Apple cider vinegar for acne: how it works and should you use it?

apple cider vinegar for acne treatment

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is suggested by a few natural remedies websites for acne treatment. They claim that Apple cider vinegar is so great for curing acne because it rebalances the natural acidity to our skin. It is also supposed to kill bacteria, remove excess dirt, oil, and makeup and dissolve dead skin cells. A quick Internet search pulls up thousands of pages of information saying apple cider vinegar can do everything: lower blood pressure, rev up metabolism, soothe heartburn, and banish warts. Is this all true?

What is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting apple cider, or the unfiltered juice from pressed apples. The word vinegar comes from the Latin words Vinum (wine) and Acer (sour) and in essence, vinegar is just that: sour wine.

How is Apple Cider Vinegar made?

It is made by crushing apples and squeezing out the liquid. Bacteria and yeast are then added to the liquid to start the alcoholic fermentation process, and the sugars are turned into alcohol. In a second fermentation step, the alcohol is converted into vinegar by acetic acid-forming bacteria.

What is Apple Cider Vinegar with "The Mother"?

"The mother," it this type of the apple cider vinegar that still has the remains of beneficial bacteria and acids that turns regular apple cider into vinegar in the first place. Unrefined vinegars with a mother have a murky appearance. Clear and pasteurized vinegars typically do not contain the mother culture and are supposed to be less beneficial as natural remedies.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar kill acne bacteria?

There is actually no clinical research that shows that ACV kills the bacteria known as Propionibacterium acnes, or P. acnes, that contributes to the development of acne. A couple of scientific studies have studied the effect of Apple cider vinegar on bacteria. The results of these studies proved that Apple cider vinegar in a very high concentration of more than 25% could kill bacteria. Yeasts, especially Candida were found to be less susceptible. Unfortunately, Apple cider vinegar exhibited toxicity to human cells at concentrations as low as 0.7%.

Does Apple Cider Vinegar help with comedones?

Most probably not. Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid, not the acne-fighting BHAs and AHA (salicylic acid or glycolic acid).

Can Apple Cider Vinegar clear up acne?

The short answer is NO. It actually can damage your skin in multiple ways. In fact, there are many reasons why you should not use apple cider vinegar for acne. Here are just a few.
If you apply apple cider vinegar on your skin, undiluted, it will cause a nasty burn. Even when diluted in water, it is strong enough to cause chemical burns in most people that use it.

Is ACV effective against Acne?

Apple cider vinegar fans say that it works on acne by killing bacteria. This may be true in the lab, at skin toxic concentrations. Diluted, normal apple cider vinegar will usually do nothing to your acne bacteria.

What are the possible side effects of apple cider vinegar used for acne treatment?

Apple cider vinegar is strongly acidic by nature. Because of this, it may cause burns when applied directly to the skin. The proponents of the use of ACV suggest 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.

apple cider vinegar used for acne treatment

How does apple cider vinegar smells?

It Stinks. Some people compare its smell to sweaty gym socks. A problem when you are considering a long-term product to treat your acne.

Will drinking apple cider vinegar help my acne?

Unfortunately, not. Apple cider vinegar has no nutritional value, aside from some calories, with all other nutrients at negligible levels. On the other hand, ACV can damage the enamel of your teeth, and if ingested undiluted it can cause damage your whole gastrointestinal tract starting with your esophagus and stomach.


Just because a treatment is "natural" does not mean it is useful or even safe. It's important to be cautious when making your acne treatment. Current study results and the common sense, show that the risk of using apple cider is bigger than its advantage. If you need to control your acne, it’s better to stick to proven medical grade products such as MDacne or the one prescribed by Dermatologists in their offices.

Image callout

Start your journey
to clear skin

  • Custom acne treatment cream, cleanser and moisturizer
  • Unlimited Dermatologist support
  • Ongoing skin monitoring