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Eau de citron et peau grasse.

Lemon water for oily skin?

Lemon water is a natural ingredient that is attributed with sebum-regulating and purifying properties. Indeed, it is often incorporated into skincare treatments for oily skin. But what does the scientific literature say on this matter?

Published February 14, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 4 min read

What does it mean to have oily skin?

A skin is referred to as oily when it exhibits a shiny and glossy appearance throughout the day. This aspect is due to an excess of sebum present on the epidermis. While the synthesis of sebum by the sebaceous glands is necessary to keep the skin hydrated and protected, an overproduction, known as hyperseborrhoea, however, has detrimental consequences. Indeed, this phenomenon is likely to cause the obstruction of skin pores and the appearance of imperfections. Although hyperseborrhoea can be multifactorial, the reasons are often endogenous. Notably, heredity or hormonal variations appearing at puberty can be cited.

Lemon water or lemon hydrosol.

Lemon water is a colourless liquid obtained through the condensation of water vapour in a still, during the extraction of essential oil. Although not as concentrated as the essential oil obtained through distillation, the lemon hydrosol still possesses several interesting properties for the skin and the hair thanks to its composition.

Lemon hydrosol possesses the characteristic scent common to all citrus derivatives. Fruity and refreshing, its aroma makes it a choice ingredient for perfumes and skincare treatments.

Please note : one should not confuse lemon juice and lemon hydrosol. The former is highly acidic and extremely photosensitising, due to its high concentration of furocoumarins. On the other hand, lemon water is a gentle treatment suitable even for pregnant or breastfeeding women and young children.

What is the effect of lemon hydrosol on oily skin?

Lemon water is often attributed with several beneficial properties for those with oily skin. Indeed, some sources suggest that this ingredient may have sebum-regulating and astringent properties, and that it could help to refine the skin's texture. Furthermore, lemon hydrosol is believed to have a purifying effect on blemishes. However, it is important to note that to date, no scientific study has demonstrated that the application of lemon hydrosol has visible beneficial effects on oily skin.

If you have oily skin, we recommend you to consider the following active ingredients, which have mattifying and purifying properties that have been scientifically proven.

  • Azelaic Acid : Derived from oleic acid or through the fermentation of cereal grain seeds, this active ingredient acts on sebum by breaking down the free fatty acids that make up its composition. It also has an exfoliating effect and removes dead cells present on the skin's surface.

  • Salicylic Acid : it is recognised for its anti-inflammatory and purifying virtues. Moreover, this active ingredient is astringent and its topical application contributes to refining the skin texture.

  • Zinc : This trace element possesses anti-androgenic activity, which enables it to reduce sebum production by the sebaceous glands. It also has mattifying and anti-inflammatory properties.


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