Can You Use Apple Cider Vinegar for Your Face? Surprisingly, Yes

apple cider vinegar for face cat

We know apple cider vinegar can be used as a substitute for white wine and as an effective swap for our go-to shampoo. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the natural ingredient packs a ton of benefits that can keep our skin looking and feeling clean, smooth and healthy. Don’t believe us? Here are four ways to use apple cider vinegar for your face. You’ll thank us later.

What is apple cider vinegar?

ACV is a vinegar created by apples that have undergone the fermentation process. When apples are exposed to yeast, the sugar is turned into alcohol and then bacteria turn the liquid into acetic acid. ACV is rich in proteins, enzymes and acids including malic, amino, acetic and even a popular go-to, alpha hydroxyl acids, aka AHAs.

What are the skincare benefits of using apple cider vinegar?

The multiple compounds found in ACV come together to balance out the skin. From preventing acne to minimizing wrinkles, the liquid has been a trusted beauty staple for centuries. Keep in mind, there are not many published studies that prove these results, but many theories believe that the properties of ACV do provide an array of benefits.

OK, so how do I use ACV to improve my complexion?

There are four ways to incorporate apple cider vinegar into your skincare routine: spot treatment, toner, cleanser and face mask. The best part? All you’ll need is a bottle of ACV and water. Oh, and don’t forget just a bit of patience when using any of the below DIY methods.

1. Spot Treatment

ACV’s antibacterial and antifungal properties make it easy to say buh-bye to annoying pimples while reducing the chances of additional breakouts. A dab of apple cider vinegar can remove any bacteria, oil or dust clogging your pores. Just mix one tablespoon of ACV and two tablespoons of purified water together before soaking it in a cotton pad or ball and applying a small amount to the affected areas. Do this two to three times a week for the best results.

2. Toner

Apple cider vinegar’s astringent properties help maintain the skin’s pH levels. In particular, AHAs work to exfoliate, brighten and smooth the skin. Its properties can remove dead skin cells, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, and help with scarring and pigmentation (such as dark spots or redness).

Combine one tablespoon of ACV with two cups of water, then soak a cotton ball in the mixture and pat it onto your face. You can also fill up a spray bottle with ACV and water, and spray away. (Who doesn’t love a hydrating mist?) Now, ACV doesn’t have the best smell, so it’s totally up to you if you want to add a few drops of an essential oil to give it a more pleasant scent. We’d suggest trying tea treelavender or chamomile. Leave the toner on for one to two minutes before rinsing off with warm water and applying a moisturizer. Start off using this once a week before working it into your daily routine and increasing the time the toner stays on your face, without exceeding 15 minutes.

3. Cleanser

As we mentioned before, ACV does a stellar job at removing excess oil, dirt or product buildup, which is exactly what we also look for in a cleanser. The malic acid found in ACV works to unclog pores, lighten dark spots and overall balance your skin’s pH levels. Just mix one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with ¼ cup of warm water and massage the mixture into your skin. After a few seconds, rinse it off with cool water. You can also add a tablespoon of ACV into almost any cleanser, for the same benefits.

4. Face Mask

Give your skin some TLC with an ACV face mask. Just combine it with another oil-balancing ingredient, like bentonite clay, which helps to tighten, cleanse and tone the skin. Mix two tablespoons of bentonite clay, two tablespoons of water and one tablespoon of ACV together before applying it as a thin layer onto your face. Let it sit for five to 10 minutes for sensitive skin or 15 to 30 minutes for normal skin before rinsing with cool water and applying a moisturizer. Try this face mask bi-weekly, especially if you’re trying bentonite clay for the first time.

Is it really safe to use apple cider vinegar on your face?

While all skin types can benefit from using apple cider vinegar, acne-prone and oily skin should take advantage of this natural product more. However, it can be too acidic for those with sensitive skin and can leave skin feeling dry and irritated. It’s best to do a patch test on your jawline, chin or wrist before trying any of the ways above. If you don’t want to take that risk, consult with your dermatologist or medical provider first.

Why is adding water to ACV so important?

Remember to always, always, always dilute ACV with water before applying it to your face, regardless of skin type. Skipping this skin can result in burning your skin or making breakouts even worse because of the liquid’s acetic acid component (which makes up about six percent but has strong acidic properties). Whether you’re creating a cleanser, toner, spot treatment or face mask, make sure you’re mixing one-part apple cider vinegar with two parts water. Now, how about we head to the kitchen and DIY this thing.

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...