What Are The Disadvantages of Lemon Juice on Hair? Can The Acid Be Too Much?

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Lemon juice contains citric acid, which is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and other minerals. While it is loved for its bitter flavor, it has some valuable benefits to the skin, body, and hair.

We know that lemon juice has countless benefits for hair. But what are some of its disadvantages to hair?  


What Are Some Of The Disadvantages Of Lemon Juice On Hair?

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it cannot manipulate your hair. Here are some of lemon juice’s most well-known side effects on the hair.

1. It May Cause Skin Irritation

While lemon juice can help treat dandruff and dry scalp, using lemon on hair can cause skin irritation and itchiness. This is because the citric acid in the lemon juice is very strong.

Therefore, you’ll want to use caution here, especially if suffering from a sensitive scalp, eczema, or psoriasis. 

It can also strip away natural oils from your scalp, making dandruff more frequent. You should discontinue using lemon juice on your hair if you experience redness, increased irritation, and itchiness.

2. Loss Of Original Hair Color

High amounts of citric acid in lemons can cause adverse chemical reactions, especially on lighter hair. As a result, your hair will likely lose its original color, becoming lighter during the process. Your hair strands appear yellow, losing their natural shiny texture. 

Lots of people love this, and use lemon as a natural bleach alternative! However, the color change might be difficult to predict, especially if you’ve recently treated your hair with chemical dye or henna.

Regardless, the color change is usually permanent. 

Lots of people love this, and use lemon as a natural bleach alternative!

3. Hair Shrinkage

Hair shrinkage is probably the biggest disadvantage of lemon juice on the hair. It can cause your hair cuticles to close, preventing water and moisture from penetrating your hair strands.

While shrinking might not be a major problem, consistent shrinkage could damage your hair strands. 

4. Can Lead to Breakages

Lemon juice is essentially citric acid. When used on hair, citric acid from lemon juice might cause the keratin layer to peel off. Additionally, it may break the protein layer on the scalp’s surface. The function of the protein layer is to strengthen the hair strands.

Without it, the hair weakens, leading to breakages. Similarly, reactions on the protein layer directly interfere with the hair growth process. 

You may want to try adding keratin treatments to counteract the lemon.

5. It May Make Your Hair More Sun-Sensitive

Lemon juice might cause Phytophotodermatitis, a contact reaction to certain plant chemicals. Phytophotodermatitis has no effects on hair strands but can damage your scalp. Photodermatitis especially occurs if you expose your scalp to extreme sunlight after lemon juice treatment. 

Symptoms of photodermatitis include blisters, inflammation, and dark spots on the skin.

These symptoms can last for several weeks if not treated. In addition, prolonged exposure to the sun after applying lemon juice to hair might damage the hair cuticles.

How To Use Lemon Juice Without Damaging Your Hair

Lemon juice is a good natural hair treatment. Nevertheless, you should apply it carefully to avoid damaging your scalp and hair.

You can safely treat your hair with lemon juice without damaging or breaking it. Here are some important straightforward tips to consider.

You can safely treat your hair with lemon juice without damaging or breaking it.

1. Dilute concentrated lemon juice

If you have a sensitive scalp, avoid high concentrations of citric as this can burn your scalp. Dilute your concentrated lemon juice before applying it to your hair.

Always ensure you apply lemon juice in the right amounts and concentration. Always moisturize your hair after cleansing with lemon juice.

2. Do a patch test

A patch test helps prevent foreseeable phytophotodermatitis. You can do a patch test by applying some lemon juice you intend to use on a hidden part of your skin.

Monitor the reaction and determine if it is safe to apply on your hair and scalp. 

3. Add other ingredients

Although fresh lemon can work well on hair when used properly, adding some ingredients will add extra protection. Combining lemon juice with almond oil, coconut oil, and honey will increase hair growth and reduce hair loss and dandruff.

4. Avoid too much exposure to the sun

You should avoid prolonged exposure to the sun after treating your hair with lemon juice. This is because citric acid contained in the lemon juice can react when exposed to sunlight, causing scalp irritation. You may use sunscreens on the exposed parts of the scalp when spending so much time in the sun. 

You can also consider rinsing your hair using sun-protective conditioners before lemon treatment. This will not only protect your scalp from sun- damage but will also prevent your hair from fading.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).