Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar to Treat Acne? We Investigate

Treating acne is tricky, as everyone's specific skin is different. Plus,В there are so many factors at play-environment, lifestyle, hormones, and the like. So you won't ever find a treatment for breakouts that is one-size-fits-all, but that doesn't mean you can't experiment in order to find what works for you.В

Over the years,В we've made stridesВ in getting ourВ beauty routines cleaner, opting for natural solutions over chemical products. While we can't get enough of ourВ chemical exfoliators and active ingredients, there's something to be said for keeping things simple. Enter apple cider vinegar for acne. Is it a myth, or does it really work to clear skin? We did some investigating to find out. Below, find exactly what it does and how it works.В

Bragg Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar $5Shop

It balances your pH

"It's the best astringent in nature because it helps to balance the skin's pH, making you both less oily and less dry," saysВ S.W. BasicsВ founderВ Adina Grigore. She warns that apple cider vinegar isВ strong (and pungent), so you should always dilute it before using. "I recommend using a mixture of one part vinegar to four parts water. Apply to your face with cotton or a spritzer. No need to wash it off," she says.В

It's a natural way to treat body acne, too

Lamees Hamdan, the founder and CEO ofВ Shiffa, says if you prefer to keep your skincare routine as clean as possible, "you can try making your own anti-acne body product using apple cider vinegar." Simply add 10 drops of tea tree essential oil to apple cider vinegar (and witch hazel if you have it). Apply it to the blemished areas on clean skin for the best effect.

You can use it as a spot treatment

One of our most active readers wrote in for advice on this one. "Put it on a Q-tip, let the Q-tip run under water to dilute, and then apply it to your acne," Alex No suggests.В In fact,В Sejal Shah, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, toldВ Women's HealthВ that the acetic acid in apple cider vinegar has both antibacterial and keratolytic properties. "In other words," she says, "it has the potential to help zap your bumps from the source."

But it can be irritating

The resounding takeaway from all of this is you can garner real, helpful results from using apple cider vinegar, but you have to be careful. If you don't dilute it, it can irritate your skin and even cause chemical burns, according toВ Shah.

There isn't a lot of science-backed evidence

This doesn't mean it won't work, but there haven't been specific studies to find the effect apple cider vinegar has on acne specifically. However, it is known for its ability toВ kill bacteria and viruses,В and it contains acetic, citric, lactic, and succinic acid, all of which have beenВ proven to help with breakouts. One studyВ found more than half of its participants experienced a significant reduction in acne after using lactic acid lotion.В

Below, find a few more natural acne-fighting products.

Spring Valley Tea Tree Oil $7ShopOsmia Organics Spot Treatment $22ShopAztec Secret Indian Healing Clay $11ShopTata Harper Purifying Cleanser $70Shop

FYI: Here's exactly how to take care of your skin post-workout.