We know there are plenty of at-home skin remedies you can use to score a glowing completion. Praise Mother Nature’s dermatology skills. Turmeric for a little extra glow? Check. Avocado for a moisture boost? Mmmm. But what about apple cider vinegar for acne? It sounds a little weird (not to mention stinky) but some people swear by it. To get the facts on whether it will really help your skin, we asked a skin pro what you need to know before trying out apple cider vinegar for your acne.
First off, it’s not a scientifically-proven acne treatment—but that doesn’t mean it won’t work, says Sejal Shah, M.D., board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “While there haven’t been any scientific studies specifically evaluating apple cider vinegar for acne, the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has both antibacterial and keratolytic properties.” In other words, it has the potential to help zap your bumps from the source. (We also love this pimple mud from the Women’s Health Boutique to help zap pesky blemishes.)
However, you should be careful if you want to work apple cider vinegar into your acne-treatment routine. “Apple cider vinegar can be very irritating to the skin and can even cause chemical burns,” says Shah. “It should be diluted.” Before splashing your face for the first time, try out a test spot to make sure your skin won’t have an adverse reaction, she adds.
If you want to try it yourself, start by mixing one part vinegar with four parts water. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to dilute it even more—if it doesn’t bother you, you can try a stronger concentration of vinegar. Apply the mixture to your skin like a toner using a cotton ball. “I suggest leaving it on for for five to 15 minutes and then rinsing it off,” says Shah. “Start with one to three times a week and apply moisture afterwards.” The effects will only work topically, so taking a.m. shots of apple cider vinegar for acne improvement will probably just leave you with a bitter taste in your mouth.
The bottom line? Apple cider vinegar might work for your acne, but there’s also a risk it’s too harsh for many skin types. It might be best to stick to other tried-and-true acne-fighting methods.