Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Does honey and lemon juice face wash really work?

Honey and lemon make a winning combination for your skin.
Honey and lemon make a winning combination for your skin.

When you're home sick with a cold or flu, there's nothing more soothing than a mug of tea garnished with a generous dollop of honey and a hefty slice of lemon. But the winning team formed by these simple, readily available ingredients can beat more than just your sniffles, according to natural skin-care experts.

If you make your own DIY face and body products, your at-home arsenal probably includes honey and lemon juice. A natural moisturizer and antiseptic, honey contains alpha hydroxy acids that exfoliate the skin as well as antioxidants that eliminate free radicals, says natural skin-care guru Susanna Miles. "The sugar, interestingly, hydrates your skin because it's a natural humectant," she explains.

Lemon juice, meanwhile, is packed with citric acid that kills acne-causing bacteria and exfoliates, Miles says. "It has enzymes that will actually help to clear away dead skin," she notes. "It's a great quick toner—combined with water—if you feel really dirty after a long day in the city." Lemons are also thought to fade away acne scars, even out the skin tone and fight shine [source: Oliver].

For Joanna Runciman, author of the site Actual Organics and The Radiant Woman's Handbook, there are few better facial cleansers than a simple blend of honey and lemon juice. Her personal recipe, which Runciman herself uses regularly, calls for two teaspoons of local honey, a teaspoon of lemon juice and a drop of pure lavender essential oil. Stored in a small pot, the homemade face wash will last for a few days.

"It is a genuinely natural cleanser, as odd as it might seem to cleanse with honey," Runciman says. After she washes with it, she reports, her skin looks brighter and cleaner without feeling taught.

If you wear foundation, consider a quick pre-wash with a deeper cleanser before you apply the honey and lemon juice, Runciman recommends. And Miles cautions that people with sensitive skin should avoid lemon juice, which may be too abrasive for them.

For more information on DIY and natural skin care, check out the links on the next page.