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4 Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits For Skin 2024: Does It Work & How To Use?

apple cider vinegar benefits for skin
Apple cider vinegar can benefit the skin. Photo: anna_fedorova_it/freepik

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Apple cider vinegar is a popular natural remedy for various health issues, including lowering blood sugar and assisting with weight loss. Apple cider vinegar is made from fermented apple juice and contains acetic acid, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Many people claim that there are also amazing benefits of apple cider vinegar for the skin, such as improving its appearance, texture, and health. 

But is there any scientific evidence to back up these claims? Is apple cider good for your skin? In this article, we will explore the potential apple cider vinegar benefits on the skin, how to use it safely and effectively, and what the possible side effects and risks are. Let’s get into it.

Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Skin

Applying apple cider vinegar to your skin regularly could yield the following benefits:

  • Reduction of acne.
  • Improvement in eczema symptoms.
  • Treatment of skin infections.
  • Anti-aging effects.

Apple Cider Vinegar Benefits For Skin

Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Skin
Apple cider vinegar may benefit the skin. Photo: freepik/freepik

Apple cider vinegar has been used for centuries as a topical treatment[1] thanks to its antibacterial and antifungal properties along with its exfoliating abilities that remove dead skin cells. It can also balance the skin’s pH level, and it may be able to calm skin conditions and, when taken orally, even help you lose fat. Let’s look at some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar for skin in more detail.

Reduction Of Acne

Acne is a common skin condition caused mostly by bacteria but sometimes also by a PH imbalance[2] in acne-prone skin. 

Apple cider vinegar[3] has the potential to help treat acne[4] through its antibacterial properties. It may also reduce inflammation and help restore the pH balance[5] of the natural, slightly acidic skin barrier. Apple cider vinegar can also help gently exfoliate the skin, possibly aiding in scar reduction. But the best thing to do with a bad case of acne is to talk to a board-certified dermatologist before taking matters into your own hands.

To incorporate apple cider vinegar into your acne routine, apply a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar and water to the affected areas with a cotton ball. You can also use it as a toner after cleansing your face. Make sure to dilute it, as you can get acid burns using pure apple cider vinegar, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Improvement In Eczema Symptoms

Animal studies show that apple cider vinegar may help relieve eczema symptoms by restoring the skin’s pH balance,[6] moisturizing the skin, and fighting off infections.[7] Apple cider vinegar can also reduce itching[8] and inflammation as a natural antihistamine. However, small trials with human subjects show no effect[9] of ACV soaks on dermatitis.

To use apple cider vinegar for eczema,[10] apply a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar and water to the affected areas. You can do this with a cotton ball. You could also add a cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath water and soak for 15 to 20 minutes. 

However, research is contradictory[11] regarding ACV soaks and eczema relief. 

Treatment Of Skin Infections

Cosmetic and clinical research has shown that apple cider vinegar is a powerful disinfectant.[7] It may prevent many skin infections if you use it to treat small wounds, and it can even be effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

To use apple cider vinegar for skin infections, apply a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar and water. Do this to the infected areas with a cotton ball; you can also soak a clean cloth in the solution and wrap it around the wound. 

If you have a serious infection or a bad wound, take it to a doctor. Don’t try to treat a life-threatening injury or infection with home remedies from your kitchen. Apple cider vinegar can replace the little dab of antibiotic you put on a small scrape as a preventative; it can’t treat an existing infection, certainly not as well as a full hospital can. 

Anti-Aging Effects

Apple cider vinegar can help slow the aging process[12] and improve the skin’s appearance by providing gallic acid, caffeic acid, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. These compounds can protect the skin from free radical damage,[13] stimulate collagen production,[14] and brighten the complexion. Apple cider vinegar can also help tighten the pores, smooth the texture, and even out the skin’s tone by exfoliating and balancing the pH level. 

To use apple cider vinegar for anti-aging, apply a diluted solution of apple cider vinegar and water to your face with a cotton ball, or use it as an apple cider vinegar toner after cleansing your face. Combining it with a skin supplement for more collagen can also help.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Your Skin

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Your Skin
The apple cider vinegar application is simple and straightforward. Photo: EyeEm/freepik

If you want to get the advantages of apple cider vinegar for your skin, you need to follow some simple steps and precautions to ensure its safety and effectiveness. Here are some tips on how to use apple cider vinegar for your skin.

Choose The Right Type Of Apple Cider Vinegar

Look for organic, raw, unfiltered, and unpasteurized apple cider vinegar that contains the mother – a cloudy substance, like the pulp in orange juice, that has beneficial enzymes, bacteria, and acids. 

The mother is what gives apple cider vinegar its skin benefits and potency. You can find this type of apple cider vinegar in health food stores or online, but you may or may not be able to find high-quality apple cider vinegar at big box stores.

Dilute Apple Cider Vinegar Before Applying It To Your Skin

Apple cider vinegar is very acidic and can cause skin irritation, burns, or damage if used undiluted. Before applying it to your skin, you should always dilute apple cider vinegar with water. 

The ratio of apple cider vinegar to water depends on your skin type and sensitivity, but a general rule of thumb is to use, at most, one part apple cider vinegar to four parts water. However, you can adjust that ratio as you need to. 

Do A Patch Test Before Using Apple Cider Vinegar On Your Face

Apple cider vinegar on the skin can cause allergic reactions, irritation, or sensitivity in some people, especially those with sensitive or damaged skin. Before using apple cider vinegar on your face, you should always do a patch test to check for any side effects. 

To do a patch test, apply a small amount of diluted apple cider vinegar to a discreet area of your skin, such as behind your ear or on your wrist, and wait 24 hours. If you experience any redness, itching, burning, or swelling, avoid using apple cider vinegar on your skin in the future.

Apply With A Cotton Ball Or A Spray Bottle

There are a lot of different ACV uses for skin. It can be used as a toner, a cleanser, a spot treatment, or a mask for your face. 

Depending on your preference and convenience, you can apply apple cider vinegar to your face with a cotton ball or a spray bottle. Don’t let the vinegar get into your eyes, nose, or mouth, and you shouldn’t use it more than twice a day.

Side Effects And Safety Tips

Apple cider vinegar is generally safe and beneficial for most people, but it can also have some side effects and risks if used improperly or excessively. Here are some possible side effects[15] and safety tips for using apple cider vinegar for your skin.

Skin Irritation, Burns, Or Damage

Apple cider vinegar is very acidic and can irritate, burn,[16] or damage your skin if used undiluted, too often, or too long. Before applying it to your skin, you should always dilute apple cider vinegar with water. Limit its use to once or twice a day, for a few minutes at a time. 

You should also avoid applying apple cider vinegar to sensitive or damaged areas of your skin. This includes the skin around your eyes, nose, or mouth or on open wounds, cuts, or sores. 

Allergic Reactions

Apple cider vinegar can cause allergic reactions in some people, mostly people who are allergic to apples or citric or acetic acid. Allergic reactions can range from mild to severe and can include symptoms such as hives, rash, itching, swelling, difficulty breathing, or anaphylaxis. 

You should always do a patch test on your face before using apple cider vinegar to check for any allergic reactions. If you notice any signs of an allergic reaction, stop using apple cider vinegar immediately and seek medical attention if needed.

Drug Interactions

Apple cider vinegar can interact with certain medications[17] or some types of supplements and affect their effectiveness or cause adverse effects. If you’re using a topical medication like ketoconazole or clindamycin, don’t use apple cider vinegar in the same areas without talking to your doctor first. You should also avoid using it simultaneously as another topical medication. 

You’ll need to check different interactions if you’re looking for the benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar for skin. Drinking apple cider vinegar can make your stomach too acidic, leading to ulcers and acid reflux, particularly if prone to them. The benefits of apple cider vinegar may outweigh the cost, but it’s still important to be careful. 


Apple cider vinegar is a natural and versatile product that can benefit your skin. It can help with acne, eczema, skin infections, and aging signs by providing antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and exfoliating effects. It can also balance the skin’s pH level, moisturize the skin, and improve its appearance and health. 

However, apple cider vinegar is not a miracle cure for all skin problems, and it can also have some side effects and risks if used improperly or excessively. You should ensure you’re always diluting apple cider vinegar with water before applying it to your skin, and do a patch test to check for any allergic reactions or irritation. Stay aware of the possible side effects.

Apple cider vinegar can be a powerful addition to your skincare routine. While some studies show using apple cider vinegar properly has no considerable side effects,[18] you should still use it with caution and moderation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can apple cider vinegar remove dark spots?

Apple cider vinegar can help remove dark spots by exfoliating and removing the pigmented skin. It can also help lighten the skin by balancing the pH level. However, it’s not a guaranteed or permanent solution.

Does apple cider vinegar tighten skin?

Apple cider vinegar can stimulate the production of collagen, which gives the skin structure and elasticity. It can also help tighten the pores by exfoliating and balancing the skin’s pH level. However, the effects will be minor.

How long does it take for apple cider vinegar to work on the skin?

It will usually take a few days or weeks to start seeing results. However, exactly how long it will take depends on what condition you’re using it for, how much and how often you’re using it, and your skin type. 

+ 18 Sources

EHproject has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We work mostly with peer-reviewed studies to ensure accurate information. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  1. Driss Ousaaid, Laaroussi, H., Meryem Bakour, Hayat Ennaji, Badiaa Lyoussi and Ilham El Arabi (2021). Antifungal and Antibacterial Activities of Apple Vinegar of Different Cultivars. International Journal of Microbiology, [online] 2021, pp.1–6. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2021/6087671.
  2. Prakash, C., Bhargava, P., Tiwari, S., Majumdar, B. and Bhargava, R.K. (2017). Skin Surface pH in Acne Vulgaris: Insights from an Observational Study and Review of the Literature. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, [online] 10(7), pp.33–39. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5605222/.
  3. Kanwarpreet Karwal and Ilya Mukovozov (2023). Topical AHA in Dermatology: Formulations, Mechanisms of Action, Efficacy, and Future Perspectives. Cosmetics, [online] 10(5), pp.131–131. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/cosmetics10050131.
  4. Elhage, K.G., Kayla St Claire and Daveluy, S. (2021). Acetic acid and the skin: a review of vinegar in dermatology. International Journal of Dermatology, [online] 61(7), pp.804–811. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/ijd.15804.
  5. Vishal Gaurav, Anil Kumar Bhoi and Mehta, N. (2023). Home Remedies in Dermatology. Indian Dermatology Online Journal, [online] 14(6), pp.864–870. doi:https://doi.org/10.4103/idoj.idoj_166_23.
  6. Noo Ri Lee, Hae Jin Lee, Na Young Yoon, Kim, D., Jung, M. and Eung Ho Choi (2016). Application of Topical Acids Improves Atopic Dermatitis in Murine Model by Enhancement of Skin Barrier Functions Regardless of the Origin of Acids. Annals of Dermatology, [online] 28(6), pp.690–690. doi:https://doi.org/10.5021/ad.2016.28.6.690.
  7. Darshna Yagnik, Serafin, V. and Shah, A.J. (2018). Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression. Scientific Reports, [online] 8(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-18618-x.
  8. Atik, D., Atik, C. and Celalettin Karatepe (2016). The Effect of External Apple Vinegar Application on Varicosity Symptoms, Pain, and Social Appearance Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, [online] 2016, pp.1–8. doi:https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/6473678.
  9. Luu, L.A., Flowers, R.H., Gao, Y., Wu, M., Gasperino, S., Kellams, A.L., Preston, D.C., Zlotoff, B.J., Wisniewski, J.A. and Zeichner, S.L. (2021). Apple cider vinegar soaks do not alter the skin bacterial microbiome in atopic dermatitis. PLOS ONE, [online] 16(6), pp.e0252272–e0252272. doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0252272.
  10. Lio, P.A. (2019). A split body trial comparing dilute bleach vs. dilute apple cider vinegar compresses for atopic dermatitis in Chicago: a pilot study. Journal of Dermatology & Cosmetology, 3(1), pp.22–24. doi:https://doi.org/10.15406/jdc.2019.03.00109.
  11. Luu, L.A., Flowers, R.H., Kellams, A.L., Zeichner, S., Preston, D.C., Zlotoff, B.J. and Wisniewski, J.A. (2019). Apple cider vinegar soaks [0.5%] as a treatment for atopic dermatitis do not improve skin barrier integrity. Pediatric Dermatology, [online] 36(5), pp.634–639. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/pde.13888.
  12. Marius Emil Rusu, Ionel Fizeșan, Laurian Vlase and Popa, D.-S. (2022). Antioxidants in Age-Related Diseases and Anti-Aging Strategies. Antioxidants, [online] 11(10), pp.1868–1868. doi:https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox11101868.
  13. Jegadheeswari Venkadakrishnan, Chatterjee, A., Saha, R., Chatterjee, K., Prashanta Kumar Deb, Sarkar, B. and Papiya Mitra Mazumder (2024). Ameliorative Effect of Apple Cider Vinegar and p-Coumaric Acid Combination in Ex ovo Antimicrobial and In vivo Wound Healing Models. Pharmacological Research – Modern Chinese Medicine, [online] 10, pp.100364–100364. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.prmcm.2024.100364.
  14. Seung Won Chung, Il Ho Park, Sung Moon Hong, Jung Sun Cho, Jun Hyeok Moon, Tae Hoon Kim and Heung Man Lee (2014). Role of Caffeic Acid on Collagen Production in Nasal Polyp-Derived Fibroblasts. Clinical and Experimental Otorhinolaryngology, [online] 7(4), pp.295–295. doi:https://doi.org/10.3342/ceo.2014.7.4.295.
  15. Hadi, A., Makan Pourmasoumi, Ameneh Najafgholizadeh, Clark and Esmaillzadeh, A. (2021). The effect of apple cider vinegar on lipid profiles and glycemic parameters: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies, [online] 21(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-021-03351-w.
  16. Feldstein, S., Afshar, M. and Krakowski, A.C. (2015). Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, [online] 8(6), p.50. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4479370/.
  17. B Biswal (2016). Drug-excipient Interaction Study for Apple Cider Vinegar with 20 Potential Excipients using Modern Analytical Techniques. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutics, [online] 10(1). doi:https://doi.org/10.22377/ajp.v10i1.530.
  18. Tine Louise Launholt, Christina Blanner Kristiansen and Hjorth, P. (2020). Safety and side effects of apple vinegar intake and its effect on metabolic parameters and body weight: a systematic review. European Journal of Nutrition, [online] 59(6), pp.2273–2289. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-020-02214-3.


Christine is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist with an undergraduate degree from Missouri State University. Her passion is helping others learn how strong and healthy they can become by transforming their daily habits. Christine spends… See More