Acne is an all too common skin condition resulting in red papules we unaffectionately refer to as pimples. When oil glands in the skin overproduce, the pores become plugged and retaliate by swelling into an ugly zit.
Acne most often afflicts adolescents, but children and adults of all ages can suffer. Not only can acne be embarrassing and lower self esteem, but it can also result in very painful cysts.
People suffering with acne often spend dollar after dollar on finding a cure. Harsh acne creams found on the market may hurt more than help by drying out skin and causing inflammation.
Many acne medications contain salicylic acid, which can cause severe irritation and even life-threatening allergic reactions. Luckily, there’s an increasingly popular all-natural solution found relatively cheap in your local supermarket – apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar is basically apple juice that’s been fermented to become an alcohol before being converted into vinegar with acetic acid. ACV is usually sold unpasteurized to preserve the substance’s anti-bacterial and probiotic properties.
Although it’s mostly used in food, apple cider vinegar has been used for various medicinal maladies tracing back to 5000 BC. But, let’s skip to the burning question that really matters: does apple cider vinegar help acne?
Benefits of ACV for Acne
Scientific literature has given us some significant support that apple cider vinegar acne treatments can actually work.
ACV is effective at restoring a happy pH balance for your skin. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of 3 that can help bring your skin’s pH level back to a normal 5.5 after natural acid is washed away. Having good pH balance is essential to keep your skin functioning optimally and shedding dead skin properly to reduce acne.
ACV is composed of around 5% acetic acid, which has been shown to be a natural antiseptic for killing harmful bacteria and viruses lurking on your skin.
Since it’s extracted from apples, ACV is filled with essential nutrients your skin craves, including folic acid, vitamin C, niacin, and vitamin B6. Apple cider vinegar is a natural source of the alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) usually found in leading acne cleansers.
Apple cider vinegar has beta-carotene, thus it reverse damage from free UV radicals, improve skin texture, and reduce oil buildup. It’s also believed that the malic acid in ACV can prevent pores from clogging to dissuade pimples from popping up.
One study at the University of Massachusetts discovered that the anti-fungal characteristics of ACV could even treat pityrosporum folliculitis, a severe condition that doesn’t respond to acne medicine.
Some research findings even indicate that the science supporting apple cider vinegar for acne goes even deeper. ACV has been linked to lowering cholesterol and improving insulin sensitivity, which may contribute to healing acne.
Organic apple cider vinegar has lactic acid to improve vitamin deficiencies, enhance intestinal digestion, and reduce inflammation with acne.
Making an Apple Cider Vinegar Face Toner
The Internet has an endless supply of apple cider vinegar recipes for acne sufferers to try out. Let’s take things simple with a 50% strength ACV face toner. Toners can be applied topically as a spot treatment for stubborn pimples like an acne cream.
For this recipe, you’ll need 1/2 cup of organic apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of filtered or bottled water. Having a glass container for storing the toner is also best.
First, you’ll need to sterilize the glass bottle by boiling it or washing it with hot water and let it dry completely. Using a funnel, pour the apple cider vinegar and water together into the container. Shake the mixture thoroughly to blend the two ingredients.
At this point, you can customize your treatment by adding a dash of aloe vera, green tea, witch hazel, baking soda, etc. It’s also easy to vary the toner’s strength to what your skin likes by adding more or less water.
For applying the apple cider vinegar concoction, begin by washing your face with your normal cleanser or soap. Take a cotton ball, soak in some toner, and apply it gently on your skin without rubbing. If the pimple is hiding in a hard-to-reach spot, you can use a spray bottle. Leave it on for about 30 minutes before washing it off and applying a moisturizer.
Precautions for Using ACV
Apple cider vinegar and acne are often lauded as a match made in heaven. While ACV is effective for treating acne, it’s important to note that there are some precautions you’ll need to take to avoid aggravating your skin further.
Apple cider vinegar is very strong and can be too harsh for people with sensitive skin. ACV exfoliates the skin and makes it more sensitive to UV rays, so applying it at night may be best.
When used in strong concentrations, apple cider vinegar can experience irritation and redness in the application site. Burning sensations are also common when the ACV solution makes its way into picked or healing pimples.
Make sure you avoid your eyes! Try the ACV on a small area of your skin first to check sensitivity, then dilute it further if needed. First-time novices should only apply the apple cider vinegar once a day or every other day.
Of course, apple cider vinegar has a pungent odor that can make your bathroom smell quite funky. The smell lessens once it dries on your skin, but be careful about when you apply the ACV treatment. Applying right before your big date or new job interview spells a stinky disaster.
If you’re truly worried about the minimal threat of a chemical burn from ACV, you could take another approach. Using apple cider vinegar as a food can be effective for reducing the appearance of acne too.
ACV makes a wonderful addition to salad dressings, drinks, and other homemade culinary delights. Apple cider vinegar can have very positive effects on controlling your acne breakouts and improving your skin’s glow.