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Can You Cure Your Acne With Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider, or the
unfiltered juice from pressed apples.

It has a variety of uses and has become increasingly popular in
the natural health community. It’s believed to have many

health benefits
, including lower blood sugar levels,

weight loss
and a reduced risk of cancer.

Some even claim it may have benefits for acne, but there is
very little research available. This article takes a closer
look.

Apple Cider Vinegar in a Small Bottle

It May Kill Acne-Causing Bacteria

Vinegar is well known for its ability to kill many types of
bacteria and viruses (1, 2, 3).

In fact, it has been shown to reduce the numbers of some
bacteria by 90% and certain viruses by 95% (4, 5).

A type of bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes,
or P. acnes, contributes to the development of acne.

While there isn’t much research on the ability of apple cider
vinegar to fight P. acnes, there are a few studies on
the organic acids it contains.

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic, citric, lactic and
succinic acid, all of which have been shown to kill P.
acnes
(6, 7).

In one study, 22 people applied lactic acid lotion to their
faces twice a day for one year. Most of them experienced a
significant reduction in acne, while only two people
experienced less than a 50% improvement (8).

Based on the results of these studies, it’s possible that
applying apple cider vinegar to your skin can control
acne-causing bacteria, but more research is needed.

Bottom Line: The organic acids found in
apple cider vinegar may help kill acne-causing bacteria.
However, more research is needed on apple cider vinegar
specifically.

It May Reduce the Appearance of Scarring

Apple Cider Vinegar in a Decanter

Even after acne heals, it can cause skin discoloration and
scarring.

When applied directly to the skin, some of the organic acids
found in apple cider vinegar have been shown to help with this.

The process of applying organic acids to the skin is often
referred to as “chemical peeling.”

The acids remove the damaged, outer layers of the skin and
promote regeneration.

Specifically, chemical peeling with succinic acid has been
shown to suppress inflammation caused by P. acnes,
which may help prevent scarring (9).

Lactic acid has also been shown to improve the texture,
pigmentation and appearance of the skin in individuals with
superficial acne scars (10, 11).

While studies on organic acids show promising results, more
studies are needed to explore the effects of apple cider
vinegar on scarring.

Bottom Line: Acne can cause skin
discoloration and scarring. When applied directly to the
skin, the organic acids in apple cider vinegar may reduce the
appearance of scars.

Applying It to Your Skin Can Cause Burns

Apple cider vinegar is strongly acidic by nature. Because of
this, it may cause burns when applied directly to the skin
(12, 13).

In most cases, burns occur after apple cider vinegar has been
in contact with the skin for long periods of time. Shorter
periods of skin contact are less likely to cause burns.

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In order to prevent skin damage, apple cider vinegar should be
used in small amounts and diluted with
water
.

You should also avoid using apple cider vinegar on sensitive
skin and open wounds, as it’s more likely to cause pain or skin
damage in those cases.

If you apply apple cider vinegar to your skin and feel a
burning sensation, try diluting it with more water. If it still
burns, you may want to stop using it.

Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar is very
acidic. Applying it directly to your skin may be irritating
or cause burns.

Should You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Acne?

A Glass and a Bottle of Apple Cider Vinegar and Some Apples

Apple cider vinegar contains organic acids that may help kill
the bacteria that cause acne.

It may also help reduce the appearance of scars.

However, studies on this are inconclusive, and some cases of
severe acne require a more rigorous treatment plan.

Furthermore, applying apple cider vinegar directly to the skin
can cause skin damage and burns, especially for those with
sensitive skin or open wounds.

Because of this, it may cause more harm than good in
individuals with acne.

Bottom Line: When applied topically, apple
cider vinegar may help control acne-causing bacteria and
reduce the appearance of scars. However, it may not work for
those with severe cases of acne.

How to Treat Acne With Apple Cider Vinegar

Due to its high acidity, apple cider vinegar should be diluted
before it’s applied to the skin. Here are some simple steps you
can follow:

  1. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 3 three parts water (if
    you have sensitive skin, you may want to use more water).
  2. Cleanse your face with mild face wash and pat dry.
  3. Using a cotton ball, gently apply the mixture to the
    affected skin.
  4. Let sit for 5–20 seconds, rinse with water and pat dry.
  5. Repeat this process 1–2 times per day.

Additionally, use organic apple cider vinegar that contains
“the mother.” This is the cloudy substance that typically sinks
to the bottom of the bottle.

It contains proteins, enzymes and beneficial bacteria that are
responsible for most of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits.

For this reason, apple cider vinegar with “the mother” may
provide more benefits than the filtered and refined varieties.

Bottom Line: Apple cider vinegar should be
diluted with water before being applied to the skin. Using it
1–2 times per day may help with acne.

Take Home Message

The organic acids in apple cider vinegar may help kill the
bacteria that cause acne.

They may also help reduce the appearance of scars.

However, the few studies that exist on this topic are
inconclusive, and apple cider vinegar might not work for
everyone.

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