Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne: Does It Work?

Traditional medicine has been using apple cider vinegar to treat acne and other skin conditions for centuries, but this home-made natural beauty remedy is not for everybody and needs to be used carefully to avoid irritation. Keep reading to learn how to use apple cider vinegar for acne and to improve your complexion and keep a healthy skin.

Beauty Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

While some people swear by apple cider vinegar for weight loss, this article focuses on its uses as part of a skincare routine and not ingested as a nutritional supplement. However, if you can deal with the taste there are many people who swear by its properties to help lose weight and as a great source of potassium and other minerals.

As a skincare product, apple vinegar is full of amazing properties. It is a natural anti-inflammatory and can be used to refresh sunburnt skin, as it helps regenerate the acid protection of the skin. It is also naturally anti-bacterial, and as such great for acne-prone skin. You can even use it to treat warts (apply undiluted to a wart using a cotton ball, and then fasten the cotton over the wart. Leave it overnight and the wart will fall off thanks to the acidic properties of the vinegar. Repeat for a few days to ensure you got rid of the wart for good).

Apple vinegar is also used in hair care, as it’s a great hair rinse for shine. Mixed with rosemary it is said to keep hair from going white for longer. It has also been used to whiten teeth, though people with sensitive teeth or damaged enamel shouldn’t use vinegar for teeth whitening. As you can see, apple cider vinegar is full of beauty benefits!

How Does Apple Vinegar Work

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar (Photo credit: AndyRobertsPhotos)

Apple cider vinegar (or ACV for short) works by helping the skin regain its natural pH which is acidic in nature and protects the skin from external damage factors such as pollution or other harmful particulates in the air. It is also a powerful anti-inflammatory, which helps reduce the redness and irritation associated with acne.

Each time you wash your face, particularly if you use harsh soaps, you remove that acidic layer of protection, as soaps tend to be on the alkaline side. When the skin is unprotected, it reacts by producing more oils to try and protect itself, and oil makes the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. The result? Pimples, rashes, irritation and even dry patches.

Cider vinegar has an acidic pH that very closely resembles the idea pH factor for human skin, between 4.5 and 5.5, and as such it helps restore the balance and keep your skin protected. It also has antiseptic properties, which means it also helps dry out pimples and kill the harmful bacteria causing them. Organic, unpasteurized and unfiltered apple cider vinegar also contains enzymes and bacteria that help this process.

It is important to keep in mind that the benefits of ACV are not instantaneous. Over time, the skin condition will improve and, while it won’t fix a spot on time for an evening date, making an apple cider vinegar toner part of your routine can really make a difference.

Before You Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne

It may be tempting to just order a bottle of the stuff online and rush to apply it on your face, particularly when pimples appear at the worst possible time. However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind: ACV is NOT suitable for everybody!

  • If you have very sensitive skin, apple vinegar can irritate it further. Always do a patch test before rushing to use it
  • Apple cider vinegar toners can make your skin sensitive to sunlight, so don’t use it before hitting the pool
  • It stinks. There is nothing positive that can be said about the smell of ACV, and it will linger so don’t use it before going out if you don’t want to get some funny faces
  • Never apply undiluted vinegar to your face, it can be too aggressive and irritate your skin, making your pimples worse
  • If you have dry skin and acne then apple cider vinegar may not be for you as it can dry your face further. However, you can still use it to spot-treat stubborn pimples.

Each person’s skin is different and it will react differently to beauty treatments, so the best thing you can do is listen to it. Try applying a bit of diluted apple cider vinegar to your skin, and see how it reacts. If you get sensitivity or irritation, either try diluting it more or look for a different treatment for acne. Don’t just keep insisting on using it because you may just make things worse.

How To Use Apple Vinegar On Your Skin

There are many ways to use apple cider vinegar for skincare, but there are a few things that apply to all recipes:

  • Use organic apple vinegar, as it is full of enzymes and it has been less processed than the cooking versions you find at supermarkets. Get it from your local health store, or online
  • Apply it at night, this way it won’t cause sun sensitivity and nobody will ask you what is that funny smell the following morning

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

The easiest apple cider vinegar for acne recipe is without a doubt a vinegar toner. Just mix equal amounts of filtered water (or even mineral water, if you prefer) with organic apple cider vinegar, and shake well. 250ml of water and 250ml of ACV will last about a month.

You should start applying it every night before going to bed. Just soak a cotton pad on the mixture (shake well before each use), and apply it to your face making sure to stay well away from the eyes. If your skin gets irritated you can modify the recipe and add more water. For extra acne-fighting power, mix a bit of witch hazel in your toner.

Some people who have very tolerant skin use this mixture twice a day, or add more vinegar to the mix. You can also choose to sleep on it (if the smell doesn’t disturb you) or wash it off after 5 minutes. Just make sure you wash it off if irritation occurs.

The value of ACV is on the mother of vinegar, which is the grainy substance that sits at the bottom of the bottle which contains the bacteria that transform cider into vinegar. Regular “cooking” vinegar is filtered to remove it, so that’s why you need organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar for acne prone skin.

Apple Vinegar and Honey Face Mask

This 20 minutes face mask combines the anti-inflammatory properties of ACV and the antibacterial properties of honey to fight acne and reduce redness and inflammation. Perfect if your skin looks angry and spots are out of control.

Mix 1 tablespoon of honey, ½ tablespoon of cold-pressed virgin olive oil and 1 teaspoon of organic ACV. Mix well until you have a creamy consistency and apply to clear skin. Let it stay on your face for 20 minutes and rinse off with lukewarm water for nourished skin.

Other Uses of Apple Cider Vinegar

You can also use organic cider vinegar to give your hair shine and make it stronger. You can just give your hair a final rinse with a diluted version of the apple cider vinegar skin tonic (for example, 1 part vinegar to 6 parts cold water). The smell of this concoction is not particularly nice and if you are going to be with other people you may want to skip and do it only before going to bed.

Using apple cider vinegar for acne is not restricted to your face. You can also put a mix of equal parts vinegar and water into a spray bottle and use it to fight acne on your back, as it will help reduce the spots and make you feel refreshed in hot weather.

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