Natural Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne

| Modified on Sep 17, 2023

Apple cider vinegar is an wonderful natural cure for acne. The rashes and inflammations are healed due to the antibacterial and antiseptic properties of ACV. In addition, the skin is safely and effectively cleansed, restoring the natural pH balance so important for healthy skin. Organic apple cider vinegar is often called a cure-all, and this acne remedy is one of our favorite natural treatments.

The Problems with Acne Treatment Creams

The array of acne treatments is quite diverse. Many of those creams share the same problem, however,they contain harsh ingredients that actually hurt more than help. Salicylic acid as well as a number of other agents are frequently used to treat acne, and these ingredients work effectively, many times too effectively. These agents typically function to dry the skin, causing inflammation and irritation rather than just eliminating acne.

Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne

The treatment for a diverse assortment of conditions, apple cider vinegar is also effective for treating acne. With its acid content as well as its natural vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, apple cider vinegar is a safe, effective treatment that replenishes as it corrects.

How ACV works:

Apple cider vinegar functions in a number of ways to treat acne. The vinegar has both antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which act to remove bacteria in the skin and cleanse acne prone areas. The vinegar also naturally balances the skin. Apple cider vinegar has a pH of 3, which functions to help restore the skin's natural pH level. Organic and raw apple cider vinegar is preferable to filtered, if you are able to locate it in your part of the world.

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar:

Apple cider vinegar is typically used as a toner when treating acne and acne prone skin. To do so, clean and sterilize a bottle for storing the toner. Then, pour 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar and 1/2 cup of water into the glass container. Shake the bottle to mix the solution. After you have created the solution, pour a small amount on a cotton ball and swipe the cotton ball over the skin after washing it to cleanse.

Dealing with acne and acne prone skin is a delicate balance. Apple cider vinegar, one of our favorite natural remedies helps establish and maintain this balance, relieving acne, inflammation, and other skin issues all at the same time. Continue reading below for User Reviews from more than 75 Earth Clinic readers who have reported their experiences using apple cider vinegar specifically for acne! Tried this remedy? Please share your experience with us!

Related Links:

12 Proven Natural Remedies for Acne
Acne Rosacea Remedies
Glowing Skin Remedies
Natural Remedies for Body Acne

81 User Reviews

5 star (62) 
4 star (4) 
3 star (2) 
1 star (11) 

Posted by Chantal (Kingston, Jamaica) on 08/03/2017

I have been using apple cider vinegar and baking soda mixed with water on my face for a month now and it has work to the extreme for me. I use to have acne all over my face, now my face is spotless and smooth. I myself never thought I would see this day as I have tried so many products to correct these scars.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Jessica (California) on 04/09/2015

After suffering from adult acne and melasma for several years, and spending thousands of dollars at my dermatologist's office I was about to give up on ever having nice skin again. Then a friend mentioned that she had been using ACV as a toner, so I decided to give it a try. I am so thankful that I did! I used a 50/50 solution of ACV (with "the mother" in it) and water on a cotton ball twice per day after washing my face. My acne dried up within a week, my pores shrank, and two overactive oil glands that were on my face shrunk as well! I had my two acne prone teenage boys try it as well and they were clear within a week too! While it didn't help my melasma, I highly recommend this inexpensive acne solution for adults and teens.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Konica (New Zealand) on 05/01/2014

Apple Cider vinegar is an amazing home remedy that I wish I had known about for 20 years before I found it. I have suffered from acne that I believe to be related to hormones (as no dietary change or topical treatment seemed to work) since I was about 12. It is only in the last few years I have been able to stave off the pimples, and it is because of Apple Cider Vinegar, taken internally. I only need about 1 tablespoon a day, I take it in a large glass of water, with a little juice. I also take a krill oil supplement, which I think also helps greatly, but the ACV made the biggest difference initially. It also makes a big difference to my hayfever allergy, and my energy levels, which I think are all related anyway. I have 3 children, and I am really hoping I can help them if they are unfortunate enough to inherit my terrible skin issues, though this amazing website. I always look here for cures for anything first!!!

Thank you Earth Clinic for providing the forum for sharing wonderful wisdom!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Anna (Glendale, California) on 10/01/2013

I have pimply skin and found the apple cider vinegar remedy while searching for acne home remedies. For the past 2 weeks, I have been drinking 2 teaspoons in a glass of warm water twice a day and I am also applying ACV at night. I leave it on for 3 minutes and then wash it off. My skin looks so much better, I can't believe it. My skin has a pink healthy glow!!!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Haler (West Coast, Ca, Usa) on 05/11/2013

Surprise of surprises! I use a few drops of ACV in my 6 oz juice glass each morning. I accidentally added some to my teenager's glass. "Wow mom this tastes so great! What is it?" He was happy as a lark on the drive in to school. Between ACV, shredded coconut (I skillet toast it), and once in awhile garlic capsules in the morning or small mug of to drink of hot lemon juice plus honey before bedtime, his acne is clearing and his moodiness is all gone.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Clare (London, England) on 08/01/2012

I have started taking Aplle Cyder vinegar for acne on my back, is this the right kind to take? I went to Holland and Barret and I couldn't see any with 'mother' in it. I mix 4 cap full with a glass of water twice a day.

Also it is only my second day and I have a headache, which I never normally suffer from. Do you think this is a sign that my body is detoxing?

Replied by Gena
(Pasadena, Ca, Usa)

Yes, a headache is often a sign of detoxing. Make sure to drink plenty of water. Also, you can cut back on the amount of ACV you take. Sounds like you started off with quite a high dosage. Any apple cider vinegar will work, but try to find an organic one that is unpasteurized. Good luck!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Nat (Bridgewater, Va) on 05/03/2012

NAY - my wife tried ACV both topically and internally for acne, with no result. In fact, her breakouts are worse then ever before at this moment.

She will be trying peroxide next, but if that fails, it looks like a trip to the doctor.

Replied by Mila
(Rolla, Mo)

Drinking ACV can cause a cleansing reaction (including more acne, but only temporarily). You might try cutting back on the amount of vinegar she is drinking (maybe in half) for a couple of weeks and then start ramping it up again. Unless she is having an allergic reaction, I would at least try it for 2 or 3 months. I hope she gets past this soon :-) Lord bless you both!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Eva (San Diego, California, United States) on 03/04/2012

I have been desperate for a relatively cheap, effective, holistic cure for acne. I have had acne since high school -- I'm almost 30 now -- and tried almost everything (I refused the most extreme) and spent tons of money on different products to get rid of it. No one knows the psychological effects of bad skin until they've had it. After a particularly bad and long-lasting breakout I came across this page looking for anything that might help. Last weekend, I read the different comments about ACV and decided a $5 product was at least worth the try. I was frankly not optimistic.

One week later, I am here to advise anyone and everyone to try it or at least consider it. I am shocked at the amazing results I have seen so far. My face has cleared up CONSIDERABLY, my giant cystic acne (the biggest - about 1. 5 cm across - had been hanging out for about 2 weeks and looked like a blood blister) along my chin line is nearly gone, and I am receiving lots of comments about how great my skin is looking! SEVEN days later!

Here's what I've done:

I went to a local store that carries organic food and bought an organic, filtered, unpasteurized raw Apple Cider Vinegar with "the mother" in it.

The first day I used a toner of straight ACV on a cotton round, and doused a q-tip with ACV to hold on the largest acne for around 20 seconds each (this will sting just a bit but not like some other products I've used)

Since then: I use a very popular acne face wash, a toner of half filtered water/half ACV, and finish with a repairing lotion from the same line as the face wash. Morning and night. I have used oil-control moisturizer a few times when it felt necessary. I've also continued to put straight ACV on a q-tip and held it to the largest acne every few days.

I drink 2 tbsp. Of straight ACV morning and night. This is the hardest part. I don't drink juice, but did have some soda water that I drank immediately afterward that seemed to cut the horribleness. I also put a drop of honey in my mouth afterward a few times to deal with the aftertaste. I take it just like a shot to get it done with because sipping it in water almost made me vomit. Don't take it on an empty stomach because it made me feel queasy (I DO have a sensitive stomach, no vitamins or supplements without food in there). The 2 or 3 minutes of this awfulness has definitely been worth it in the long run.

I would really encourage you to try this if you have been struggling to find anything that actually WORKS. I have sensitive, combination skin and was very concerned that this would play out like some of the products I've used and just burn my skin and make it red and chapped. My skin looks brighter, more translucent, and the redness from older scarring has gone way down. My littler pimples and blackheads seem to be nearly gone, and I just seem to have a few different areas where the acne was deep under the skin and is working its way out. I am totally impressed with this remedy and want to say THANK YOU to all the people who have shared their stories here and to for hosting these stories. Thank you so much everyone, and I hope this story can help others like me!

Replied by Nan

Hi Eva--Congrats on your success! Wonderful. I know how you feel--I had cystic acne for 25 years. (Gone now as I'm 47, although I still can't use regular moisturizers or creams. ) But good that you are getting a handle on it now. I'm writing to share possible tips for you. I recently started oil-pulling with coconut oil and noticed that after 7 days, any blackheads are almost completely gone. Since oil-pulling is great for anti-viral properties, this could be a nice easy addition to your anti-acne routine.

Also, for older acne scars, I've found that straight Goldenseal (liquid tincture for about $6-12) has really faded old scars on my face. I used it on a q-tip. It will be gold-colored on your face, so you'll want to use it at night, probably! Let it dry or it will stain your pillow..... All the best to you Eva!

Replied by Grateful
(Southfield, Michigan, Usa)

Hi Eva, congratulations on your success! You mentioned, however, that you are drinking apple cider vinegar straight twice a day. I wanted to mention to you that I have read in numerous places on EarthClinic that drinking it straight will damage the enamel on your teeth (and for that same reason you should not brush your teeth immediately after consuming apple cider vinegar). I wanted to suggest that you dilute the apple cider vinegar in 8 oz of water and drink it that way (or even 16 oz of water if you're taking two tablespoons of ACV). I know it will take longer to consume that way than just a quick swallow, but your teeth will thank you -- your teeth will be as pretty as your skin! Best of luck to you!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Jobomb (Mill Creek, Wa) on 10/07/2011

I have tried it last night my 8-9 pimples are already gone! I cannot believe how wonderful this works! I have done accutane and it worked but it came back! Also nothing has worked faster! Miracle from god!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Karen H. (Greenwood, Mi) on 08/31/2011

I have been told by a dermatologist about 10 years ago that I had seborrheic dermatitis/adult acne and I was given tetracycline and dermatop and a special moistering lotion and was told to use cetaphil soap because its soppose to be mild. July of this year I went to my doctor and got a script for doxysysline and metro gel for rosacea I used it for two weeks and had no results so I quit using it.

I came across this site when my dog had a uti and read about ACV and tea tree oil. So I gave it a try I used tea tree oil for 3 or 4 days, it burned but I just fanned my face for about 10 minutes. I did this twice a day morning and night then my skin started to peel, it was thick and scaly so then I started using organic ACV and water 50/50 and I have now been doing this for about the last 4/5 days and my face is 80 to 90% better I don't have to wear make-up to cover it up although my skin still feels a bit tight and dry I will continue with the ACV. I also take ACV in a glass with juice, about one tablespoon a day. Thanks for all of everyones imput as it has helped me.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Gigi (Los Angeles, Ca) on 06/06/2011


I was amazed how well ACV worked on my acne. I have facial acne backne for about 16 years. I began drinking diluted ACV and noticed results the very next day! 2 weeks later, my face and chest completely cleared up! Now 3 weeks into it, break outs began, glow is gone, and 2 cysts formed. Every time a remedy starts to work, soon enough, my skin learns to overcome the cure and breaks out again. I am wondering if anyone else has experienced this? I will continue to drink the ACV and keep applying it because I like it, but my hope is gone.

Replied by Cselestyna
(Alberta, Canada)

It could be the body detoxing itself.

Replied by Pam
(Pine Island, Mn)

Keep doing your normal routine that has been helping, but if you detox too much or too fast your body can't keep up, give it a break and don't use it for a week, and then try again.

Replied by Charlotte
(Appalachia, Usa)

This is just a non-professional guess, here, but I would think if you were consistent with the ACV and your acne did get better before getting worse, that would be a strong sign that the root cause of your acne is hormonal. The ACV is just helping clear lesions faster, but isn't preventing them from forming.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Meangreenapple (Brooklyn, Ny) on 04/24/2011

ACV is one the best gifts from nature!! I wish so many more people knew about this natural remedy for so many ailments like acne. For me I had to deal with Acne since my teenage years up until my adulthood and it was cystic acne, very painful and very embarassing and so many dermatologists and antibiotics and topical creams and birth control pills did not remove the problem but just lessened it by a litttle bit but it would come back with a vengeance! I was giving up hope and my self esteem was very low because of my face.

Then I came across apple cider vinegar and all the good comments about it and I started drinking it and using it as a toner on my skin (diluted of course) and my face and my back and my skin in general is so much better! And im not taking all those medications with horrible side effects anymore, apple cider vinegar is seriously a miracle I wish someone told me about it when I was younger. Your skin is a reflection of what is going on inside your body and apple cider vinegar cleanses it on the outside and also applying it on your skin helps kill all the bacteria and takes the oils out. People with persistent severe painful cystic acne dont give up hope!! Do detox cleanses and Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the best ways to cleanse yourself. 2 teaspoons in a cup of water 3x a day or adjust it however you like and keep it up. I'll be taking it the rest of my life.

Replied by Tracey
(Glasgow, Uk)

Hi, my daughter is 19 & suffers from acne to her face, jawline & back - it's really starting to get her down. After reading the comments on this thread she started taking ACV (1tbl x 2 daily) and also 1tsp black molasses (for good measure) - to date, nothing has improved.

She can't take her ACV in water as she hates the taste & so has it in OJ - do you think this is really making any difference? Any help/suggestions would be really appreciated!!

Replied by Jennifer
(Chicago, Il)

Avoid dairy, that is a huge acne trigger for teens.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Rhonda ( Columbus, Ohio) on 01/31/2011

i read the Remedies on using raw apple cider vinegar for acne. I already had some of the acv in the fridge so I tried it as well as my daughter and within 24 hours they were 40% better, 48 hours 60% better.. Now they are flat with just a pink cast. I figured in about 1 or 2 days They will be gone. This really works. Do not waste your money on expensive things on tv or the drug store. For under 5.00 the ACV does the trick.. Yes you will go to bed smelling like a pickle, but its worth it!

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Dawn (Wildwood, Mo) on 01/18/2011

I am getting acne on my jawline, which I know is hormonal. I have noticed that I seem to have a bit of a sensitivity to the ACV and it seems like these come out when I do that. I know sometimes you break out worse at first and then it goes away, that is not the case here! I have tested it and I definitely can pinpoint it to the ACV. Is anyone else having an issue with this or is there anything I can do to get rid of them? They are the cyst like ones, they hurt and take a long time to go away!

Replied by Abi
(San Francisco, Ca)

I had this same problem (with the painful breakouts on the jawline). After some research, I realized it was a food allergy to wheat. Once I cut out food that contained unbleached wheat flour, I noticed a huge difference (no more jawline breakouts). I also used tinctures of burdock root, yellow dock root, dandelion and red clover as adjuncts to the new diet regimen. These tinctures are known for their blood cleansing properties. I hope this helps.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Posted by Amber (Akron, Pa, Usa) on 11/21/2010

I've always had acne-prone skin, but in my early 30's, I was hit with sudden, horrible, cystic acne. I read books, websites, changed my diet, changed my cleansing--i tried everything natural I heard about, and nothing worked. Finally, I found this website and tried apple cider vinegar, and my skin was improved the very next day. Within about a week, I was no longer getting cystic acne. After a year, i'd stopped taking the ACV, and my skin broke out again. So I'm back on my ACV regimen, and my skin improved overnight, again. Amazing cure--easy, cheap and healthy. I put a splash of ACV in a tall glass of water, and drink two or three glasses per day.