If you’re over the age of 25 and still dealing with problem skin (hey, me too!), chances are you’ve heard of using apple cider vinegar for acne. ACV is a unicorn in the natural beauty world and the benefits of apple cider vinegar for the face are plentiful. It has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. Raw, unpasteurized ACV is loaded with probiotics, vitamins and minerals. Plus it’s high in acetic acid which helps unclog pores and slough away dead skin cells.
Whether you suffer from acne or simply have a few pesky pimples during that time of the month, here’s how to use apple cider vinegar for better-looking skin.
Apple Cider for Acne
Apple cider vinegar is really just apple juice fermented with yeast and other helpful bacteria. The fermentation process results in a variety of compounds, nutrients and probiotics that make ACV a must-have in most natural medicine cabinets. But it’s only the raw, unpasteurized vinegar that has magical properties. It is believed that the “mother,” the strands of protein, enzymes and bacteria that give raw ACV a murky appearance, is the source of apple cider vinegar’s health benefits.
When it comes to skin, however, ACV’s high concentration of acetic acid is king. Our skin is naturally acidic. But with repeated use of harsh creams and cleansers, we can disrupt the delicate acid mantle, which protects skin from germs, bacteria and pollution. One of the things that makes apple cider vinegar so great is that it restores skin’s pH balance and helps repair the acid mantle. It also kills bacteria, removes excess dirt, oil and makeup and dissolves dead skin cells.
In addition, it’s said to:
- Help reduce age spots
- Fight acne and shrink blemishes
- Balance skin pH
- Smooth wrinkles
- Remove toxins
- Improve skin texture
While it’s true that a lot of ACV’s skin benefits aren’t backed by science (yet), a huge amount of anecdotal evidence means that it’s at least worth giving a try.
Here are 3 ways to use to clear up problem skin or even just shrink pores and even out skin tone.
3 Ways to Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne
1. Face Wash
Washing your face with ACV helps remove oil, dirt and gunk from pores. And because it’s used along with soap and quickly rinsed off, you won’t be overpowered by the smell.
Combine a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with your regular face wash. Massage into skin, then rinse as usual. Or to make things even simpler, choose a store-bought face wash that already contains ACV.
Applying ACV after cleansing can help remove stubborn dirt and grease and tighten pores. It’s usually recommended that you don’t apply undiluted ACV to skin because it might burn you or make problem skin worse. But I apply it straight all the time (shhh, don’t tell…) and I haven’t had any problems. I find that straight apple cider vinegar leaves my skin feeling smoother and softer than when I dilute it. You know your skin better than anyone, so always do what’s best for you.
- 1 part apple cider vinegar
- 1 part water
After washing your face, apply to skin using a cotton ball. You can also pour it into a spray bottle and add water for a balancing face mist you can spritz directly on skin. Don’t rinse off. Substitute green tea for the water to make a 2-ingredient toner balances your skin’s pH and helps reduce redness and acne.
3. Spot treatment
Spot treatments can help stop pesky pimples in their tracks before they’ve had a chance to grow. Pour a little vinegar onto a Q-tip and dab directly on blemishes one at a time. Reapply daily until the blemish goes away. You can spot treat age spots with ACV while you’re at it.
4. ACV acne face mask
Combine a tablespoon each of activated charcoal and bentonite clay. Use apple cider vinegar to make a paste. With clean fingers spread over face and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse with cool water and apply moisturizer.
5. Skin-Boosting Peel
Apples are a naturally potent source of malic acid, which boosts immunity, detoxifies metals from our bodies, and contributes to overall healthy skin. Using these acids in a skin-boosting facial peel is particularly helpful for evening out complexions, especially if you have age spots or sun damage. Combine 1 teaspoon ACV with 1 tablespoon applesauce and apply to skin. Let sit for 10-15 minutes and remove with soft cloth and cool water.
6. Scar treatment
Acne scars are unsightly and annoying, but ACV is an excellent natural remedy. Mix one part apple cider vinegar, one part water and a touch of honey and applying over the acne scars once a day (let it soak in for around 20-30 minutes before rinsing).182