Plant Extracts , Fragrance: Synthetic and Fragrant Plant Extracts , Irritants , Antibacterial/Anti-Acne

Citrus fruit that’s a potent skin sensitizer and irritant. Although it can have antibacterial properties, the irritation can hurt skin’s immune response. [1]

The juice from lemon is often touted as being a natural option for lightening brown spots or “bleaching” skin. The truth is that lemon juice is highly acidic (has a very low pH of 2) and exceedingly irritating to skin. Lemon juice applied to skin can cause what’s known as a phytophotodermatitis (PPD) on exposure to sunlight. The symptoms can range from a red rash to brown discolorations, which is ironic given that many people, mistakenly, turn to lemon juice to lighten brown spots. The PPD is due to a volatile fragrance chemical known as limonene, which is abundant in lemon juice. Lemon, whether in juice or oil form, is a must to avoid in cosmetics. [1]

References Cited:

  1. Matura M, Goossens A, Bordalo O, Garcia-Bravo B, Magnusson K, Wrangsjö K, Karlberg A. Oxidized citrus oil (R-limonene): a frequent skin sensitizer in Europe. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2002;47(5):709-14.

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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