Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne

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Perpetual or sudden outbreaks of acne can be embarrassing and stressful for teens as well as adults. Although prescription and over-the-counter medicines can be used to treat acne, some people prefer a more natural method. Apple cider vinegar contains antibacterial properties and is known as a natural remedy for treating acne. However, scientific research hasn’t yet confirmed the efficacy of this approach. If you try an apple cider vinegar solution at home to treat acne, dilute the vinegar to prevent further skin complications.

Cider Vinegar

Vinegar can be made from anything containing sugar, including cider, according to The Vinegar Institute. During the conversion of cider to vinegar, microorganisms, including yeast, turn sugar’s carbohydrates into acetic acid. Bacteria called “acetobacter” convert the alcohol created from the processing of natural sugars of apples during an acid fermentation process that results in vinegar. Typically, vinegar contains vitamins and compounds including riboflavin, vitamin B-1 and mineral salts.

Intended Benefits

The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates was one of the first to recommend and incorporate vinegar for healing. Today, advocates of apple cider vinegar still believe the liquid contains healing properties, because of such beneficial ingredients as potassium, pectin, calcium, ash and acetic acid, according to certified clinical nutritionist Edward Group. Other beneficial ingredients include iron and copper, according to Columbia University’s Health Q & A Internet Service. In addition to using apple cider vinegar for acne, supporters believe cider vinegar can also alleviate heartburn and aid digestion. However, sufficient medical research does not support these claims as of yet.


Acne can emerge because of a variety of reasons, including hormones, hygiene, clogged pores or using heavy skin products, according to Kids Health. Acne might begin as swelling and redness of the skin, but become more severe if external bacteria is introduced. Whiteheads, blackheads and pimples may result. When people talk about using apple cider vinegar for acne, this implies a topical application of a diluted apple cider mixture to the skin using a cotton pad, according to holistic nutritionist Julie Gabriel. A sample dilution might include 5 Tbsp in a glass of water. Using undiluted cider vinegar can result in skin irritation.

Other Options

If you’re not having luck with apple cider vinegar for treating acne and would like to try other natural remedies before using traditional medicinal treatments, options include tea tree oil, glycolic acid and zinc supplements. Evidence about efficacy for treating acne is limited, according to doctor Lawrence Gibson of the Mayo Clinic, but some treatments may help reduce inflammation and breakouts. Tea tree oil may be as effective in some cases as topical solutions containing the common over-the-counter treatment benzoyl peroxide, but should not be used to treat rosacea acne. Zinc supplements reduce inflammation, and glycolic acid may help remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.