What Are the Effects of Vinegar on the Skin?

Jar containing soaked egg shell in apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar, here with a soaked eggshell, is used in many home remedies for itchy skin. (Image: ThamKC/iStock/Getty Images)

Vinegar, particularly apple cider vinegar, is often used as a topical home remedy for skin conditions. According to the book "Jude's Herbal Home Remedies," vinegar can treat a wide variety of issues, including dry skin, burns and blemishes. The acid in vinegar neutralizes irritating compounds that make you uncomfortable, allowing your skin to heal properly.

Dry Skin

Apple cider vinegar helps heal itchy, dry skin by normalizing the pH balance of its surface. "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Household Solutions" recommends treating dry skin by applying undiluted apple cider vinegar to the area with a cotton ball.

If the irritated skin is near your eyes, dilute 1/4 cup of vinegar in 1 cup of warm water and pat it onto your skin. "Natural Healing Wisdom and Know How" says you can also add 2 to 3 cups of apple cider vinegar to your bath water and take a long soak in the solution if your dry skin is widespread or you have a rash.

Burns

Apple cider vinegar neutralizes the sting of minor burns and helps them heal more quickly by reducing the swelling. If you burn yourself frequently, it may pay off to keep a bottle of apple cider vinegar in the refrigerator. The chilled liquid soothes burns more quickly.

"Jude's Herbal Home Remedies" says to immerse the burn in either cold or room-temperature apple cider vinegar until the stinging sensation fades. Then, soak a cotton ball in the vinegar, place it over the burn and loosely bandage the area.

Blemishes

Swollen, painful pimples are a hallmark of acne. Apple cider vinegar neutralizes some of the burning, reduces swelling and redness and helps prevent infection, making it a natural choice to treat blemishes.

"The Complete Idiot's Guide to Household Solutions" offers a vinegar-based treatment recipe for blemishes. Mix 2 tsp. of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of warm water and pat a cloth or cotton ball soaked in the solution on your pimples after washing your face. Repeat the treatment several times daily.

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