Lemons are high in citric acid. When applied topically the citric acid in lemons may treat acne, even hyperpigmentation, unclog pores, and decrease the appearance of wrinkles and dark spots. Citric acid, combined with glycolic acid from sugarcane and lactic acid from bilberry, effectively exfoliate skin cells, and thus are key ingredients in our SCRUB face mask. Given the super acidic nature of citric acid, we formulate with only minimal levels of lemon extract to avoid sensitizing skin, and furthermore, we advise against applying fresh lemon directly to the skin.
You must now wonder, ‘why if lemon is too acidic to apply directly to the skin, is it considered an alkalizing food?’ Well, that’s because once digested it produces a byproduct with a low PRAL score (potential renal acid load). The PRAL of a particular food is the amount of acid that is expected to reach the kidneys after the body metabolizes that food.
The typical North American diet is very acidic but the body prefers a slightly alkaline blood pH of 7.4. It’s the job of the kidneys to balance out the pH of the blood, so eating more alkaline foods can relieve the kidneys of over-exertion, and help to resolve degradation associated with kidney disease. Furthermore, to balance out acidity, the body may leach alkalizing calcium from the bones, so eating alkalizing foods may protect bone health. Finally it goes without saying that alkaline foods (veggies, fruits, legumes) tend to have more health benefits than acidic foods (dairy, meat, alcohol).
So in summation, for a healthy body and complexion, enjoy lemon in your water, but to avoid irritation, do not apply it directly to your skin (unless properly formulated into pH balanced products — such as our SCRUB face mask).