I Tried Using Apple Cider Vinegar To Treat My Acne. 7 Days Later, Here’s How My Skin Changed

Sundy He by Sundy He
Sundy is a proud Brooklyn native and lover of all things food and makeup.

If you’ve ever had acne, then you know how annoying it is. Acne is also usually accompanied by acne scars, which can stay visible on your face for months, or even years.

It can feel like you’re stuck in an endless loop until you finally find a routine that doesn’t make you break out even more than you already are.

Unfortunately, I haven’t found that skin-care routine yet. Don’t get me wrong, my skin has improved a lot, but it’s still not 100% clear. So I started looking into natural remedies for acne after exhausting numerous cleansers and not getting the results I wanted. Along the way, I decided to try apple cider vinegar for acne.

I’ve seen apple cider vinegar (or ACV) used as a remedy for so many things, including skin tags, itchy feet, UTIs, and even weight loss, all the while wondering if it could actually help out my skin. It’s received mixed reviews, so I wasn’t really sure what to think. But at this point, I’m willing to try anything I can for my skin, even this funny-smelling stuff.

I decided to test apple cider vinegar for acne for a week. Keep scrolling to see how it went!

What Is Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar
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Apple cider vinegar is the result of fermenting apple cider or apple must. According to Boots WebMD, the alcohol in apple cider is further broken down by yeast and bacteria to turn it into vinegar.

How Does Apple Cider Vinegar Help Acne?

Is apple cider vinegar and water the cure for acne
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The main benefit of apple cider vinegar for acne is its ability to fight bacteria. Healthline states that “apple cider vinegar contains acetic, citric, lactic, and succinic acid, all of which have been shown to kill [Propionibacterium acnes] or P. acnes,” which is the primary bacteria that causes acne. These acids can also help with the prevention of acne scars by reducing inflammation and smoothing out texture and pigmentation.

How To Use Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne

Spray toner onto cotton pad
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The most popular method I found was making an easy apple cider vinegar toner for acne. Here’s a recipe from

  1. Mix 1 part apple cider vinegar with 2 parts water. For more sensitive skin, mix in more water, up to a 1:4 ratio.
  2. Patch-test the toner on a small area of skin to check for any irritation. Avoid use if dramatic reactions occur, or adjust the ratio.
  3. Use a cotton pad to apply the toner to freshly washed skin.
  4. Allow the toner to dry and follow with moisturizer.
  5. Repeat 1 to 2 times a day.

Remember to always dilute apple cider vinegar. Applying or drinking apple cider vinegar alone can cause burns, Healthline warns.

Before Using Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne

Before using apple cider vinegar for acne
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My biggest skin problem has always been my hyper-pigmentation, where acne develops into a deeper red or dark tone after healing. Even if I’m not breaking out too much, I’m left with the marks to remind me of the past. I had a couple of larger breakouts on my chin, my cheeks, and along my jawline. Fun, right? I also have marks throughout my face from recent acne breakouts and ones from months ago.

I’ve found the greatest success with tea tree oil, and I hope apple cider vinegar can do the same or even better.

Using Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne
Day 1

Skeptical of apple cider vinegar for acne
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First impressions: Apple cider vinegar has a really strong smell, and not in a good way. If you’re using apple cider vinegar for the acne on your face, be prepared to have that scent right up in your nose for a good minute.

I didn’t feel any burning, but after the toner dried, my skin was in dire need of moisture. I have pretty oily skin, so it’s not too much of a problem in the long run, but if you have dry skin, I don’t think this would be best acne remedy for you.

After sleeping on it, one larger pimple popped on its own. This surprised me, since it didn’t look close to ripe the night before. A couple of the smaller blemishes got flatter, but none are completely dried up. However, I noticed a few whiteheads had also appeared on my chin.

Day 2

Is the apple cider vinegar working for acne
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On the second day, my boyfriend pointed out that my skin looked a lot better. I was also wearing makeup when he saw me, so who knows how accurate that statement was. It’s nice to know he noticed a change, though.

Most pimples were flattening out, so my skin texture was looking smoother overall.

Day 3

Day 3 of apple cider vinegar for acne
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Those whiteheads that popped up on the first day were gone, and my cheeks looked more even in texture. I didn’t see much of a difference in my hyper-pigmentation. The discoloration was still noticeable and hadn’t faded noticeably.

Though the acne was settling down, it was developing dry patches over the pimples, which was an annoying development.

Day 4

New whiteheads on chin
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What was particularly strange were the breakouts on my forehead. I haven’t had severe acne on my forehead since high school, but for some reason, these small bumps were staring to appear. It made me wonder if the apple cider vinegar was helping my acne or making it worse.

A couple of whiteheads popped up again on my chin, too.

Day 5

Confused whether apple cider vinegar works for acne or not
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By day five, the bumps were flattening out, but still visible. I was still breaking out with fresh pimples joining the club, and was definitely starting to question to “benefits” of apple cider vinegar for acne.

Day 6

New pimple popping up on cheek
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I noticed a new, large pimple on my left cheek, but the news wasn’t all bad: the right side of my face was feeling a lot smoother, though it didn’t really look that different in tone.

The bumps on my forehead started evening out and did not look as strange as they did earlier in the week, but I also felt a fresh blemish coming up on my forehead.

Day 7

Day 7 using apple cider vinegar for acne
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On the last day, I became a unicorn.

I’m just kidding, but that pimple I mentioned on day six really started to make an appearance under the skin.

Before And After Using Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne

Before and after using apple cider vinegar for acne
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So does apple cider vinegar work for acne? Yes, but not after prolonged use.

Would I recommend using ACV for acne? I wouldn’t recommend using it every day in a week. It worked best during the first couple of days — then it started to go down hill. If you’re having a bad skin moment, using the apple cider vinegar toner for two to three days and it might help.

What kind of skin is ACV good for? I don’t think this would be good for drier skin types. As I mentioned earlier, my skin felt like a desert after the ACV dried. My oily skin didn’t really like it, so I doubt dry skin types would love it. That being said, if you’re looking for other natural acne-fighting remedies, check out my experiment with tea tree oil for acne.

If you’re sensitive to smells, apple cider vinegar is probably not for you. It’s a pungent scent, and having it so close to your nose is not going to be fun.

Looking at the “before” and “after” pics, you can see my hyper-pigmentation has faded. The apple cider vinegar prevented scarring when my acne spots healed. It always helps to use sunscreen every morning, too.

So what do you think? Did the apple cider vinegar help or harm my skin? Don’t forget to SHARE if you’re looking to try it out yourself!