Apple cider vinegar has been touted by DIYers as a great cure for acne. There is some reason behind this, as it does contain acids that can kill acne causing bacteria and remove dead skin cells. However, can this common kitchen product actually get rid of acne?
Apple cider vinegar will likely not get rid of your acne, and improper usage can likely irritate and damage skin. Though it contains alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), an ingredient that does have acne fighting powers, it is a highly concentrated source of this acid. Applying apple cider vinegar directly to your face may cause redness and even burns on sensitive skin.
With the right concentrations, AHAs can be very effective for alleviating acne. In addition, the best acne treatments also include natural ingredients, though they must be carefully balanced with scientific ingredients as well.
Also read: How to choose the best acne treatment
Rumors About Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, has a reputation for being a wonder ingredient. It is natural, can be easily purchased at any grocery store, and has been used as a home remedy for many ailments (not just acne).
For this reason, many have begun to look towards its acidic properties in hopes that it can cure acne. It is thought that because ACV contains acids like acetic acid and citric acid, it can be used to dissolve dead skin cells and reduce bacteria like other face cleansers. On top of this, many think that, since it is a natural product, using ACV for acne will be better for your skin than "harsh chemicals".
While many of the above statements are true, apple cider vinegar for acne may not be the best skin solution. Here is why apple cider vinegar should be left in the kitchen.
Dangers of Using Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne
While apple cider vinegar is a natural ingredient with acidic properties, these acids, left unbalanced, can severely harm skin.
The acids found in ACV, acetic and citric, are extremely potent and found at high concentrations in the vinegar. Even after making a diluted solution, these acids may actually cause burns if left on the skin too long. If they don't burn your skin, they may still cause dryness, redness, and leave your skin more reactive than it was before.
Individuals with acne prone skin seek out chemical exfoliants like these acids to remove dead skin cells and bacteria, but it has been proven by peer reviewed studies that ACV did not change or alleviate the presence of bacteria on skin when applied at a healthy concentration.
The acidic quality of apple cider vinegar, even organic apple cider vinegar, can potentially alter your skin's pH balance.Your skin's natural pH levels are between 4.7 and 5.75, while apple cider vinegar has a pH of around 2-3. With a 1 on the scale being the most acidic, and a 7 being completely neutral, that means that apple cider vinegar is more acidic than your skin.
While the P. acnes bacteria (or Propionibacterium acnes) in excess may cause acne, your skin barrier also has an entire ecosystem of beneficial bacteria that we don't want to throw out of balance. These bacteria on the outer layer of human skin, referred to as the microbiome, have a very important role in training your body's immune system, which is so complex that scientists still don't completely understand it.
Killing bacteria that are beneficial for your skin and disrupting your skin's natural pH level can lead to inflammation. Inflammation happens when your immune system rushes to the individual blemishes causing them to swell, further blocking your pores. This can quickly turn mild acne into severe acne.
When you use an ingredient like ACV, you run the risk of chemical burns and increased skin sensitivity without truly clearing up your breakouts.
What to Look Out for Instead
To an extent, bacteria cause acne. But it is only one specific bacteria and even then it must exist in excess.
Because acne vulgaris has so many causes, only going after one of those causes will not get rid of your acne.
You need ingredients that:
Reduce acne-causing bacteria gently enough so as to heal acne without disrupting the beneficial bacteria that serve the skin barrier function. One example of this ingredient is benzoyl peroxide, which is found in Exposed Skincare Facial Cleanser and Acne Treatment Serum
Open and clear blocked pores. The Exposed Clearing Tonic contains glycolic acid, which can unclog pores and reveal new layers of healthier skin
Clear away dead skin cells that block pores and excess oil (sebum) that provides sustenance for P. acnes. Salicylic acid unclogs dead skill cells from pores and is found in the Exposed Skincare Facial Cleanser and overnight Clear Pore Serum
Don't cause inflammation or damage your skin
It can be a great idea to incorporate natural ingredients into your skincare regimen. However, using apple cider vinegar in DIY treatments can actually do more harm than good. At Exposed Skincare, we utilize both natural and scientific ingredients to create a regimen that you can trust and that will work for your skin type.
Be sure to check out products that have dermatologist-approved concentrations of alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) as well as other beneficial acids like BHAs and PHAs. In addition, seek out products that utilize the healing and soothing properties of natural ingredients in a safe and tested manner. Ingredients like aloe vera and tea tree oil can be great for skin when balanced with scientific ingredients.
Take our quiz today to get a personalized regimen that combines science and nature to truly get rid of acne. You have our word that your kit will take care of your acne in 30 days, or we guarantee your money back. That's how much we trust the quality of what we offer.