Article by Kim Van Tussenbroek from Colour Me Bronze Professional
Please… never ever tell your clients to use lemon directly on the skin!
Lemon juice is definitely something that you should avoid placing directly on the skin for a number of reasons.
Firstly, it is extremely acidic so it has a pH level of 2 (the skin’s natural pH level sits at around 5 to 5.5), hence why it stings when you apply it to the skin. Lemon juice will mess with the natural pH levels of the acid mantle. The acid mantle of the skin is very important and degrading or irritating the acid mantle of the skin can lead to problems. The acid mantle also keeps your pH levels in check, so doing damage to the acid mantle of the skin will throw everything out of whack.
Secondly, when using lemon juice on the skin you are basically using a light chemical peel. As well as stinging the skin, the lemon juice can dry out the skin and also make the skin photosensitive. People who are photosensitive may develop skin rashes or burns, even after limited or no exposure to the sun. Basically this means when you are out in the sun/daylight the irritation can increase, possibly to the point of chemical burns.
Thirdly, the citric acid content in the lemons can also differ from lemon to lemon so you will never really know how strong it will be when it is placed on your skin.
I’m not really a fan of using baking soda either. It is really too harsh for the skin and can also damage the acid mantle, making the skin more alkaline than acidic. It can tear up the skin and then strip it of its first line of defence against bacterial infection.
If you are looking for something on the ‘home-made’ route, I’ve heard that blending a bit of pineapple with plain unsweetened yogurt works. Apply it like a paste on the skin and the combination of the lactic acid and fruit enzymes will gently exfoliate your skin. Also milk in combination with an exfoliating glove works well as an exfoliant due to the lactic acid in the milk.