How Long Does It Take for Lemon to Lighten the Skin?

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Do you want to improve your skin tone naturally? Or maybe you want to clear and whiten those dark spots? Lemon juice has been proven to lighten skin naturally. It is safe, effective, and natural. The question is, how long does it take to work?

How long does it take for lemon to lighten the skin? If you apply lemon juice to your skin daily, your skin will lighten in about two weeks. For some people, it may take 3 to 4 weeks to lighten their skin with lemon juice. Lemons have been proven to lighten dark spots, freckles, acne marks, and generally brighten skin tone. 

Read on to learn more about how long it takes for lemon to lighten the skin, as well as some useful homemade lemon juice mixtures for skin lightening.

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How Long Does It Take for Lemon to Lighten the Skin?

There’s so much more to lemon than being the ritualistic partner of tequila. Lemon juice has been used as a folk remedy for skin lightening and brightening for centuries now. Lemons are rich in vitamin C.

Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant and a natural astringent. When it is appropriately applied to the skin, it can play a huge role in reversing hyperpigmentation, lightening of the skin, and overall improvement of skin tone.

It’s practically a safe, inexpensive, and effective skin whitener! Below are three benefits of lemon for the skin.

Benefits of Using Lemon for the Skin

lemon for skin lightening

1. Lemon Can Exfoliate

Lemon is naturally acidic, like most citrus fruits. The acid exfoliates the topmost layer of the skin or the epidermis. Old skin cells are removed, including old skin cells with dark pigmentation.

Our skin exfoliates on its own every 3 to 4 weeks when new cells push their way up from the base of the epidermis, replacing the old cells.

Vitamin C helps in reducing cohesion between the cells and causes sloughing of the skin. This vitamin also stimulates new skin cell production. With regular use, the appearance of fine lines will be reduced, along with a marked improvement in skin tone and texture.

Skin will be noticeably brighter in about two weeks but will continue to improve if lemon is regularly used.

2. Lemon Reduces Melanin Production

Melanin is a biological pigment that dictates one’s skin color and hair color. Melanin’s main purpose is not for vanity but for protection. It protects us from the sun’s UV radiation, which is a well-known carcinogen, especially if we are exposed to high levels.

The skin produces more melanin when it is exposed to the sun for an extended period. It is the body’s natural way of protecting the skin. The overproduction of melanin can cause dark spots and hyperpigmentation.

Hyperpigmentation happens when some parts of the skin become darker than others. This process gives you an uneven skin tone and where vitamin C will play a vital role.

Vitamin C-rich fruits like lemon interrupt melanin production and lessen skin hyperpigmentation. However, your skin tends to be more sensitive under the sun because of the interruption in melanin production. For this reason, always use sunscreen before you head outside.

When a lemon cream or mixture is used 3 to 4 times a week, skin lightening can be observed.

3. Lemon Stimulates Collagen

The body naturally produces a type of protein called collagen. It is found in our bones, tendons, ligaments, and skin. As people age, the body produces lesser collagen and is of lower quality. It means that our skin becomes less elastic and firm as we grow older.

Studies have shown that vitamin C helps in increasing collagen production. When collagen is increased, the skin will be noticeably brighter with a healthy glow. Studies also show that regularly using lemon on your skin reduces and slows down early wrinkling! It often takes 2 to 3 weeks to see the visible effects of using lemon to lighten the skin and make it glow.

There are many lemon mixtures and solutions that you can try. You may choose to do them yourself or buy preparations and products that have lemon content.

However, please remember that once you use lemon for skin lightening, your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun. Once you add lemon to your skincare regimen, limit your exposure to the sun, and remember to use sunscreen with a high sun protection factor.

Experts recommend using fresh lemon juice rather than bottled lemon juice. Bottled lemon juice usually contains preservatives and chemicals that are in no way beneficial to your skin. Also, always try to use freshly squeezed lemon juice for it to be more effective.

Useful Tips in Using Lemon for Skin Whitening

  1. Test your skin first on how it reacts with lemon. It is best to test with diluted lemon juice in case you have allergies to the acid. Dilute equal parts of lemon and water and dab on to a small part on your wrist. Wait for 12 to 24 hours, and if no redness or irritation occurs, the mixture is safe to apply on your face and other parts of your body.
  2. Never apply lemon juice or any product with lemon to skin that has cuts, burns, or injuries. It can sting and cause more irritation to the affected areas.
  3. Depending on the skin type, lemon juice can dry out the skin. The acid in the lemon will tend to dry out the skin. If this happens, consider using a good moisturizer after applying the lemon.
  4. When applying lemon juice on the face, always avoid the eye area. Getting lemon on your eyes will hurt and burn. Run cold water on the affected eye to wash out the lemon juice.
  5. We now know that lemon has been proven to lighten the skin and improve skin tone. You may feel that the more often you apply lemon juice to your skin, the faster you will notice the effects. Although you may feel very tempted to apply lemon juice to your skin frequently, it is best to use it 3 to 4 times a week only. Remember, lemon juice is acidic, and it can easily dry out the skin if used daily.
  6. When lemon juice is particularly used for dark spots and acne, use a cotton swab to apply to the affected areas. 
  7. Never take a lemon wedge and rub it on your skin directly. Lemon is very acidic, and it is always best to dilute the lemon juice with either water or milk.
  8. Remember to rinse off the lemon juice after applying to the skin. Lemon has a very high pH level, and when left on the skin for long periods, it can make the skin very red and itchy.
  9. Avoid direct exposure to sunlight. Lemon can make your skin extra sensitive, and it will burn quickly with direct exposure to sunlight. Remember also to rinse off any excess lemon juice on your skin before going outside.

Homemade Lemon Juice Mixtures

lemon juice mixtures for skin

1. Basic Lemon Juice and Water

Lemons are fairly inexpensive fruits. They are also a natural astringent. Lemons are best for people with oily skin because it helps dry out the excess oils. It is an excellent shine eliminator. If you have dry skin, just remember to use a moisturizer afterward. 

Depending on how much area of the skin you will apply it on, you will probably use just about ¼ or ½ lemon a day. 


  1. Squeeze juice from half a lemon into a bowl and add an equal amount of water. 
  2. Apply the water and lemon juice mixture on your skin, either with a cotton ball or with a clean face towel. You may also use a small spray bottle if you wish. 
  3. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and then rinse thoroughly. 

You may store the diluted lemon juice in the refrigerator for up to three days. 

2. Lemon and Honey Mixture

This mixture is basically the same as the lemon and water mixture, but you’ll use honey instead of water. Lemons are full of antioxidants, which can slow down aging.

Combine it with honey, which is a natural antibacterial, and you get a lemon-honey mixture that can help treat acne, and at the same time, lighten your skin. This mixture will be thicker and will work well as a face mask. 


  1. Mix lemon and honey in a bowl. 
  2. Apply on face with a sponge or with a clean face towel and leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes. 

After application, you may feel your skin tighten and tingle. Do not worry, as this is a natural feeling because of the thickness of the honey. Use only natural 100% honey with no added sugar. If you have dry skin, remember to use a moisturizer after.

3. Lemon and Milk Mixture

I love using this mixture because it revitalizes the skin so much. Milk naturally has lactic acid, which can effectively exfoliate the skin and helps with cell renewal. 

Milk can also help with water retention as well as softens and moisturizes the skin. Think of Cleopatra bathing in milk–she already knew milk was good for the skin. The lemon in the solution will act as the bleaching agent to lessen hyperpigmentation. 


  1. Mix equal parts of milk and lemon juice. The milk will curdle, which is a natural effect because lemon is an acid. You can adjust the amount of milk if you have dry skin. Just use more milk than lemon juice. Note that there will be a smell that can be a bit overpowering when you start mixing them together, but the results will be worth it. 
  2. Use a sponge to apply the mixture to the skin. In a circular motion, massage the mixture into the skin. Leave it on for 10-12 minutes. 
  3. Rinse off and pat your skin dry with a towel. Your skin will immediately feel smooth and clean afterward.

4. Lemon Juice and Brown Sugar

This mixture is best for the lips. It works as a good lip scrub because the lemon juice will work as a chemical exfoliant, while the brown sugar will be the physical exfoliator. Together, they will slough off and smoothen your lips.

Just add a small amount of lemon juice to brown sugar. It’s that simple! You now have an all-natural lip scrub!

Conclusion – How Long Does It Take for Lemon to Lighten the Skin?

So if you are wondering if lemon is an effective skin lightener, the answer to that is YES. How long does it take for lemon to lighten the skin?

The recommended usage of lemons or any skin product that contains lemon is 3 to 4 weeks. The effects will be visible in 2 weeks, but with continued use, your skin will get better.

It is recommended to only apply lemon juice to the skin for a max of 3 to 4 weeks at a time. After 3 to 4 weeks, you can take a week off and then repeat if necessary. If you apply too much lemon juice to your skin for too long, it can dry out your skin.

Lemon juice has many benefits for the skin, including as a lightener, as it reduces melanin production. Lemon juice also stimulates collagen and is a gentle exfoliant.

Remember to first test lemon juice on a small part of your skin to see if you experience any adverse reactions. If your skin burns, dilute the juice with more water. Never apply lemon juice to parts of your skin with cuts or rashes such as eczema.

After about two weeks of consistent use, you should notice a lighter, brighter skin complexion.

Related reading:

How to Get Pale Skin? (Fast, Natural Tips)

How to Brighten Your Skin – 12 Tips

What Does Bleach Do to Your Skin?

Why Does Hydrogen Peroxide Turn Skin White?

Tea Tree Oil for Dark Spots on Face