1. Clear up your complexion.
“Because lemons are very vitamin- and nutrient-rich, they are known for their cleansing properties and offer an added bonus during exfoliation,” says Ariel Ostad, M.D. and dermatologic surgeon in New York City. Lemon juice can help with everything from cleansing and hydrating to removing blackheads and clearing up blemishes. There’s no juicing required for a fast exfoliator either: Simply cut a lemon in half and rub it all over your face for five minutes. Rinse with cold water.
2. Even skin tone.
Nothing ruins healthy skin faster than an unsightly acne scar or dark spot. Thankfully, some studies have shown that the acid in citrus juices can help lessen the appearance of scars on the skin. Not only can lemon juice help erase scars, but the oils in lemon also helps essential vitamins penetrate the skin easier, making skin heal faster. Squeeze lemon juice onto a cotton ball or pad, and rub along the face before rinsing with cold water.
There are plenty of beauty products that you can substitute for fresh lemon juice, too. Good Housekeeping’s beauty director, April Franzino, likes Juice Beauty’s Green Apple Peel ($39, juicebeauty.com), which is chock full of lemon juice to improve skin’s tone and texture.
3. Brighten nails.
Combine three tablespoons of olive oil with one tablespoon of lemon juice to create a mixture that will condition and make nails appear brighter. The acid from the lemon helps clear up any buildup on the nails, leaving them whiter. And the olive oil hydrates.
4. Lighten hair.
As a teen did you ever squeeze lemon juice on your hair in hopes that it might give you some natural highlights? Turns out, it actually works. Robert J. Dorin, D.O. ACOFP, a hair restoration surgeon, and Medical Director of True & Dorin Medical Group, says that when mixed with the sun’s rays, the acid in lemon juice can make your hair lighter. Want to try it? Mix fresh lemon juice with warm water in a spray bottle and spritz the mixture throughout your hair. Then, sit out in the sun for up to an hour to get the best results.
5. Soften dry elbows.
Just as lemons can be used as a gentle exfoliator for the face, the same can be said about dry, rough elbows. Add lemon juice to baking soda until you have a grainy paste. Scrub it into your elbows to buff away dry, dead skin. Rinse with water and more lemon juice, and soften with lotion or olive oil.
6. Keep dandruff under control.
A mixture of water, ginger root, lemon juice, and olive oil can help slow down cell turnover and decrease the amount of skin shedding from your scalp. Pour the treatment all over and let it dry before you shampoo it out.
If you’re wary about making your own treatment, or you’re missing some ingredients, Franzino recommends Lush’s Rub Rub Rub sea salt and lemon scrub ($22, lushusa.com). It works on both body, face, and scalp.
7. Fix an at-home tan.
Sunless tanners are a mainstay for colder months when outdoor activities are limited, but that doesn’t mean you have to live with a streaky orange tan. Rub a halved lemon over the area that needs to be buffed up. Keep applying until the tan evens out.