Citrus and dairy might be an uncommon pairing, but the yogurt and lemon face mask is an exception. Both yogurt and lemon have components that are beneficial for skin. When applied topically, one can use yogurt and lemon for skin lightening or brightening, acne-clearing and anti-aging benefits.
Is Lemon Good for Skin?
As part of the citrus family, it's no surprise that lemons are high in vitamin C. This natural bleaching agent can yield a naturally brighter complexion. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant that prevents aging and sun damage.
A 2017 July study published in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology noted that vitamin C is the most powerful antioxidant for skin. Researchers found that topical vitamin C protects against sun damage, pigmentation and aging. However, because the research on topical vitamin C is limited, researchers conclude that more studies are needed.
Lemons also contain citric acid, an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that evens out skin tone and improves discoloration. If skin shows signs of acne scarring or inflammation, the citric acid in lemons speeds up skin healing. This AHA also gently exfoliates skin and prevents breakouts.
Skin Benefits of Yogurt
Yogurt, too, can provide hydrating, rejuvenating and acne-clearing benefits to skin. The lactic acid in yogurt is an AHA that sloughs off dead skin cells, revealing smooth skin. Lactic acid also has anti-aging benefits, keeping the skin moisturized, firm and clear.
Fermented yogurt that contains good bacteria called probiotics may be even more beneficial. In a May 2015 study published in the International Journal of Women's Dermatology, researchers found that topical application of probiotic-containing facial creams resulted in decreased inflammation, increased antimicrobial properties of skin and reduced acne severity.
Yogurt and Lemon for Skin Lightening
Some people want to brighten their overall complexion, while others simply want to brighten dark spots. One way to achieve this coveted result is using yogurt and lemon for skin lightening.
Both yogurt and lemon have skin brightening properties. When combined, the vitamin C in lemons and the lactic acid in yogurt can lighten skin. Using a yogurt and lemon face mask can brighten dark areas such as age spots, under eye circles and hyperpigmentation.
In an April 2018 study published in the journal Molecules, researchers studied lactic acid and other AHAs to determine their benefits on skin. They found that, in small concentrations, AHAs prevent damage to skin DNA and provide a physical barrier against harmful external factors.
How to Make a Yogurt and Lemon Face Mask
Fortunately, making a homemade yogurt and lemon face mask is simple, though you might wonder if it's safe to use a yogurt and lemon mask every day. Lemon juice should not be applied to the skin on a daily basis, due its high acid content, which can cause skin to become dry, irritated or inflamed when applied repeatedly or in high concentrations.
Additionally, both yogurt and lemon have exfoliators in the form of AHAs. Using a yogurt and lemon mask every day could also lead to the negative effects of over-exfoliation.
- 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt
- ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice
- Mix yogurt and lemon in a small bowl
- Apply a thick layer to skin with a makeup brush or clean fingers
- Leave it on for 15 to 20 minutes
- Rinse away with warm water and pat dry
For best results, use this face mask up to three times per week. Because AHAs increase skin sensitivity to sunlight, apply this face mask in the evening rather than in the daytime.
- International Journal of Women’s Dermatology: “The Effect of Probiotics on Immune Regulation, Acne, and Photoaging”
- Molecules: “Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on Skin”
- The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology: "Topical Vitamin C and the Skin: Mechanisms of Action and Clinical Applications"