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Eau de citron et peau terne.

Lemon water to give a healthy glow to dull skin?

Lemon water is a natural ingredient that is often attributed with lightening and depigmenting properties. Indeed, it is frequently stated that its topical application can provide a "healthy glow" effect. In this article, we delve into the scientific literature to separate fact from fiction.

Published February 14, 2024, by Pauline, Head of Scientific Communication — 5 min read

Dull complexion: what causes it?

A dull skin, lacking radiance and with imperfections can result from the accumulation of dead cells on its surface, when the skin's natural cell renewal lacks efficiency. The skin then becomes less smooth and does not reflect light properly, resulting in a less luminous complexion. Several factors can be at play.

  • Fatigue or lifestyle hygiene.

    When the body is weakened, due to fatigue or an unbalanced diet, it is not uncommon to observe a slowdown in various biological processes, including cellular renewal. The skin's exfoliation becomes less efficient and dead cells accumulate on its surface.

  • Pollution.

    The impurities that accumulate throughout the day on the skin can prevent it from "breathing" and mix with sweat, sebum, or existing makeup, giving the skin a dull, grayish appearance.

  • Inadequate skin cleansing.

    It is recommended to cleanse your skin once or twice a day depending on its type. This action will help remove impurities present on its surface and will subsequently facilitate the application of other following treatments. We also advise you to perform one or two exfoliations per week in order to remove dead cells and unclog pores.

A closer look at lemon hydrosol.

Lemon water is a colorless liquid obtained by the condensation of water vapor in a still during the extraction of its essential oil. Although not as concentrated as the essential oil, lemon hydrosol still has several interesting properties for the skin and hair due to its composition. Lemon hydrosol has a characteristic scent common to all citrus derivatives. Fruity and refreshing, its aroma makes it a choice ingredient for perfumes and skincare. From a biochemical perspective, lemon hydrosol contains limonene, alpha and beta-pinenes, geranial, linalool, and traces of vitamin C and flavonoids.

Note : It is important not to confuse lemon juice and lemon hydrosol. The former is very acidic and extremely photosensitizing, 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.

Does lemon water have a glowing effect on the face?

Several sources claim that lemon water possesses intriguing properties, among them, the ability to provide a "healthy glow" effect. Indeed, lemon hydrosol is attributed with lightening and depigmenting effects. According to some sources, its application on the face could restore radiance and even out the complexion. However, it is important to note that to date, no scientific study has demonstrated a direct link between the application of lemon hydrosol and a brighter complexion.

In fact, the idea that lemon water is a complexion-enhancing ingredient comes from its composition. It indeed contains traces of vitamin C, a compound known for its brightening properties. Its mechanism of action is based on the inhibition of tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine into melanin. However, the amount of vitamin C contained in a lemon hydrosol is very low, and is probably insufficient to induce a real effect. Therefore, it is recommended to combine it with a treatment containing more vitamin C to achieve results.

To combat dull skin, you can also turn to active ingredients with keratolytic properties, such as glycolic acid. This fruit-derived exfoliant indeed helps to renew the skin surface, giving it a radiant glow. At Typology, we have incorporated it into our peeling mask. Applied one to two evenings a week, it removes dead cells to unclog pores and refine skin texture.


  • FEILY A. & al. Skin wound healing and phytomedicine: a review. Skin pharmacology and physiology (2014).


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