Apple Cider Vinegar For Skin: Ways To Use It On Your Face 2023

Karla Tafra

Updated on - Written by
Medically reviewed by Jennifer Olejarz, Nutritionist & Health Coach

apple cider vinegar for skin
Apple cider vinegar can benefit your skin in many ways.

Apple cider vinegar for skin is trending, and for good reason. It might balance your skin’s natural acidity scale or pH and reduce facial acne. 

So from apple cider vinegar gummies to cleansers and toners, brands have been coming up with various products to treat everything from acne and oily skin to cleansing impurities and toxins.

Is Apple Cider Vinegar Good For Your Skin?

Yes, apple cider vinegar can have many benefits for the skin, but whether it’s good for your skin depends on your individual skin type and condition.

Benefits Of Apple Cider Vinegar For Skin

Apple cider vinegar has become a popular natural remedy for various health and beauty issues, including digestive and skin care. Here are some of its skincare benefits: 

Balances Skin PH

Being naturally acidic, apple cider vinegar acts as an exfoliant and can help with your skin’s pH balance. This can reduce the appearance of acne and other skin issues. Because of its acidity, diluting apple cider vinegar before topical application is advised to avoid skin irritation or burning.

Exfoliates The Skin

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acid and malic acid, also known as natural alpha-hydroxy acids,[1] that can exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells and revealing smoother, brighter skin. This is a real plus for acne-prone skin.

These acids have antibacterial,[2] antifungal, and keratolytic properties, meaning they can help protect against skin fungus and other harmful agents and remove dead skin cells, thus reducing inflammation and decreasing the thickness of harmful plaques[3] that are known to occur with psoriasis.[4] 

Psoriasis is an inflammatory disease of the skin that causes flaky patches on the skin that can cause scales. It can range from mild to severe, and it’s known to be exacerbated by stress, anxiety, and overall inflammation derived from other causes. 

Reduces The Appearance Of Acne And Dark Spots

Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties[5] that can help reduce acne and even skin fungus. It can also help to unclog pores and reduce excess oil production. Additionally, the alpha-hydroxy acids in apple cider vinegar can help to reduce skin tags and lighten dark spot6] and hyperpigmentation, giving the skin a more even tone. That’s why many people use apple cider vinegar for skin whitening. 

Helps Soothe Skin Irritation

The anti-inflammatory properties of apple cider vinegar can help to soothe skin irritation and reduce redness. And its antibacterial and antifungal properties help ward off irritating skin infections. 

Improves Overall Skin Health

Apple cider vinegar is rich in antioxidants and vitamins that can help to improve overall skin health,[7] reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Its ability to exfoliate skin has a certain anti-aging effect as one of its skincare benefits.

Side Effects Of Apple Cider Vinegar

While apple cider vinegar can help with skin problems, it can also have some potential side effects. Here are some of the side effects that you should be aware of when you use apple cider vinegar on your skin:

  • Skin irritation: While naturally considered mild and safe for most skin types, undiluted apple cider vinegar can sometimes be too acidic[8] for certain skin types, causing redness, irritation, and even burns.
  • Dryness: The acid in apple cider vinegar can disrupt the skin’s natural moisture barrier, leading to dryness and flakiness.
  • Sun sensitivity: Some people have reported increased sun sensitivity after using apple cider vinegar, which can lead to sunburn or other skin damage.
  • Allergic reactions: Although rare, some people may have an allergic reaction to apple cider vinegar, causing hives, itching, or swelling.
  • Chemical burns: Undiluted apple cider vinegar can cause chemical burns if applied in high concentrations.

To avoid these potential side effects, it’s always important to dilute apple cider vinegar before applying it to the skin and start with a small amount, gradually increasing the concentration over time. The general consensus among dermatologists is a ratio of one part apple cider vinegar to four parts water when using ACV for the face. 

It’s also important to do a patch test on a small skin area first to see how your skin reacts to it. If you experience any irritation or discomfort, stop using it immediately and consult a dermatologist.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Your Face

Since apple cider vinegar can be powerful, you need to adhere to some general guidelines for how to use apple cider vinegar for skin to reap the benefits and prevent the potential negative side effects:

  • Dilute the apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is very acidic, so it’s important to always dilute it with water before applying it to your face. Mix one part apple cider vinegar with four parts water.
  • Cleanse your face: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry before applying the apple cider vinegar solution.
  • Apply the solution as a toner: Using ACV as a toner is a great way to restore the skin’s natural defenses and remove excess dirt. This way, you’re helping your skin fight against acne and dark spots while restoring its natural pH. Soak a cotton ball or pad in the apple cider vinegar solution and gently swipe it over your face, avoiding the eye area.
  • Be gentle: When applying ACV to the skin, always be gentle with your movements. Any actions on your skin can cause irritation and increase the risk of a negative reaction across the skin barrier. Always apply reduced pressure, and don’t rub ACV into the skin. 
  • Leave it on: Allow the solution to sit on your face for 5-10 minutes, then rinse it off with cool water very gently.
  • Moisturize: After using apple cider vinegar, it’s important to moisturize your sensitive skin to prevent dryness. Use a gentle moisturizer that is appropriate for your skin type.
  • Use it sparingly: While apple cider vinegar can benefit the skin, it’s important to use it sparingly. Overuse can lead to dryness, irritation, and other potential side effects.
  • Try a spot treatment: A spot treatment with ACV is great for treating blemishes as soon as they appear. In order to make your own apple cider vinegar spot treatment, you have to gently dab a small amount onto the blemish with a soaked cotton swab or cotton ball. This can help prevent any blemish or small acne from getting bigger and more inflamed.

While using apple cider vinegar for skin sounds easy, it’s also important to note that it may not be suitable for everyone’s skin. If you experience any irritation or discomfort, stop using it immediately and consult a dermatologist.

Final Thought

Overall, apple cider vinegar can be a beneficial addition to your skincare routine, but using it properly and in the right concentration is important. 

For example, incorporate apple cider vinegar into your routine, but always dilute it with water. Start with a small amount, gradually increasing the concentration over time, and as with any new skincare product, it’s always a good idea to do a patch test on a small skin area first. In case of any negative side effects, consult your dermatologist.

+ 8 sources

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  1. Tang, S.-C. and Yang, J.-H. (2018). Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin. Molecules, [online] 23(4), p.863. doi:
  2. Ousaaid, D., Laaroussi, H., Bakour, M., Ennaji, H., Lyoussi, B. and El Arabi, I. (2021). Antifungal and Antibacterial Activities of Apple Vinegar of Different Cultivars. International Journal of Microbiology, [online] 2021, pp.1–6. doi:
  3. B. (2014). Mosby’s Dental Drug Reference, [online] pp.135–201. doi:
  4. ‌Nair PA;Badri T (2022). Psoriasis. [online] Available at:
  5. Elhage, K.G., St. Claire, K. 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:
  6. MB;Yanaki, T. (2013). Successful short-term and long-term treatment of melasma and postinflammatory hyperpigmentation using vitamin C with a full-face iontophoresis mask and a mandelic/malic acid skin care regimen. Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD, [online] 12(1). Available at:
  7. Greive, K., Tran, D., Townley, J. and Barnes, T. (2014). An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, [online] p.9. doi:
  8. 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:
Karla Tafra

Medically reviewed by:

Jennifer Olejarz

Karla is a published author, speaker, certified nutritionist, and yoga teacher, and she's passionate when writing about nutrition, health, fitness, and overall wellness topics. Her work has been featured on popular sites like Healthline,, Well and Good, Women's Health, Mindbodygreen, Medium, Yoga Journal, Lifesavvy, and In addition to writing about these topics, she also teaches yoga classes, offers nutrition coaching, organizes wellness seminars and workshops, creates content for various brands & provides copywriting services to companies.

Medically reviewed by:

Jennifer Olejarz

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