When it comes to fruit, lemons seem to get a bad rap. Although they may not be a favorite for fruit salads or candy flavors, lemons are a staple on my weekly shopping list for a very good reason. Once I discovered just how many health and household benefits it provides, they quickly became a prized item for me. There are several good uses for lemon but these six are my most frequently utilized ones.
1. Lemon juice is a natural beauty enhancer. Spot treating acne with some lemon on a Q-Tip is a widely known trick for combating zits by helping it to kill bacteria and dry up the oils causing the breakout. And, just as good as it is to use topically, its extremely healthy to incorporate it into your diet to help combat weight gain, control high blood pressure, give hair and skin a vibrant glow and can fade scars or dark spots. You can also use lemon to alleviate the effects of sunburn. Since I incorporated lemon juice into my diet each day, I’ve seen a dramatic difference in my skin. I don’t break out as much and there is a noticeable glow. Try replacing your morning coffee with a cup of hot water, fresh lemon and honey. Not only will you get a kick of vitamin-C, but it tastes great and will hydrate your skin.
2. The 60 second tooth whitener. Lemon is a powerful cleanser and with just a smidge of baking soda and a squirt of lemon juice, you’ve got your own homemade remedy for coffee stained teeth. Alternatively, you can squeeze a drop of lemon onto your toothpaste before you brush. As a side note, lemon juice is extremely acidic so be aware of any burning or sensitivity and be sure not to brush for more than a minute or so! Lemon also stops gum bleeding & fights halitosis –AKA stinky breath. Here’s a tip: when on a date, always order a slice of lemon in your water and when the meal is over, take a healthy little suckle on it. It will work better and quicker to clean and deodorize your breath than any stick of gum would!
3. Nutritious & delicious! There are a ton of health benefits to drinking lemon but the most important ones to me are the incredible source of nutritious components inside (vitamin C, vitamin B, proteins and carbohydrates), it’s powerful flu fighting properties, it’s ability to flush toxins from the body, prevent diabetes and aid in digestion. As mentioned, I love juicing a fresh lemon in the morning and adding it to fresh brewed tea with local honey, which happens to also be good for allergies or sore throats. Or, try adding lemons and fresh mint to a jug of cool water for a revitalizing, healthy beverage – *vodka optional.
4. All natural hair-apy. For those that suffer from dry scalp and dandruff, lemon oil has been shown to reduce or eliminate the symptoms associated with this frustrating issue. You can try making your own concoction using a bit of coconut oil, lemon juice, and honey. Subsequently, when I was a kid there was a product called Sun In, anyone remember it? Well, you can basically garner the same effects of natural highlights by streaking lemon juice in your hair and laying out in the sun for some time. It was a weekend ritual for us girls, especially during the summer months, so I can vouch for it’s golden aftermath.
5. Safe & non-toxic cleanser. Not only is lemon juice great for cleaning out toxins and bacteria in your body, but it’s a powerful substitute for all those chemical-filled household products. Use lemon juice to clean grout, stains, rust, or those grimy cutting boards. I always toss my used lemon peels in the garbage disposal to help keep it clean and make the kitchen smell extra fresh!
6. Make a sugar scrub!
This is probably the most fun use of lemon. Make a scrub that you can use all over your body and face! You’d pay a pretty penny to have an all organic scrub like this at any spa, so why not pamper yourself a little. You can use the same scrub to remove callouses, moisturize skin, cleanse your face, use as a lip scrub or even slather it on some sliced apples for dessert because, it’s all natural! All you need is four simple ingredients to complete your sugar scrub recipe: lemon, brown sugar, coconut oil and honey. Of course there are a ton of other recipes you can try (and I recommend you do), but these four are the most important when making a proper scrub for all-over body use.
As I mentioned earlier, lemon cleanses, lightens scars or sun spots, brightens complexion and tightens pores. The brown sugar acts as a gentle scrub to help slough off dead skin and contains a natural source of glycolic acid, helping to rid your skin of bacteria all while costing much less than your local microdermabrasion clinic. Please note that although any sugar can work for this recipe, I chose brown sugar because the crystals tend to be much smaller and more gentle on your skin, especially the face. If you haven’t tried coconut oil in a scrub yet, here’s a couple reasons why you should. Coconut oil contains vitamin E, leaving skin moisturized and protected. It is also rich in useful proteins which helps the skin to repair and heal, as well as act as an anti-aging formula. One last merit for coconut oil is that it doesn’t go rancid for a very long time so it should preserve your yummy concoctions until you’ve finished using them. (Tip: Look for organic cold pressed, unrefined, chemical free coconut oil. This is the healthiest.) Last but certainly not least is the honey. Honey is not only a delicious distraction while making your scrub but it has been widely known to be an anti-fungal, specifically to acne-prone skin. This nectar of the gods is also a natural humectant, keeping moisture locked into the skin and giving you a glowing, hydrated complexion.
Now that you have the ingredients, let’s talk about preparing it! You may very well use your own discretion to eyeball out the amount you’d prefer to make a scrub suited to your preference but here’s a guideline for your convenience. Mix these all together very well until you get the consistency you’re looking for and voila! It takes no time and you’ve got yourself a top notch skin care product. This recipe is just right for me but feel free to go heavier or lighter on each ingredient if you wish for a silkier or more abrasive scrub. Enjoy!
- 1/2 Fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
- 1 tbsp organic local honey
Photography by Desirée Anderson