How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne?

apple cider vinegar for acne

Can apple cider vinegar cure acne?  While apple cider vinegar doesn't have many direct studies, the compounds found in ACV may help treat and prevent acne when used right!

Raw, Organic apple cider vinegar is one of the most useful natural remedies on earth. There are thousands of uses, from creating your own DIY laundry detergent and helping with digestion to aromatherapy or detangling your hair and even curing acne. 

Although there are a lot of myths regarding apple cider vinegar for acne,  I've gone through various lists, reviewed whatever limited research is available, and curated from personal experience, to gather what I believe most beneficial uses for apple cider vinegar for acne with real science backing them up! 

Below are reasons why Apple cider vinegar could treat acne and ways to use it! 

Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne

  • Antibiotic properties
  • Helps balance the skin's PH level if skin is too alkaline
  • Antifungal properties
  • Acts as a chemical exfoliant
  • Supports digestive health 

Antibiotic and Antifungal Properties

Apple cider vinegar has a variety of acids like citric, lactic and acetic acids. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has antibacterial properties.  There is also a study that shows some acids like lactic acid and citric acid found in ACV can kill off acne causing bacteria. 

Apple cider vinegar is also shown to have anti-fungal properties by killing candida.  If you suspect your acne is not actually acne, but a fungal overgrowth - then apple cider vinegar may also be beneficial for fungal acne. 

Exfoliates Skin To Prevent Acne

The acids found in apple cider vinegar are all forms of alpha hydroxy acids.  These acids are able to exfoliate the uppermost layer of skin to remove pore clogging debris.  Regular exfoliation of skin promotes  smoother skin appearance, can help skin keep hydrated better, and can also improve the look of dark marks from acne.    

Balances PH

Apple cider vinegar has potential to balance the skin pH. Skin's optimal pH is usually between 4.5 to 5.75 which is slightly acidic. Why does the skin pH matter? 
"The skin’s barrier is slightly acidic for a reason: to keep moisture in and bacteria out, dermatologist Dr. Karcher says.  This is because a pH averaging just below 5 helps keep the skin's natural flora and microbiome healthy and the natural flora dissapears when skin surface pH turns alkaline. 
If the skin pH starts to get too high and alkaline based, then skin will begin to look more red and irritated.  This could cause more issues with acne and eczema. Since ACV has an acidic ph, applying it diluted on skin may help balance out an alkaline skin pH to heal acne. 

Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne

As A Facial Toner

Apple cider vinegar not only balances your skins pH levels for glowing skin, but it also gently exfoliates by removing dead skin and stimulating skin turnover. It is ideal for those who deal with skin conditions such as acne or scarring because the lactic and malic acids in the apple cider vinegar work to kill bacteria and exfoliate skin to prevent pores from becoming clogged and inflamed. 

can create your own DIY facial toner by mixing ¼ witch hazel, ¼ apple cider vinegar, ½ water/.   Witch hazel will reduce inflammation and soothe irritation.  

After using this as a toner, follow up with your favorite moisturizer after!

As a digestion cocktail

Apple cider vinegar is a powerhouse when it comes to digestion. Gut health can be linked to skin health and acne. If your digestion issues are due to lack of stomach acid production or certain bacterial overgrowth, then it could help with bloat, intestinal inflammation, and delays the emptying of the stomach; all allowing for increased nutrient absorption. It is also considered a prebiotic, which is a source of food for beneficial bacteria. Maintaining the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in your gut is optimal for keeping your digestive system healthy.


Always dilute it first with
 water. (Ratio is 1 ACV:4 parts of water), make sure you don't feel burning when you try this - some people may have the opposite gut issue where their stomach is producing TOO much acid and adding apple cider vinegar could exacerbate symptoms.  Add some ginger for extra taste and digestion benefits. Drinking a warm glass of water with 1-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of freshly juiced ginger will give your digestion the kick start it needs (plus it tastes great!)

In a face mask

If the toner diluted with water is still too strong for you, you can mix part of apple cider vinegar with water with a teaspoon of clay like bentonite clay and wash it off after 10-15 minutes.  Since you wash it off, it may be more gentle for the skin and bentonite clay is great for absorbing excess oils too. 


Though apple cider vinegar may not have many direct studies on it, that doesn't mean that it doesn't work and for some people it could help work wonders on acne!  While it does need to be diluted before use to prevent adverse reactions, it is in general a safe option to try for acne.  If you plan on using this home remedy for treating acne, it’s best to dilute it first with water or do a patch test before applying it on the skin.



Long term topical application of lactic acid/lactate lotion as a preventive treatment for acne vulgaris: 

Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression:

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