Wholesomealive is independent and reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

Is White Vinegar Good For Acne?

White vinegar is known to be the magic potion for acne that is available in the kitchen. According to Dr. Roberta Del Campo, a Miami based dermatologist, vinegar is one of the cheapest and effective home remedies for acne.

The medicinal use of vinegar dates back to the times when Hippocrates uses to prescribe vinegar for curing recurrent cough. It acts as an antiseptic, fights bacterium, fungus, and helps in ‘drying out’ acne. It is also known to tighten and minimize large pores and help promote circulation.

Vinegar when applied on the skin absorbs oil along with debris, assisting to unclog the pores and hence can control the break out of acne.

However, higher concentrates of vinegar can lead to over-drying of the skin, which is why it is advised to apply vinegar over active acne and not the entire face. This is because over-drying of the skin may lead to irritation, causing to have further active acne breakouts.

White Vinegar

I am not quite a fan of patients using home remedies without being aware of its consequences. Patients suffering from cystic acne make matters worse if they apply vinegar. So, vinegar is not a remedy for cystic acne.

Vinegar acts as a natural exfoliate. The AHA and acetic acid in the solution help remove the top layer of the epidermis (stratum corneum) which is usually dull and rough as it is exposed to the environment as well as sunlight. Vinegar helps reveal the layer which is smoother and brighter than the layer which is exposed hence helps achieve the kind of skin glow we usually desire.

Studies have shown vinegar containing 5% acetic acid is effective in fighting against common microorganisms such as Staph. Aureus, Yersinia, E.coli, and other microbes.

Although, there have been limited studies on the effect of applying vinegar topically for acne it was found that the correlation between Propionibacterium (acne-causing bacteria) and vinegar was narrow.

In other words, vinegar was not found to be too effective against this particular bacterium. However, as mentioned earlier, it has shown to remove excess oil and unclog pores which are also determinants of the development of acne.

Not only the skin, even when used as a cleaning agent over furniture it is effective against 99.9% bacteria and 90%molds. One needs to understand that vinegar is an acidic solution. So, it must be used with utmost care.

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is an aqueous solution with traces of ingredients that add flavor to it. When acetic acid is diluted with water it is called white vinegar.

However, there are many other varieties of vinegar as it can be made from any substance that contains sugar. It is made from the fermentation of sugar in fruit juice by bacteria.

Commercially available vinegar usually has 5%-8% acetic acid and is quiet financially feasible and is easy to make. It can also be bought directly from the market.

The most common type of vinegar found in American households is apple cider vinegar, and if there is a tie between a second favorite, it would be red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar. Nonetheless, there is a wide range of flavors available.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is made by fermenting sugar in apples. It is one of the few healthiest items which is delicious and available in the kitchen and has been beneficial in cholesterol, diabetic and obese patients as it has known to help in reducing weight. There are small scale studies that claim that vinegar generally reduces heart disease.

At first, the manufacturer introduces apples to yeast. The sugars in apples are fermented by the yeast and turn them into alcohol. The final step is adding bacteria to the fermented alcohol which makes acetic acid and it is the active ingredient in apple cider vinegar. Researchers believe that it is the acetic acid that holds the health benefits in apple cider vinegar.

A study with 125 subjects concluded that taking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (undiluted) for 3 months led to a weight loss of 1.2 kg and consuming two spoons of apple cider vinegar led to a weight loss of 1.7 kg.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne

Apple Cider Vinegar is beneficial for acne prone skin but the results are not seen overnight. A full skin cell turnover rate takes about 4-6 weeks, so to reap maximum benefits one must be patient.

An unfiltered apple cider vinegar is better known for skin and works on acne due to the presence of a substance called ‘Mother’ in it which has brown-tinged strands of bacteria and enzymes that are known to be the most beneficial. Other than the active ingredient acetic acid, other acids such as gallic, vanilla, and caffeic acid play a part in its acidic property.

Healthy skin on an average is of PH 5.5 and vinegar is about 2.5 which is why it is important to dilute the vinegar. Compromised skin with conditions such as acne or eczema has a higher PH and is slightly alkaline. The PH scale ranges from 0-14. Below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline while a PH of 7 is neutral. White or apple cider vinegar helps the skin in the following way:

  • Antiseptic Property kills bacteria.
  • Exfoliates skin bringing out the’ glow’.
  • Restores skin PH.
  • Cleanses Pores preventing acne break out.
  • Removes excess oil.

How to use Vinegar for skin

White or apple cider vinegar can be used on the skin in more than one way: Materials required:

  1. Apple cider or white vinegar
  2. Bowl and a stirring spoon
  3. Measuring cup
  4. Clean Water
  5. Aloe Vera Gel (Optional)
  6. Cotton ball

White Vinegar For Acne

Put 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar or white vinegar in half a cup of water and apply it to places of acne. Leave it on for 1-2 minutes and rinse with cold water.

7 Best White Vinegar

How Often

You may spray it or apply directly with the help of a clean gauze or cotton ball as frequently as 2- 3 times a day. If not, it can be a part of the daily routine provided the acne is not cystic in nature.

White Vinegar As Toner

The components are to be mixed in a bowl. Stir to create a mixture and apply over face and neck for 1-2 minutes and rinse with cold water.

Why Does it work?

The acetic acid and organic acid in the vinegar helps to exfoliate skin and make an even skin tone.

How often

It can be applied 2 to 3 times a day according to your requirement.

White Vinegar For Dandruff

Apply 1 to 2 teaspoon Vinegar diluted in a finger bowl over the scalp. Leave it on for 5 minutes and rinse with cold water.

Why does it work?

Vinegar is known for its anti-fungal property and helps reduce dandruff with regular use.

How often

It is recommended to use once a week. Use with caution as the low PH of vinegar due to the acids present can make the hair rough and brittle.

White Vinegar For Sun Burns

Apply a well-diluted mixture over the sunburnt area of skin with a cotton ball or clean gauze and leave it for 1-2 minutes. One may even take a bath by adding a teaspoon of vinegar to the water.

Why does it Work?

The antiseptic properties help cool the skin and prevent blisters. Adding Aloe Vera to the mixture helps sunburns for its soothing properties.

How Often

It can be sprayed over the affected region daily or 2 to 3 times a day.

White Vinegar Razor Bumps

Diluted vinegar has anti-inflammatory properties and can help soothe out razor bumps or even prevent ingrown hair.

Why does it work?

Vinegar has anti-inflammatory property which reduces burn and acetic acid makes the skin softer which helps remove ingrown easily.

How Often

Splash the diluted mixture over the affected area and leave it for air dry. You can use it till it resolves.

White Vinegar for Itchy Skin

In this case, raw vinegar should be used over the affected area and left for 1 minute. It can be used 3 to 4 times daily.

How does it work?

Conditions such as Poison Ivy, bug bite, or fungal infection which may cause the skin to be itchy, can be eased by apple cider vinegar due to its antiseptic, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory property.

How often?

Till rash heals.

White Vinegar for Eliminate Bad Odor

Bathing regularly with white or apple cider vinegar helps reduce bad odor. It is recommended to add a teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar to half a bucket of water.

How it works

It is because of the vinegar’s antibacterial and antifungal properties as the bad odor is due to the presence of bacteria.

How often

You may use it 1-2 times a day.

White Vinegar to Manage Dandruff

Add 2 tsp of apple cider vinegar to a bowl of water and massage into scalp and leave it for 5 minutes.

How does it work?

Dandruff is a fungal condition of the scalp and vinegar helps combat fungal infection by 90%.

How often?

Twice or Thrice a week and can be continued till it resolves.

White Vinegar for Hyper pigmentation & Scar

Add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with 1 teaspoon of rose water and 2 teaspoons of onion juice. Make it into a solution and put it in a spray bottle. It is sprayed over affected spots and left for a while then rinsed with cold water.

How does it work?

Apple cider vinegar has astringent properties and rose water absorbs excess oil along with the vinegar and helps lighten dark patches and age spots.

How Often?

Applying it once a week regularly for 6-8 weeks will help fade pigmentation marks and scar marks.

White Vinegar for Dry and Flaky Skin

Apply 2 teaspoons of olive oil with 1 teaspoon vinegar. Apply the mixture directly to the dry and flaky skin. Leave it on for 10 minutes and wash with warm water.

How does it work?

The moisturizing and cell rejuvenating property of olive oil helps the dry skin and vinegar help in restoring the PH of the skin.

How often

Apply it over dry and flaky skin once a day.

White Vinegar – Wart

Add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with two teaspoons of water. Use a cotton ball and soak it in the mixture. Apply daily over the wart and leave overnight. Continue till the wart falls off.

How does it work?

The acetic acid in the vinegar kills the virus responsible for wart.

Caution

  • Avoid consuming vinegar if one is suffering from acidity or peptic ulcer disease as it may worsen the condition due to its acidic nature.
  • One should always do a patch test before applying a large amount in case of irritation. This means a small amount is applied over a part of the skin and if there is no adverse reaction, only then it is advised to apply over larger areas.
  • While pregnant, always consult a physician before consuming it.
  • If vinegar is used while bathing, one must be cautious while using perfumes as it may further irritate the skin.
  • When using vinegar while using ointments for skin conditions, it must be kept in mind that vinegar can react with the chemicals in the ointment.

Can I drink Apple Cider Vinegar for acne?

There is not much evidence, whether drinking apple cider vinegar helps but using vinegar topically gives better results in the case of acne. Consuming Apple cider vinegar benefits in more than one way.

Adding one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to water helps boost health as it helps in becoming full faster and aids in weight loss and improves gut health. It is advised to mix it with water and dilute it in order to avoid experiencing bouts of acidity.

One with peptic ulcer disease must be cautious as it will only add on to the acidic environment in the body.

Take Home Message

It is better to use everything in moderation when it comes to skin. The diverse characteristics of vinegar whether it is white or apple cider vinegar forces one to outweigh the pros and cons.

Overuse or using vinegar directly on the skin can cause over the stripping of skin cells, making the skin dry, irritating it, and in order to compensate that, the skin produces more sebum clogging pores.

This leads to a further outbreak of acne. It should also be noted that vinegar may not be suitable for sensitive skin hence consulting a dermatologist for acne will always be my first recommendation over any DIYs.

Conclusion

At the same time, the primary benefits of vinegar on the skin cannot be denied and it must be used as recommended to get the best results for acne. At the end of the day, vinegar is known as the cheapest and readily available product stacked up in the cabinet that not only goes with the salad but is known to reduce pigmentation, the appearance of scars, and acne.

Read Related Acne Tips:

  1. Is it OK to Use Hand Sanitizer on Acne?
  2. Is Noxzema Good For Acne?
  3. Does Olive Oil Cause Acne?
  4. Do Acne Scars Go Away?

Hi this is Dr. Rimita Farid. I have completed my MBBS from MAHSA University in Kuala Lampur , Malaysia and currently a registered doctor in Bangladesh. I am training in Dermatology and Venerology and writing for me has been a hobby, even before i decided to be a doctor. I believe our lives are getting stressful with every moment and i believe writing is the solution to all our problems. The power of pen and paper is highly underestimated by many, and i am blessed that i realized how stimulating writing can be for my well being. Hope my articles are relatable and can reach as many readers as possible.