Apple cider vinegar seems to be one of those natural ingredients that, like coconut oil, works for just about anything. It has a bazillion uses, and, no surprise, it's excellent for your skin. It's easy to make your own at-home skin peel with one of our favorite foods, apples!
The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to DIY skin peels, apple cider vinegar is a star thanks to its high acid content. Acetic acid is the one we hear about most often, but ACV is also chock full of lactic, citric and malic acids as well.
Those natural fruit acids have a number of skin benefits including gently exfoliating dead skin cells, decreasing skin inflammation and boosting cell turnover, which is why it is so great for acne and brightening skin.
Unlike with harsh store-bought chemical peels, the natural acids in apple cider vinegar are said to help improve the texture of skin while still protecting your skin's acid mantle. With repeated use of harsh creams and cleansers, we can disrupt the delicate acid mantle, which protects skin from germs, bacteria, yeast 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 skin's natural defenses. Plus, applying apple cider vinegar to your face also delivers beneficial vitamins, mineral salts and amino acids deeper into the skin.
Apples are a naturally potent source of malic acid, which smooths skin but is gentle and unlikely to cause skin irritation. Combining apple cider vinegar with organic applesauce ups the dose of gentle, natural acids that clear away dead skin cells. It also gives your peel a thicker consistency which coats the skin and allows the acid to sink in more slowly.
Combining apple cider vinegar with apples helps kill bacteria, remove excess dirt, oil and makeup, and gently exfoliate by dissolving dead skin cells. Using these acids in a facial peel is particularly helpful for evening out complexions, especially if you have age spots or sun damage.
That being said, we recommend sticking with organic, raw apple cider vinegar for at-home skin treatments. Apple cider vinegar is basically just raw apple juice fermented with yeast and bacteria. As a result of the fermentation process, it's chock full of compounds, nutrients and probiotics, which give ACV its medicinal benefits.
But it’s only the raw, unpasteurized vinegar that has so-called magical properties. While pasteurized ACV still contains acid, which make it great for doing for at-home skin peels, it doesn’t contain the good bacteria and enzymes you need for kicking acne to the curb and nourishing skin.
How To Make an Apple Cider Vinegar At-Home Skin Peel
For this recipe, you need just two simple ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon organic, raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon applesauce, preferably organic or homemade
Before you apply the mask, first remove all make-up and wash your face. Then apply the mask to your face and neck with clean fingers, but avoid the eye area (that will seriously sting!).
The at-home skin peel can be a little runny so lie down for 10-15 minutes to avoid it dripping everywhere. Then remove the mask with a soft cloth and cool water and follow with moisturizer. And don't forget to wear sunscreen the next time you head outside.
Apple Cider Vinegar Peel for Sensitive Skin
For most people, straight ACV and apple sauce works just fine at exfoliating dead skin cells and brightening skin’s appearance. But for some, especially those with sensitive skin, it can lead to irritation at best and serious burns at worst. If you have sensitive skin or if you notice a lot of redness and irritation following a peel, it’s best to make your mask a little weaker.
To do that, cut the recommended amount of ACV with tap water, filtered water or even rose water to decrease the amount of acid, making it less likely to cause skin irritation. Then apply the mask as usual. If you still feel a strong burning sensation, it might best to skip the ACV mask altogether and use a gentler peel, like those mentioned below.
Other at-home peels for sensitive skin
Just because a homemade mask doesn’t tingle quite like an ACV mask doesn’t mean it isn’t brightening skin and boosting cell turnover. It turns out that there are many mild, natural facial peels you can make at home with ingredients you already have on hand.
A facial peel with a lower acid content, such as one made with pumpkin, cucumber or green tea, is perfect for sensitive skin. Use any of the following masks to brighten a sensitive complexion.
How to use an at-home ACV peel
Just like store-bought peels, homemade peels can do serious damage if not used properly. Never leave an apple cider vinegar peel on overnight or for an extended length of time. And if you notice an abnormal amount of stinging, redness or irritation, wash it off immediately and use a bit of baking soda mixed with water to cool the burn.
For best results:
- Use your at-home skin peel in the evening once or twice a week at most.
- Apply a thin layer to clean, damp skin and leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with cool water.
- Follow up with lotion or a gentle serum to lock in moisture.
- Throw away any extra and make a fresh batch each time.
- Always wear sunscreen in the 2-3 days post-peel.
Can I use an apple cider vinegar peel for acne?
While I’m not an expert on the matter, I have used ACV for years to help keep hormonal breakouts at bay. But others say that apple cider vinegar only makes their acne worse.
So the short answer is: it really depends on your skin type.
Apple cider vinegar is rich in malic acid, which has an exfoliating effect on the skin. Gentle exfoliation encourages cell turnover, sloughs away dead skin cells and may even get rid of dirt and oils clogging pores. Not to mention, apple cider vinegar is loaded with good bacteria which helps calm inflammation and soothe acne-prone skin [source].
If you're willing to give it a try, you probably won't see results overnight. A full skin-cell turnover takes about four to six weeks; so give it at least that much time for the benefits to take place.
Other ways to use ACV for skin and hair
Did I mention that apple cider vinegar does it all? Here's a few of our favorite ways to incorporate it into your beauty routine and reap the benefits all year long.
- ACV herb-infused hair rinse
- Six ways to use ACV for acne
- Clarifying apple cider vinegar shampoo
- Apple cider vinegar scalp scrub
DIY Apple Cider Vinegar At-Home Skin Peel
- Small bowl
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar organic, raw and unfiltered
- 1 tablespoon applesauce preferably organic or homemade
- Combine ingredients in a small bowl.
- Mix well. Then apply a think layer of mask to your face, avoiding the eye area, and let it sit for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove with soft cloth and cool water. Then follow up with moisturizer and/or any serums of your choosing. Throw away any extra mask.
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who performs adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow's medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.230
Amanda DeSimone says
Hi can you keep the extra mask, and for how long?
I had large pores and tried everything out there but nothing has helped like ACV! I used it as a toner day and night and my pores had decreased considerably in size. I also use it on my lips once a month to make it naturally pink. I dab a paper towel with ACV and put it between my lips for 15 minutes twice a day and the dead skin peels out within 24 hours.
Just tried this tonight! I’m bright red! Hoping for great results!
Roz | NaturalFaceTherapy says
I love DIY skincare products that are all-natural. ACV is such a good product for skin and hair care. I use a ACV + baking soda scrub weekly and love the results. I plan to try this skin peel recipe to see if I can add it to my skincare rotation.
a better result is to use ACV with baking soda, Use 1:2 ratio.
ACV with baking soda simultaneously will cancel each other out. ACV is is acidic and Baking Soda is basic... Thus they neutralize. ACV solutions have to be used first then a baking soda wash can be used as a follow up to stop or neutralize the continued effect of the ACV solution.
Lol as for Morgan you the one seeking attention! You should have known what the post was about by just reading the title. Also you're the only one complaining here. Have a seat negative Nancy trying to bash other people's content. I actually found the info on the ACV Peel quite helpful.
Tamunotonye Barimalaa says
I’m so trying this. I never knew I could use apple cider on my skin,
I would dilute the acv with water and then add the applesauce
Sandra Martinez says
I'm going to try the ACV Facial Peel Mask; I would also like some advice on how to best treat my skin for fine lines and small creases on my forehead and around my mouth before they turn into deep wrinkles; I'm 57 years old and I'm starting to notice fine lines coming in around my mouth and forehead.
try dermal roller.
Misty Hess says
Wow! You have good skin if you just now noticing fine lines ... keep doing what you been doing . Impressive ????????
I've made it and trying it on right now as I type. I'll keep you up dated with my results..but ACV got rid of my moles on my face. I don't know about scarring just yet. When I first tried ACV it killed me and burned so badly after wards though now whenever I try it again it stings but not even noticeable. The pain is very bare able nothing compared to what it was before. This ACV with homemade applesauce does Sting and I know it's working! I've out the rest in the fridge and see what happens after a day as it says it doesn't keep well!
Is your face scarred at all
So if you are using this instead of a chemical peel how often and for how long would you apply it? Will it work as well?
I applied acv on my face but looks burned... Will it peel off? I'm afraid there's a black spot on my face? Is this normal? How long will I keep on applying this?
you have to dilute it! sometimes it’s too harsh for certain skin types
I used skin peels and tried removing a mole with apple cider vinegar used 8 hrs of covering it up with a cotton ball dipped in acv and Vaseline covering the skin around the mole it worked out great and the skin is baby soft where the apple cider touched it peeled like a skin peel would so I think just covering a spot on your face with Vaseline and a cotton ball dipped in acv taped a few times a day for three days I did mine for five and got good results but other ppl might not have the same results as me so wouldn't suggest it unless you know how your skin would react. I also put Vaseline on daily so it doesn't get to dry. Between putting the acv on for 8 hrs.
Does it improve scaring
Acv has diminished my acne scarring
How often would you use this? Thank you. :c)
Qgreat ideas! Can’t wait to use them and get my glow on!
Aria | agirlandacat says
Will this help with acne?