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Lemon to get rid of brown spots on the skin?

Brown spots are a sign of ageing that typically appear on the hands and face. Their prominence can vary from person to person. Certain natural ingredients have the ability to fade these types of spots. Is lemon one of them? This article provides some answers.

Published February 22, 2024, by Manon, Scientific Editor — 4 min read

How are brown spots formed?

A brown spot is an accumulation of melanin, a pigment found in the skin as well as in hair, produced during melanogenesis. This pigment is usually distributed evenly and typically appears after prolonged exposure to the sun. However, in some cases, the production of melanin is excessive, a condition referred to as hyperpigmentation. This imbalance can occur, for example, when the skin is exposed to UV rays without protection or due to the use of certain photosensitising medications.

The brown spots can also be the result of skin ageing. With age, the skin is no longer able to fully protect itself from external aggressions. Free radicals, reactive species of oxygen, attack the nuclei of melanocytes and the mitochondria. We observe a dysfunction of the melanocytes which overproduce melanin which is the cause of brown spots also known as "age spots". It should be noted that UV rays are the main cause of premature ageing of the epidermis.

Depending on skin sensitivity, brown spots typically appear between the ages of 45 and 50, but sometimes as early as 30 years old.

Does lemon help in treating brown spots?

Before resorting to cosmetic options, there is nothing better than natural remedies to reduce or remove brown spots. Incorporated into depigmenting treatments, lemon is the quintessential natural anti-spot care.

Indeed, lemon contains hesperidin, a flavonoid, as well as vitamin C (ascorbic acid). It has been demonstrated that these compounds possess antioxidant activity and are capable of reducing melanin production by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine into melanin, thereby reducing pigmentation.

How to use it?

We advise against applying lemon directly to your skin. Due to its acidic pH (2-3), which is significantly lower than the physiological pH of the skin, ranging between 4.7 and 5.75, it can be irritating to the skin. Furthermore, lemon is composed of photosensitising molecules, such as furocoumarins, which increase the skin's sensitivity to UV rays. In fact, furocoumarins have the ability to interact with DNA, causing damage to skin cells and inflammation. If you apply lemon juice to your skin before exposing it to the sun, redness, swelling, and blisters may occur.

For these reasons, we advise you to opt for targeted serums against hyperpigmentation containing lemon extracts, which are precisely dosed to avoid irritation issues. At Typology, we have designed a hyperpigmentation serum with 2% Alpha Arbutin + lemon extract. Like certain components of lemon, Alpha Arbutin (INCI: Alpha-Arbutin) is a molecule that inhibits melanin synthesis by blocking the activity of the skin's tyrosinase enzyme, responsible for the formation of pigment spots. This serum is suitable for all skin types presenting pigment spots.


HANIF N. & al. Plant-based skin lightening agents: A review. The Journal of Phytopharmacology (2020).


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