The Purely Primal Skincare Blog

{Fix your skin. Naturally!}

This post was first published in 2011. It has been updated and republished.

Unfiltered, organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV for short) is an amazing part of any skin care routine.

It doesn’t matter if you like to spend a little more or you LOVE to save money (ACV is cheap, cheap, cheap) – ACV is something I recommend to absolutely everyone. It’s just that good, and even expensive products can’t replace its effectiveness!

Sure, it sounds like a simple product. Vinegar, in fact, has been a staple in most households for generations. I remember my grandmother using it to clean her floors. But it’s also a complex skin-care powerhouse packed to the brim with skin nutrition. Here are a few of my favorite uses for ACV!


Use unfiltered, organic Apple Cider Vinegar …

1) as a toner (skin balance and nourishment)

Toning means nourishing, soothing, and balancing the skin. To do this you’ve got to treat your skin with products near its natural pH. Your skin has a protective layer called the acid mantle, and its pH hovers between 4.5 and 6. The pH of ACV is around 4.5-5 when undiluted (more on dilution later).

Treating your skin with ACV won’t interfere with the natural pH of the acid mantle. In fact, it supports it!

Blending ACV with soothing teas in homemade toners like this one add even more mileage.

Use your preferred blend or dilution (more on dilution later) and apply with an amber glass spray bottle, a cotton ball, or your fingers.

 2) as a SAFE exfoliator

Unfiltered ACV contains natural alpha-hydroxy acids that, over time, aid in stimulating your skin to GENTLY exfoliate.

Remember last week’s article on exfoliation? Don’t worry! Apple Cider Vinegar isn’t a PHYSICAL exfoliator that does its work by scrubbing or scratching. It does its work at the cellular level by encouraging cells to slough off on their own. It takes time and patience, but it works!

3) as a body acne fighter

One of the best long-term solutions I’ve found to dealing with body acne (especially on the shoulders and back) is a spritz of full-strength unfiltered ACV morning and night across problem areas.

This works, in my opinion, because it helps protect the skin in these areas from irritants like clothing and detergents (check out our post on detergent here)

4) as a spot treatment

Feel a zit coming up? Dab ACV on the spot as often as you remember. The beneficial acids, enzymes, and pH-balancing action make an amazing, effective spot treatment that also regulates the growth of “bad bacteria” within and outside those potential problem spots.

For an added boost, mix ACV with clay (Redmond and Aztec are affordable favorites) for a spot-treatment mask.

 5) as a digestive aid

The Purely Primal Skincare Guide devotes many pages to the importance of healthy digestion to how your skin looks and feels. If you’re not digesting well, this will show up on your skin!

Apple Cider Vinegar is listed as one of the basics for digestive support in the Purely Primal Skincare Guide. No, you don’t need a pill, surgery, or any crazy method to support digestion! A few Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar DILUTED in a glass of water away from meals once or twice a day (for example, first thing in the morning when you won’t be eating for 30 minutes to an hour) will help support healthy stomach acid production, which is critical to skin health. It also provides beneficial enzymes to your body!

The effects of this digestive tonic take just a few weeks to fully see. Give it a try!

You can purchase organic, unfiltered ACV at most stores. The most common brand is Bragg’s. Now that we live in the country and I can’t make the drive to town all the time, I’ve ordered whole gallons from Amazon.

How much you use depends on your skin’s unique needs and tolerance. I use ACV full-strength on my skin, but I suggest diluting it with water to be sure the vinegar isn’t too intense for your skin’s needs. Start with 1 part ACV to 3-4 parts water.

ALWAYS dilute ACV when using internally.

Thanks for reading!