instead of boring, regular ‘ol H20 makes the task of hydration much easier. “This encourages more water consumption, and is a great substitute for drinks that contain a lot of sugar,” notes Camp. “Diets high in sugar, a high glycemic index diet, are thought to stimulate acne production through a hormonal cascade.”
The moral of the story? Adding a splash of lemon to your morning glass of water is definitely worth a shot. Aside from its cosmetic benefits, it just makes you feel luxurious — and what’s not to love about that?
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