What if there was a way to rejuvenate a dull, dry, and acne-prone face with just two simple ingredients – sugar and lemon – which you probably already have in your kitchen?
According to researchers, a great kitchen ingredient that you can add to your scrub is superfine sugar. The finer the sugar in terms of grit, the better it is for your skin. (1)
A sugar scrub is gentle on the skin as it has small particles and is often less abrasive and drying than the usual scrubs. (1)
Similarly, with an abundance of benefits and richness in vitamin C, (2) lemon is an incredible natural ingredient that can help reduce acne scars.
And, believe it or not, it is easy to whip up a sugar and lemon scrub to get a clear, healthy-looking face.
Read on to know more about the benefits of lemon and sugar and more.
What Are the Benefits of Using Sugar and Lemon on the Face
Using sugar and lemon on the face offers the following benefits.
1. Brightens the face
Both lemon and sugar are great for skin brightening. You can make an excellent scrub by combining them both to achieve a natural glow to your face.
Sugar-based antimelanogenic agents can interfere with the factors that can make the skin lighter or prevent it from getting darker. (3)(4)
Containing generous amounts of vitamin C, lemon juice helps in skin color lightening. (2) A 2019 research shared the effectiveness of vitamin C for skin lightening. (5)(6)
How to use:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of sugar and the juice of half a lemon.
- Apply the mixture to your face and leave it on for 20–30 minutes.
- Gently scrub your skin while washing it off with water.
2. Prevents face dryness
The combination of lemon and sugar helps in keeping the skin hydrated and moisturized. Hence, it could be a good option if your skin is dry.
Sugar is a powerful ingredient for moisturizing the skin, and it is used as a cosmetic ingredient for the same reason. (3)(1)
Using lemon oil can nourish and hydrate your damaged skin and restore its natural balance. (7)
How to use:
- Mix 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and ½ cup of coconut oil.
- Apply this mixture to your face and gently massage it for 8–10 minutes.
- Wash your face with warm water.
3. Prevents acne
Sugar gently exfoliates your skin. It helps you get rid of excess skin cells and unclog acne pores. (8)
Lemon juice promotes the circulation of essential nutrients to the skin so it can effectively fight acne. (8)(5)
How to use:
- Add 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of sugar to a bowl. Mix them without letting the sugar dissolve completely.
- Apply this mixture to your face and gently scrub in an upward direction.
- Leave it for 8–10 minutes and then wash your face with cool water.
- You can use this scrub 1–2 times per week.
Excessive scrubbing can be harmful to the skin; hence, never overdo your scrubbing.
4. Exfoliates the skin
When combined, sugar and lemon can help in skin exfoliation.
Sugar is rich in glycolic acid, and its exfoliating properties make it an effective scrub. (9)(10)
Lemon also acts as a natural exfoliant. It reduces skin damage, signs of premature skin aging, inflammation, spots, and scars and promotes smooth skin. (5)
How to use:
- Slice a lemon in half and squeeze both halves into a bowl. Take the seeds out.
- To the bowl, add 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Honey pulls water into the skin for better moisturization because it is a natural humectant.
- Mix well until a medium-thick consistency is attained.
- Apply this mixture to your face and gently scrub for 10 minutes.
- Wash it off with water.
Caution: Do not use essential oils and lemon fruit extracts directly on your skin in high concentrations (11) as they may irritate your skin, especially if your skin is sensitive. Before including lemon in your skin care routine, consult a dermatologist.
How to Safely Apply Lemon and Sugar to Your Face
You can safely apply lemon and sugar to your face in the following ways:
- Perform a patch test of the lemon and sugar scrub on a skin region away from your face (such as the elbow fold). Observe the area for at least 2 days. If you don’t experience unpleasant side effects, you can apply lemon and sugar to your face.
- Immediately stop using the lemon and sugar scrub if you notice any negative side effects.
- Do not make sugar and lemon a go-to remedy every time you have a skin-related issue. Look for alternatives first.
- If your skin has burn marks or cuts, do not use this scrub. If you experience irritation or itching while using the scrub, wash it off and consult a doctor.
- Lemon can irritate your skin due to its extremely acidic nature. You may experience peeling off of your skin, redness, and dryness. On sensitive skin, these effects could be worse. People with skin sensitivity must stay away from topical lemon applications.
- Avoid going out in the sun if you have applied lemon to your face as it could lead to sunburn and other side effects.
When is the right time to use a lemon and sugar scrub?
You can use a lemon and sugar scrub on your face 20–30 minutes before going out (as lemon increases the sensitivity of your skin, making it prone to sunburn).
Can sugar and lemon remove a tan?
Sugar exfoliates the skin by removing dead cells and lemon decreases sun tan.
1. Take a fresh lemon. Squeeze out its juice.
2. Add some honey and apply it to your skin.
3. Leave it on for 30 minutes and then wash it off.
You can also add some sugar to this mixture to gently scrub your skin and get rid of dead skin cells.
How frequently can I use lemon on my face?
You can apply lemon to your skin every 2–3 days. You can mix lemon with other natural ingredients such as sugar, aloe vera, and honey for better results. Using it once daily is also absolutely safe.
Sugar acts as an energy source for living cells; it is also used in skin care products. (12)
The abundance of vitamin C in lemon also makes it a good skin care ingredient. However, sometimes, the citric acid in lemon may cause skin irritation.
Both lemon and sugar are great skin care ingredients for the face as they exfoliate and lighten the skin and prevent dryness.
- EVIEW on erbal face crub for kin exfoliation – IJCRT. https://ijcrt.org/papers/IJCRT2203364.pdf.
- (PDF) basketful benefit of Citrus Limon – Researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304995022/.
- Lee SH, Bae I-H, Lee E-S, Kim H-J, Lee J, Lee CS. Glucose exerts an anti-melanogenic effect by indirect inactivation of tyrosinase in melanocytes and a human skin equivalent. International journal of molecular sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7084727/. Published March 3, 2020.
- Bin B-H, Kim ST, Bhin J, Lee TR, Cho E-G. The development of sugar-based anti-melanogenic agents. International journal of molecular sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4849039/. Published April 16, 2016.
- IJCRT2201237.pdf Review on : Polyherbal Facial Scrub. https://ijcrt.org/papers/IJCRT2201237.pdf.
- De Dormael R, Bastien P, Sextius P, et al. Vitamin C prevents ultraviolet-induced pigmentation in healthy volunteers: Bayesian meta-analysis results from 31 randomized controlled versus vehicle clinical studies. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6415704/. Published February 2019.
- Azmi NAN, Elgharbawy AAM, Salleh HM, Moniruzzaman M. Preparation, characterization and biological activities of an oil-in-water nanoemulsion from fish by-products and lemon oil by Ultrasonication Method. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/27/19/6725. Published October 9, 2022.
- Acne-causes and amazing remedial measures for acne – researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/340874478/.
- (PDF) skin care with herbal exfoliants – researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/224892687/.
- Piotrowska A, Czerwińska-Ledwig O, Serdiuk M, Serdiuk K, Pilch W. Composition of scrub-type cosmetics from the perspective of product ecology and microplastic content – toxicology and environmental health sciences. SpringerLink. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13530-020-00051-9. Published March 16, 2020.
- Klimek-Szczykutowicz M, Szopa A, Ekiert H. citrus limon (lemon) phenomenon-a review of the chemistry, pharmacological properties, applications in the modern pharmaceutical, food, and cosmetics industries, and Biotechnological Studies. Plants (Basel, Switzerland). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7020168/. Published January 17, 2020.
- (PDF) glucose exerts an anti-melanogenic effect by … – researchgate. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/339669729/.