Does lemon juice really get rid of freckles?

Girl with freckles, lemon slice in background.
Skin Problems Image Gallery Lemon juice may not get rid of your freckles completely, but it can cause them to fade. See more pictures of skin problems.

It's possible to do a lot more than just make a drink with lemon juice. You can use it to sanitize a counter top, brighten white loads of laundry, and, believe it or not, you can even use it to treat freckles. It won't actually get rid of freckles, but lemon juice is a strong fruit acid, and it works well as a bleaching agent. Similar to the way people use it to highlight streaks of hair during the summer, lemon juice can lighten to your skin.

Some people are born with freckles, and others develop them after years of sun exposure. Since they're common and almost always harmless, there's not usually any health reason to treat freckles. If you don't want to live with them, however, you don't have to. To fade them out, go to the store and buy some lemons -- or, if you don't like squeezing them yourself, just buy lemon juice, but make sure it's pure. Artificial ingredients and flavorings won't work as well.


Once you've got the juice, all you have to do is apply it to your freckles. A cotton ball or a paintbrush should work. After a few months of continued application, your freckles should begin to fade.

While lemon juice can be effective at fading freckles, any progress you make can be completely undone by a few days in the sun without any protection. So, if you want to keep those freckles away, you need to wear sunscreen. You'll also need to keep applying lemon juice to maintain your results, as it's only a temporary solution [source: Cuming]. If you're looking for something more permanent, you may want to look into laser removal. It can be fast and effective, but it's the more expensive option [source: Bernstein].

See the links on the next page for lots more information on freckles and skin care.


Lots More Information

Related HowStuffWorks Articles

  • Bernstein, Dr. Eric F. "Freckle Removal." The Patient's Guide. (Sept. 23, 2009)
  • Cuming, Angela & Kristie Lau. "Mythbusting beauty." The Sydney Morning Herald. January 13, 2009. (Sept. 23, 2009)
  • Real Simple. "10 New Uses for Lemon." (Sept. 23, 2009)