Plus 3 ways you can easily incorporate it into your beauty routine to help soothe symptoms.
Because there’s no cure for eczema, it’s a skin condition that often affects people for the long term. Even if it goes away for awhile, it can flare up again, and it’s hard to pinpoint the cause in many cases. Because of this, certain medications and products that aren’t suitable for long term use may not be ideal for eczema. For that reason, apple cider vinegar—also referred to as ACV—has emerged as a popular home remedy to treat eczema. While there are more effective natural remedies for eczema, apple cider vinegar may provide some relief.
Does apple cider vinegar for eczema work?
Many people have found ACV useful for easing their symptoms, thus preventing against further scratching and possible infection. While there isn’t enough scientific evidence to show a direct benefit of apple cider vinegar for eczema, it’s shown to be successful at least in balancing and soothing skin that’s bothered by eczema. Apple cider vinegar naturally contains the following benefits for skin:
Eczema is known to be caused by a variety of factors, but it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact one for each person. Some research suggests that our acid mantle may have something to do with it.
The acid mantle forms our skin’s protective layer formed by sweat and sebum. When it’s acidic around the pH of 4-7, it’s functioning properly with the right amount of sebum, and with the ability to eliminate bad bacteria. Skin above the pH of 7 will be alkaline and lose more moisture. Skin below the pH of 4 will have too much excess sebum, and lead to oily skin.
A study found that people with eczema have a skin pH above the normal range, meaning it’s not acidic enough to protect against microbes. This is usually exacerbated by overuse of alkaline soaps and products, or even tap water.
Because apple cider vinegar is highly concentrated in acetic acid, applying it to skin may help lower its pH to a more healthy range for people who suffer from eczema.
The problem with itchy skin from eczema is that excessive scratching can lead to weakened skin and open sores, increasing risk for infection and complications. Painful infections is the last thing people with eczema want to deal with. Bacterial infections can trigger an immune system response and increase the body’s inflammatory response, thus worsening the eczema symptoms.
S. aureus is the most common bacteria to cause infection with eczema. Scientists have observed that people with eczema tend to have larger amounts of the bacteria on their skin. It can lead to a variety of painful conditions such as boils, impetigo and cellulitis.
Bacteria therapy through applying healthy bacteria to help lower amounts of S. aureus has been shown to improve eczema in people and reduce their need for topical steroids. Apple cider vinegar has noteworthy antimicrobial effects against E-coli and S. aureus, and applying it to skin may help decrease risk of infection.
How to use apple cider vinegar for eczema
Apple cider vinegar toner
Toners in skin care play the important role of balancing your skin pH, and apple cider vinegar is a common ingredient found in natural toners. In a toner, the alpha hydroxy acids in ACV help to restore your skin’s balance, eliminate harmful bacteria, and also brighten your complexion. It’s especially effective if you’re fighting eczema on your face or neck.
If it’s your first time trying ACV for your skin, we advise sticking to a lower ratio. Mommypotamus recommends using a 1:4 ratio for sensitive skin, which could mean 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 4 tablespoons of water or rose hydrosol. Simply mix the two ingredients together in a clean, empty spray bottle or container, then apply the toner to clean skin (avoid your eye area, or it will sting!). Follow with the rest of your skin care routine and a moisturizer.
You can also pick up the Geranium Palmarosa Face Toner from Meow Meow Tweet if you prefer a ready-to-use toner instead! Just spritz it on whenever you need some relief from that itch.
Apple cider vinegar bath
The ACV bath option is a popular recommendation among online forums for eczema sufferers. It’s more ideal for people who suffer from eczema all over the body. Hot baths can actually worsen eczema symptoms, so if you need a relaxing purification experience without coming out of it with reddened skin, adding ACV to your bath could work to prevent that.
First begin by filling your bathtub with warm water. Depending on how sensitive your skin is, add 1-2 cups of ACV to the bath. Soak in the bath for 10-15 minutes, then rinse with cool water. Make sure to follow with an eczema-friendly moisturizer on affected areas afterwards to prevent your skin from drying out.
Prefer to shower instead? Purify and balance your body with an apple cider vinegar and honey soap from Roots & Fruits.
ACV and coconut oil moisturizer
An important part of treating eczema symptoms is keeping affected skin moisturized. This helps prevent skin from drying out and becoming itchy. Coconut oil isn’t just an effective moisturizer. It’s been proved to treat eczema in children, probably due to its anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
Healthline recommends mixing 1 tablespoon of ACV with ¼ cup of virgin coconut oil to help soothe dry skin. The beneficial part about this DIY mixture is that it’s a multi-tasker. It helps to balance skin and counteract harmful bacteria, while moisturizing skin and helping you feel comfortable.
Remember to always consult a medical professional before trying a new treatment for any condition. Apple cider vinegar won’t always work for all skin types, but it can help alleviate symptoms in some people. With proper care and patience, you can calm down your eczema symptoms for the longer term.
Don’t give up on your eczema just yet! There are more natural remedies worth trying: