Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

Apple Cider Vinegar Toner Is Popular

Apple cider vinegar has been all the rage in the all-natural movement for the past few years. People like to use it as a salad dressing, to whiten teeth, to soothe sunburns, and even for cleaning around the house. And of course, in skincare, there’s apple cider vinegar toner. However, there’s not a lot of science behind the uses for apple cider vinegar.

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How does an apple cider vinegar toner work?

Apple cider vinegar contains a lot of alpha hydroxy acids. These are naturally occurring acids such as glycolic and lactic acid. (1) These help to exfoliate the skin and speed up the turnover of dead skin cells to reveal the new skin underneath. Apple cider vinegar can be used for clearing up old acne marks and dark blemishes like sunspots. Don’t try to use apple cider vinegar to remove your moles though! More on that later though…

How To Make Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

You can make your own apple cider vinegar toner easily and cheaply by diluting the vinegar with water. Just 2 ingredients needed: water and apple cider vinegar. You may want to buy distilled or filtered water if there is hard water in your area.

My Experience with Apple Cider Vinegar Toner

I had apple cider vinegar handy in my kitchen. Only because Jesse had gotten it into his head that apple cider vinegar might clear a rash he gets from time to time around his eyes. I was quick to dismiss the idea, and it sat around in our kitchen for months until today!

I decided to try making apple cider vinegar toner. Disclaimer: I never use toner and have written about my opinion of toners in the past. To make a long story short, you don’t really need a toner unless you have very oily skin.

To start off, the apple cider vinegar smells awful. The smell is tolerable for a salad dressing. But for skincare, it was pretty harsh on my nostrils. I diluted a tablespoon of vinegar in about 3 times as much water. It was eyeballed, and from what I’ve read online you can make your own concentration based on what your skin can tolerate. Anything from a 1:1 vinegar to water dilution to 1:8 can work.

I used a cotton face pad to swipe it around my whole face. Again, the smell sucks. I let it dry off my face, and I admit there was mild tingling. Maybe even some slight burning. I don’t think I’ll be repeating this experiment again anytime soon. As I write this, my mind is solidly on thoughts of washing it off.

One clear pro of using apple cider vinegar is its low cost. The bottle costs maybe $5. You can make A LOT of toner with one bottle of this stuff. A fancy toner from a department store can cost much more.

Possible Side Effects

Apple cider vinegar may be natural, but it can have unwanted side effects. Since it is a natural product, there are no FDA regulations regarding its ingredients or production. The FDA only mandates that vinegar contains at least 4% acetic acid. The particular apple cider vinegar brand that happened to be in my kitchen is 5% acetic acid.

While writing this article I found quite a few cases in the medical literature where people were burned by using undiluted apple cider vinegar. Using home remedies can be dangerous. In one example, an 8-year-old boy suffered acid burns to his arms when his mother tried to treat growths from molluscum contagiosum using apple cider vinegar. (2) Another 17-year-old boy also suffered burns to his face when he tried to remove a mole from his face using apple cider vinegar. (3) He got the instructions from an online website and ended up with burns on the side of his nose.

In conclusion, try apple cider vinegar for skin care if you really want to use a natural homemade toner or try it in some of the other recipes like in salad dressing. Be careful you don’t burn yourself, though! Start off with a low concentration and work your way up as tolerated.


  1. Apple Cider Vinegar Acne Treatment. The Derm Review.
  2. Bunick, Christopher G., et al. “Chemical burn from topical apple cider vinegar.” Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology4 (2012): e143-e144.
  3. Feldstein, Stephanie, Maryam Afshar, and Andrew C. Krakowski. “Chemical Burn from Vinegar Following an Internet-based Protocol for Self-removal of Nevi.” Journal of Clinical & Aesthetic Dermatology. 6 (2015).

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