My mother was a firm believer in the power of lemons. In fact, she was the only person I ever knew who could happily suck on fresh lemons without her face puckering. Not only did she use it for flavoring everything from fish to cocktails, lemon juice was a major part of her beauty regimen, from lightening hair to fighting wrinkles. For the latter, she would mix a few drops of lemon juice with a drop of almond oil and a teaspoon of honey, then leave it on her face for approximately 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water.
In fact, lemon juice has long been an inexpensive remedy for helping skin maintain a radiant glow. However, due to its high acid content, it should (for the most part) be diluted with water to prevent irritation when applying it directly onto your skin. This is especially true for people with sensitive skin since the acidic pH of lemons can trigger inflammation and lead to burning and redness, as well as blisters.
As a result, it is important to avoid exposure to sunlight when using lemon juice for any type of skin care. Of course, if you are looking to use it for lightening your hair you will want to be out in the sun.
Generally, it is best to use lemon juice treatments at night. For instance, to fade age (aka liver) spots, dilute it with water and place it directly on the spots before going to bed, then rinse it off with cold water in the morning. However, if you are trying to get rid of blackheads, try rubbing straight juice into them every night before retiring, then rinse it off in the morning until they disappear. Although lemon juice has also been touted to help get rid of freckles, those I have known who tried it never had any real success.
Since the vitamin C in lemons make them a natural antibacterial, their juice can also be used to fight acne. In this case it can be used either straight or diluted with water (to reduce stinging) and leave it on your skin for about a half hour at a time before rinsing. Leave it on your skin for about 30 minutes or overnight and than washed off with cool water.
Lemon juice, olive oil and honey combined in equal parts can be used on your skin if it is extremely dry. The mixture should be left on the dry areas for 10-15 minutes and then rinsed off with warm water. However, it your skin is excessively oily, try making a solution using 2 tablespoons lemon juice, 1-tablespoon water, 2 tablespoons of vodka and 1 teaspoon of witch hazel to help tone it. These should be mixed very well and applied to the oily areas of your skin, then rinsed with cool water. For exfoliation, try dipping a piece of lemon into a small bit of sugar, then rub it over your face to help remove the top layer of dead cells. Again, rinse your skin with cool water afterwards.
Another benefit is that when applied to skin lemon juice can act as a mosquito repellent, something to keep in mind during the warm weather, and these days Zika outbreaks.
Note: People who are allergic to citrus and/or citrus fragrance should avoid using lemon juice for skin care.