Can Apple Cider Vinegar Cure Acne?
A topic that pretty much always comes up in girl talk is all the different beauty concerns we have. If you've read some of my other posts, you'll know I often complain about the annoying cystic acne I get on my chin. One day, when I complained about my skin to Mary Shenouda (aka Paleo Chef), she told me give apple cider vinegar a try in two ways: as a drink diluted with water and as a toner. Since this isn't the first time someone has recommended apple cider vinegar to me, I was curious to see what a few of my go-to skin experts had to say about it. And the answer, as with most at-home beauty remedies, is mixed.
Apple cider vinegar has been used in a bunch of different ways: face wash, toner, detox drink, sunburn care, scalp and hair treatment, and so on. But for our purposes here, I'm going to focus on it's ability to treat acne.
"One of the most promising uses for apple cider vinegar is as an acne treatment," says Los Angeles dermatologist Shanthi Colaço, MD. That's because raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar contains alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) and malic acid. Those AHAs include glycolic and lactic acid which both exfoliate dead and damaged skin cells. Malic acid is known for its antimicrobial properties that potentially target acne-causing bacteria on the skin.
However, Dr. Colaço says there's no scientific evidence to prove apple cider vinegar is an effective acne treatment and you have to be very cautious if you decide to try it. It's an acid and you run the risk of irritating or burning your skin, and even increasing hyperpigmentation.
That's why if you're going to apply it topically it's essential to dilute it with water first before you let it touch your skin. On top of that, Los Angeles aethetician Nerida Joy recommends that only those with fair skin should even attempt this because darker skin tones have a higher risk of hyperpigmentation.
You also have to consider what type of acne you're dealing with--something that's a challenge even for experts, says Joy. You particularly want to be cautious of using apple cider vinegar on a type of acne called candida albicans, underground bumps that start below your cheek bones. The fermentation in the vinegar feeds the yeast in the pimple and could make it worse.
The moral of the story here is that it might work. But with so many products out there that are proven to work, it doesn't really make sense to risk the possible side effects.
As for me, I drink a little apple cider vinegar concoction first thing in the morning every day. If you want to try it too, I mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, a cup of water, half a lemon, and a pinch of cayenne pepper together. Even if it doesn't cure my acne, at least I know it's good for my digestion.
Have you tried apple cider vinegar to get rid of acne? Let me know what you think in the comments below!