Apple Cider Vinegar and Acne Recipe

An apple cider vinegar and acne recipe to help clear your skin.

Acne is a common, yet embarrassing problem.

For many people, it only rears its ugly head occasionally. However, for others, life is a constant struggle for clear skin.

If you suffer from acne, you may want to try incorporating apple cider vinegar into your skin care regimen.

But first, let me explain why apple cider vinegar is so good for your skin.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Acne Benefit #1:
Unclogs Pores

When it comes to treating most cases of acne, apple cider vinegar really shines as a topical treatment.

Most acne is caused when clogged pores become irritated and infected. Let's look at what the Wikipedia has to say about the life cycle of a pimple:

  • A pore becomes clogged by dirt, oil or sebum.

  • Propionibacterium acnes, a bacteria that naturally lives in your skin, grows out of control and damages the walls of the pore.

  • Other bacteria, including Staphyloccus aureus, invade and cause a nasty, pus-filled pimple to form.

Natural health enthusiasts claim that vinegar is a natural antiseptic that kills the bacteria that cause acne, stopping pimples in their tracks. The truth, unfortunately, is not that simple. While vinegar definitely has some anti-microbial properties, it is far from perfect as a disinfectant.

For example, here's how Dr. Carol Johnston, a researcher at the University of Arizona who has worked extensively with vinegar, describes the anti-microbial properties of vinegar:

At concentrations nontoxic to fibroblasts and keratinocytes (= 0.0025%), acetic acid solutions were ineffective at inhibiting the growth of Escherichia coli, group D Enterococcus, or Bacteroides fragilis bacteria, and only slightly effective at inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria.

Similarly, experts caution against using vinegar as a household disinfectant against human pathogens because chemical disinfectants are more effective.

In other words, vinegar may inhibit the growth of bacteria, but it may not do so well enough to prevent acne. Without studies of the relationship between apple cider vinegar and acne bacteria, we can not say that vinegar stops acne by killing germs.

So, if vinegar is not a strong antiseptic, why do so many people swear by it?

Apple cider vinegar does contain acids, including alpha-hydroxy acids from the apples. These acids help dissolve the oil and sebum that clogs pores. Clear pores mean clear skin-without the airless environment created by a clogged pore, Propionibacterium acnes bacteria stays under control.

During break outs, you can try using vinegar as a spot treatment, dabbing it directly on top of existing pimples. However, don't apply straight vinegar all over your face - it could cause irritation.

Instead, to prevent pimples on the rest of your face, try this simple apple cider vinegar and honey toner recipe.

The honey is just as important to this recipe as the vinegar is. It works with the vinegar to help calm your skin. I've used this toner on my oily skin for years with great success, as has my younger sister:

Apple Cider Vinegar and Acne Toner Recipe

This easy toner uses apple cider vinegar and honey to kill germs, dry excess oil and clear pores.

Honey soothes, moisturizes and also has antiseptic properties. This article contains further information:

Honey and Acne Study - A Natural Pimple Cure?

Use orange blossom water if you can find it - it is known for soothing skin and clearing up acne, and it makes the toner smell less...bracing.

Look for it in a middle eastern supermarket near you.


1/4 cup raw honey

1 cup orange blossom water OR rosewater OR brewed green tea OR brewed chamomile tea

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

A few drops lavender essential oil (optional)

How to Make

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl, then funnel into a clean bottle. Use cotton balls or pads to apply to your face every night before bed.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Acne Benefit #2:
Encourages Skin Renewal

Apple cider vinegar also contains alpha-hydroxy acids, which help skin renew itself more quickly.

These are the same acids used to help reduce acne, reduce signs of aging and reduce the appearance of acne scars.

Once your acne clears up, using the toner recipe above can help your skin look better faster.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Acne Benefit #3:
Internal Detoxing

For some people, acne may be the body's response to exposure to toxins in food and in the environment. If that is the case for you, apple cider vinegar may help. It is a popular detox drink.

Try drinking 1-2 teaspoons in a full glass of water once or twice a day.

It may take some time for this treatment to work, and your skin may get worse before it gets better, as the toxins already in your system work themselves out.

However, for many people, acne is not the result of buried toxins, but rather a genetic or hormonal condition. If that is the case for you, you might not see much relief from drinking vinegar.

Any Side Effects?

The main thing to be aware of when you use apple cider vinegar to treat acne is that it can cause irritation, especially if your vinegar has a high concentration of acetic acid.

That is why you should not put straight vinegar directly on your skin.

Dilute it first, and save the full-strength stuff for use as a spot treatment only!

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Johnson, Kate. (2001). Apple Cider Vinegar: Kitchen Cupboard Beauty Tips.

Apple Cider Vinegar (as a topical)Reviews. Forums.

Apple Cider Vinegar (as a drink) Reviews. Forums.

Johnston, Carol S., and Gaas, Cindy A. (2006)Vinegar: Medicinal Uses and Antiglycemic Effect. MedGenMed. 2006; 8(2): 61. Published online 2006 May 30.

Wikipedia, Propionibacterium_acnes.

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