Acne is a very common skin disease. In fact, it is the most common skin condition in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. People of all races and ages get acne, but it is most common in teenagers and young adults.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, an estimated 80% of all people between the ages of 11 and 30 experience acne outbreaks at some point. Some people get acne even in their forties and fifties.
Causes and Risk Factors
This skin disease affects the oil glands. You can have an acne breakout when the pores on your skin become blocked with oil, dead skin, and/or bacteria.
Acne is usually caused by:
- Excess oil secretion by the follicles
- Accumulation of dead skin cells in the skin pores
- Bacteria buildup in the skin pores
There are also certain risk factors that make your skin more prone to acne breakouts. Such risk factors include:
- Hormonal changes or imbalances in the body caused by a variety of things, such as puberty and pregnancy
- Use of certain medications, such as certain birth control pills and corticosteroids
- High intake of refined sugars or carbohydrates
- Family history of acne
- Use of greasy makeup
- Improper skin care or inadequate cleansing
Tips for Acne Prevention
Mostly, acne is found on the face, neck, back, chest, and shoulders. Although acne is not a serious health threat, it can cause scars and affect your self-confidence.
- Clean your skin gently by using a mild oil-free cleanser in the morning, evening, and after heavy workouts.
- Avoid scrubbing your skin harshly as it can make the problem worse.
- Try not to touch your skin frequently especially with dirty hands as this will only introduce bacteria to your skin.
- Avoid squeezing, pinching, or picking acne as these can lead to scars or dark spots on the skin.
- Limit your exposure to the sun and always apply a sunscreen before going out.
- Choose your makeup carefully. Oil-based makeup can cause breakouts for people who are prone to acne. Purchase oil-free foundations instead.
- When buying makeup products, look for the word “noncomedogenic” on the label, which means that the makeup will not clog your pores.
- Always remove makeup, dirt, and oil from your skin thoroughly before bed with a good skin care regimen.
People with acne often try out different things to improve the appearance of their skin – from medications for acne and use of facial toners to specific diets.
While some available treatments and medications are beneficial for treating acne, some are not.
Fortunately, there is one treatment that can help you deal with acne. This treatment is apple cider vinegar!
Apple Cider Vinegar for Acne
Due to the acid content as well as the natural vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients in it, apple cider vinegar is a safe and effective treatment for acne.
- The antibacterial and antiseptic properties of apple cider vinegar act to remove bacteria in your skin and cleanse acne-prone areas.
- The pH value of 3 of apple cider vinegar helps restore your skin’s natural pH level, thus preventing the growth of microbes on the skin that can cause acne.
- The acetic, citric, lactic, and succinic acid present in apple cider vinegar help kill P. acnes, a type of bacteria that contribute to the development of acne.
A 2002 study published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology reports that people who applied lactic acid lotion to their faces twice a day for one year experienced a significant reduction in acne, while only two people experienced less than 50% improvement.
Another 2010 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology found that lactic acid can improve the texture, pigmentation, and appearance of the skin of individuals with superficial acne scars.
Here’s how you can use apple cider vinegar to treat acne.
1. Topical Application for Acne
The alpha hydroxy acids in apple cider vinegar have antiaging effects.
It helps unclog skin pores and dissolve dead skin cells, resulting in the quick drying out of the acne. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of apple cider vinegar help treat acne.
- Mix 1 part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 2 parts filtered water in a bowl.
- Soak a cotton ball in this solution and apply it on the acne-affected skin.
- Allow it to sit for about 10 minutes.
- Then, rinse it off with warm water.
- Reapply a few times daily for a few days.
2. Skin Toner for Acne Prevention
Thanks to its astringent properties, apple cider vinegar helps combat skin oiliness, which can cause acne breakouts. The alpha hydroxy acids help increase blood flow to the skin and shrink large pores.
- Mix ½ cup each of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and distilled water.
- You may also add a few drops of an essential oil, such as lavender oil.
- Apply this solution on the affected skin using a cotton ball.
- Leave it on for 5 minutes, and then rinse it off with cool water.
- You can use this once or twice a day.
Store the remaining solution in an airtight container and shake well before each use.
3. Warm Compress for Acne
Applying a warm compress on the affected area is another remedy for acne. The heat from the warm compress promotes blood circulation to the area and helps draw out bacteria and pus from the skin pores. These, in turn, speed up the healing process and help reduce the pain associated with acne.
- Mix ½ cup raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar into 2 cups of warm water.
- Soak a washcloth in this solution and wring out the excess liquid.
- Apply the warm compress on the affected area for 10 minutes.
- When it starts cooling down, apply a fresh one.
- Do this a few times a day.
4. Oral Use for Acne Prevention
Apple cider vinegar helps remove toxins from the body. This, in turn, helps prevent excess oil secretion and acne breakouts. Also, it restores the natural pH of your skin.
- Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of organic apple cider vinegar to a glass of water.
- Add a little honey and lemon juice to it and mix properly.
- Drink this once or twice daily to improve your skin as well as overall health.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar Mask for Acne
You can use apple cider vinegar to make a mask to get rid of dead skin cells. It can help clean the skin’s pores and remove unwanted particles. The accumulation of dead skin cells in the pores is one of the reasons behind acne breakouts.
- In a bowl, put 1 teaspoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar.
- Next, add 2 teaspoons of cooled green tea, 5 teaspoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of raw honey.
- Mix properly the ingredients properly.
- Apply the mixture on the acne using circular motions.
- Leave it on for 10 minutes, and then rinse it off with water.
- Use this remedy once a week.
- Perform a patch test before using any of the above remedies for getting rid of acne to make sure that apple cider vinegar is suitable for your skin.
- Always use raw, unfiltered apple cider as it contains the “mother” – strands of proteins, enzymes, and friendly bacteria that give the product a murky appearance. It is the “mother” that makes apple cider vinegar very healthy.
- Due to its high acidity, you must always dilute apple cider vinegar with water before applying it to the skin. Direct application of apple cider vinegar may result in skin damage and burns, especially if you have sensitive skin or open wounds.
- Do not leave apple cider vinegar on the skin for long periods of time. Shorter periods of skin contact will not cause damage to the skin.
- Do not use apple cider vinegar on sensitive skin or open wounds as it could result in pain and further skin damage.
- If you apply apple cider vinegar to your skin and feel a burning sensation, try diluting it with more water. Stop using it if the burning sensation persists.
- Acne. Acne | American Academy of Dermatology. https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/acne-and-rosacea/acne. Accessed October 16, 2018.
- Acne: Overview. U.S. National Library of Medicine – The World’s Largest Medical Library. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072395/. Published July 28, 2016.
- Skin care for acne-prone skin. Skip to search Skip to main content U.S. National Library of Medicine – The World’s Largest Medical Library. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072392/. Published July 28, 2016.
- Garg T, Ramam M, Pasricha JS, Verma KK. Long term topical application of lactic acid/lactate lotion as a preventive treatment for acne vulgaris. Indian journal of dermatology, venereology and leprology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17656910. Published 2002.
- Sachdeva S. Lactic acid peeling in superficial acne scarring in Indian skin. Journal of cosmetic dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20883299. Published September 2010.
- Tran D, Townley JP, Barnes TM, Greive KA. An antiaging skin care system containing alpha hydroxy acids and vitamins improves the biomechanical parameters of facial skin. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4277239/. Published 2015.