Does Apple Cider Vinegar Really Help Treat A Sunburn?

Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is widely known as an "elixir" when it comes to its many purported benefits, even though those benefits are yet to be backed by science. Still, as WebMD notes, apple cider vinegar has been used as a home remedy for centuries. And today, ACV has even made its way into beauty circles.

And so, with summer on its way, you may be wondering if apple cider vinegar can help treat a sunburn. Now, it should be noted that some experts say, "No," when it comes to using this fermented juice on a sensitive burn. According to mindbodygreen, experts like board-certified dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group, argues against its use, due to ACV's link to chemical burns.

With this said, if you choose to try apple cider vinegar to treat a sunburn, you'll need to ensure you use it properly, and that includes using it only in a diluted form, via Healthline. Once diluted, there are a few ways to apply the mixture.

How to apply apple cider vinegar to a sunburn

Apple cider vinegar has a reputation for helping to balance pH and thus, has been used to help the scalp regain its balance after a lot of product use, according to Cosmopolitan. Byrdie, meanwhile, notes that it's this pH-balancing effect that theoretically makes apple cider vinegar a candidate for skin care as well, especially when it comes to oily skin and breakouts.

As for using apple cider vinegar to treat a sunburn, Healthline admits that applying an acidic solution to a burn seems counterintuitive, but also says that if the ACV is diluted enough, it's one to try as a home remedy. 

To safely apply apple cider vinegar to a sunburn, one option — especially for a large sunburn — is to mix the apple cider vinegar with water and put it in a spray bottle. Then you can spray it on the affected area and let it dry. According to Healthline, there is no recommended ACV-to-water ratio, but it seems wise to start with a heavily diluted mix. 

Another application method is to put the diluted mixture on a washcloth and wipe it onto the burn. However, if your sunburn is sensitive to the touch, another choice is to put some of the apple cider vinegar in a cool bath and bathe in the solution. The cool water will provide relief to the burn while the vinegar works on the skin (and a tub full of water will certainly dilute the vinegar, via Healthline).