Read This Before Putting Apple Cider Vinegar On Your Face
by Thatiana Diaz
Today, we can find apple cider vinegar — or ACV, as it’s called for short — in not just salad dressings and “health tonics,” but also DIY recipes embracing the ingredient the way Cleopatra did: as a skin-care treatment for a clear, balanced, acne-free complexion. “Apple cider vinegar has been used by many to treat a number of conditions,” says board-certified dermatologist Lian Mack, MD. Anecdotally, “numerous websites and blogs attest to the efficacy of it in improving acne and discoloration.”
Apple Cider Vinegar For Acne
But as appealing as ACV might sound, the potency of the product carries its own risks — especially if you have sensitive skin.
Apple Cider Vinegar Side Effects
Just like too much ACV in a dressing can ruin a salad, because of the high acidity, overdoing the stuff in your beauty routine can damage your skin. “Apple cider vinegar, although a natural ingredient, can do serious harm if used in excess,” says Dr. Mack. “It lowers the pH of the skin, which can ultimately cause a chemical burn.”
With that said, Dr. Fichtel and Dr. Mack both stress that those with extremely sensitive skin will do better avoiding ACV altogether. “I would not recommend this for patients with sensitive or dry skin,” Dr. Mack says. “Due to its acidic nature, malic acid is innately irritating. People who have very dry skin, eczema, or even facial redness or rosacea may experience flare-ups of their conditions and are more likely to develop a contact allergy.”
Apple Cider Vinegar Uses
There’s also the lowest-risk option of investing in store-bought skin-care products that contain ACV, or malic acid, as part of a stabilized, regulated formula. “When used in the right concentration, malic acid can be safely used to reduce the signs of aging, acne, and pigmentation,” Dr. Mack says.
So, before you reach for the two-liter jug in the condiment aisle, consider the fact that ACV’s efficacy may be outweighed by the potential for skin damage. The high acidity isn’t something you should mess around with, and at the end of the day, the ingredient’s strength isn’t always a good thing — whether you’re drinking it, washing your hair with it, or putting it on your face to make like an Egyptian queen.
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