Most of us already know that lemon can be used to flavor savory and sweet dishes. It’s also a good accompaniment for certain foods, and it makes an excellent addition to drinks, especially plain water. But did you know that you can use lemon juice for stretch marks?
The natural citric acid in lemon juice can mildly bleach the skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. It does so by gently exfoliating the skin, removing dead cells, and restoring the skin’s tone to (almost) its original condition.
With that in mind, we’ll be going over the following throughout this article:
- Fastest ways to improve stretch marks with lemon juice
- What to do before and after using lemon juice on stretch marks
- Are there any potential side effects and everything else you need to know
Table of Contents
- How Does Lemon Juice Help with Stretch Marks?
- How to Use Lemon Juice for Stretch Marks
- Things to Know Before and After Using Lemon Juice
- Are There Any Side Effects?
- Bottom Line
How Does Lemon Juice Help with Stretch Marks?
Image via: Red Confidential
Of all the fruits out there, lemon has the highest concentration of citric acid (8%). This acid occurs naturally and is generally safe for the skin.
In fact, citric acid is classified as an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acid), which is a common ingredient in skincare products. That AHA property is what gives lemon juice its ability to deal with stretch marks in a better and safer way than any OTC product that you can possibly find. Below is a lowdown of how it does that:
- Exfoliation: as an AHA (a natural one at that), lemon juice exfoliates the skin by gently removing dead cells. In doing so, it gets rid of all the dead and damaged skin cells, allowing newer ones to grow. Those new cells will have your natural tone and they’ll reduce the appearance of stretch marks.
- Bleaching: in case you didn’t know, stretch marks are indented streaks – typically reddish in color – that appear on your skin when it suddenly stretches or shrinks. One way of getting rid of them is getting rid of their reddish hue. Lemon juice does exactly that! This natural skin-bleaching juice gradually reduces the appearance of your “tiger stripes” and restores the skin to its original tone. Better yet, it has zero side effects (unless you have sensitive skin, in which case don’t use lemon juice).
- Skin-repair: lemon juice is rich in antioxidants which, when used topically, help fight against free radicals. Free radicals are responsible for damaging the skin. They break down collagen. As a result, they cause undesirable effects like wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and – you guessed it – stretch marks. Therefore, one way of reducing the appearance of stretch marks and ensuring they don’t recur is by getting rid of free radicals. And you can do that with anti-oxidants, plenty of which you’ll find in lemon juice.
- Re-growth of skin cells: lemon juice also enhances the growth of new skin cells (not necessarily through exfoliation). That’s all down to its high vitamin C content. When new cells appear, the old, stretchmark-ridden ones disappear. Think of it like peeling an onion; you remove the outer covering to expose a new and fresh-looking layer. In this case, that new layer of skin will have a more even tone and less visible stretch marks.
As a bonus, lemon juice further benefits the skin in other ways that are not necessarily stretchmark-related. For example, it’s is a natural method for increasing collagen production.
Also, if your skin is crazy oily, lemon juice can extract some of the excess oil. It can also treat blackheads, acne, and blemishes.
And of course, it has antibacterial properties, which makes it great for treating wounds.
Related Post: Genius Tips For Removing Stretch Marks With Baking Soda
How to Use Lemon Juice for Stretch Marks
You have two main ways of using lemon juice for stretch marks. You can either apply it as a stand-alone product or combine it with other products that also fight stretch marks.
1.) Lemon Juice Alone
This is probably the easiest way of using lemon juice to fade your stretch marks. Take one lemon and slice it open with a knife. Squeeze its juice into a bowl.
- Now, take a cotton ball and soak it in the lemon juice.
- Place it on your skin where stretch marks appear.
- Let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then cleanse thoroughly.
Alternatively, you can rub the lemon juice directly on stretch marks without using a cotton ball. Use circular motions for maximum absorption. Again, let it soak into the skin for 10 to 15 minutes and then clean it off.
2.) Lemon Juice and Baking Soda for Stretch Marks
Image via: simplemost
Just like lemon, baking soda is a natural exfoliant. This particular remedy for your stretch marks thoroughly exfoliates the skin, leaving behind newer cells that lemon juice can “bleach” with ease. It’s not bleaching as much as it is restoring the original skin tone.
To create this mixture:
- Squeeze fresh juice from half a lemon and mix it with one tablespoon of baking soda.
- Make sure they are properly mixed and then apply the mixture on every spot where stretch marks appear.
- Leave the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes and then wash it off with clean water. You can cover it using a cling wrap or you can gently massage in circular motions.
Alongside all the additional benefits of lemon juice, this mixture also brings the added advantages of using baking soda topically. It has both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it great for treating bug bites, mild rashes, and skin irritations.
3.) Lemon Juice and Olive Oil for Stretch Marks
Olive oil is an excellent moisturizer that’s packed with skin-nourishing vitamins and anti-oxidants. It’s also an exfoliant and can help treat scars. More importantly in our context, olive oil can be good for diminishing the appearance of stretch marks naturally.
Combine it with lemon juice and you have a superb homemade remedy for stretch marks.
- Put half a cup of olive oil in a bowl and then add two tablespoons of lemon juice.
- Thoroughly mix the two and then apply the mixture to your stretch marks.
- Massage it in using circular motions and wash thoroughly, do not let it sit for more than 20 minutes.
Although lemon juice doesn’t have any major side effects, it’s a highly acidic product that can cause skin irritation and excessive bleaching. For that reason, you don’t want to leave it overnight. Therefore, cleanse the skin thoroughly not more than 20 minutes after application.
Note: you can substitute olive oil with cocoa butter. Both are great moisturizers with tons of benefits for the skin.
4.) Lemon Juice and Honey for Stretch Marks
Just like olive oil and cocoa butter, honey is a moisturizer that keeps the skin properly hydrated. That alone can help reduce the appearance of stretch marks, albeit over a very long period of time. Therefore, mix it with lemon for faster and better results.
- You’ll want to use raw organic honey for this.
- Mix one tablespoon of it with juice from half a lemon and apply the mixture on your stretch marks.
- Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse it off.
In addition to moisturizing the skin, honey repairs damaged collagen, soothes the skin, and may heal wounds.
Things to Know Before and After Using Lemon Juice
Of course any beauty routine – whether for stretch marks or any other purpose – has a few rules of thumb. Here are the ones to keep in mind when using lemon juice:
Some people are sensitive to lemon juice. If you’re not sure whether you’re one of them, you’ll want to test a bit of it on your skin before going all out. The best place for testing is inside your elbow.
Apply and wait a few minutes to see whether or not your skin will react to the lemon juice. If it does, then don’t use any lemon juice products for stretch marks. But if it doesn’t, then it means you have the green light.
Remember to properly clean and exfoliate your skin before using the lemon juice. It will be more effective. I recommend using natural products for exfoliation. And one that immediately springs to mind is baking soda.
Always clean lemon juice off thoroughly after application. It may be natural but it’s still acidic. For that reason, it can excessively bleach your skin and make some places appear lighter than others.
Besides, lemon can cause irritation if left on the skin for long. After cleaning off, apply an emollient like cocoa butter or olive oil to soothe the area.
You’ll probably want to apply lemon juice just before bed so that you can give it time to work its magic. Similarly, the emollient will have the entire night to hydrate, soothe and soften the skin.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Lemon juice for stretch marks is largely harmless provided you don’t leave it on your skin for more than 20 minutes. However, it can still have some side effects under certain conditions.
- Skin irritation: this is the most common side effect of using lemon juice topically. Because of its acidity, it can irritate sensitive skin. Therefore, if you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to try other options for removing stretch marks.
- Sunburn: lemon juice is also known to increase the risk of sunburn. If your stretch marks appear on places that can be exposed to the sun (like arms or upper part of breasts), then don’t apply lemon juice just before you leave the house on a sunny day. The same applies if you’re planning to show some skin (micro-mini skirt/shorts, low cut top etc.) or if you’re hitting the beach, swimming pool or just sunbathing. The better part of your body will be exposed to the sun, including stretchmark-prone areas. Don’t apply lemon juice just before stepping out.
- Leukoderma: popularly known as vitiligo, leukoderma occurs when parts of your skin lose melanin. Lemon Juice can trigger it if left on the skin for a prolonged period of time. That’s why you shouldn’t leave it for more than 20 minutes. It’s also the reason why you should thoroughly cleanse off after applying lemon juice.
Although it’s generally safe, lemon juice does have its dos and don’ts. For example, do exfoliate before applying and don’t let it stay overnight. Incorporate these practices into your beauty routine and you’ll find that getting rid of stretch marks is a breeze.
But (and this is a very big BUT’) it’s not a magical thing. You have to give it time to show results. Depending on the severity of your stretch marks, you’ll probably start to see changes after two months of using lemon juice at least 3 times a week.
It’s also worth mentioning that stretch marks are permanent in nature. Therefore, lemon juice as a remedy doesn’t quite remove them. It simply makes them less visible. But that’s what we all want, right? For our tiger stripes to not be visible…