Can apple cider vinegar burn your skin?
In this brief article, we’ll address the query: “Can apple cider vinegar burn your skin?” We’ll also address how apple cider vinegar can cause burns to your skin, what apple cider vinegar is, how it is used and how it should be stored.
Can apple cider vinegar burn your skin?
Yes, apple cider vinegar can cause burns to your skin. The acetic acid content in apple cider vinegar makes it mildly corrosive,which means that if it is constantly used and applied on the skin, it may indeed inflict mild caustic burns on the treated areas. (1)
How can apple cider vinegar cause burns to your skin?
Apple cider vinegar can cause chemical burns on a person’s skin, due to the acetic acid present in the solution.
Apple vinegar is part of vinegar fruit apples obtained by biotechnological process of double fermentation, alcoholic and acetic.It has acidity of approximately 5% and pH between 2.5 to 3.0.
At a molecular level, the acetic acid corrodes (deteriorates) the proteins present in the membranes that envelope a person’s skin cells. Once enough of these membranes are damaged, it translates into a lesion or burns, which may be quite painful and may even require specialized medical treatment. (1-3)
Acetic acid is not a strong acid, and casual users who accidentally splash some on their skin suffer no damage if they rinse it off immediately, but there have been cases of patients who reportedly used vinegar to treat mild imperfections on their skin, and as a result, contracted mild burns. (4)
The damage it may cause is not limited to skin, but can also occur in mucosa such as the inside of the mouth, and the digestive tract.
Apple cider vinegar is often touted as an easy home remedy for removing moles, warts, and some marks on the skin, but this is ill-advised as these procedures should only be carried out by professionally certified dermatologists. (5)
How can I safely handle apple cider vinegar?
Use with adequate ventilation and do not breathe dust or vapor. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, or clothing. Wash hands thoroughly after handling.
It is advisable to avoid using apple cider vinegar as skin treatment. There are other products on the market that are specially formulated for that purpose. (4, 6)
How can I treat skin burns from apple cider vinegar?
Exposure should be terminated as soon as possible. The skin should be washed with copious water to neutralize and remove all residual traces of the contaminant.
Contaminated clothing and jewelry should be removed and isolated. A mild soap solution may be used for washing the skin and as an aid to neutralize the acid. No cream, ointment, or dressing should be applied to the affected area. (1)
What are the uses of apple cider vinegar?
Apple cider vinegar is commonly used to preserve food (by pickling) and as a cooking ingredient (salad dressing, seasoning, garnish, and cocktails).
Additionally, some health benefits have been attributed to apple cider vinegar, although its usage should be exercised with caution. Notably, it has been linked to:
- Lowering blood sugar in diabetic patients
- Treating sore throats
- As a facial toner
- To treat dandruff
- Oral hygiene (cleaning teeth, dentures, mouthwash)
- Treating acne
- And a natural deodorizer.
However, it’s important to note that the above uses may very well require that the apple cider vinegar be watered down, as acetic acid can still have corrosive effects on the skin, mucous membranes, and even teeth enamel.
Non-medical uses include using it as a mildly abrasive cleaner, and deodorizer, an ingredient in sticky traps for flies, as a hair wash, as a detergent, and even as a herbicide and insecticide. (5)
Other FAQs about Vinegar that you may be interested in.
In this brief article, we’ve addressed the query: “Can apple cider vinegar burn your skin?” We’ve also addressed how apple cider vinegar can cause burns to your skin, what apple cider vinegar is, how it is used and how it should be stored.
- Pravasi, S. D. Acetic Acid. Encyclopedia of Toxicology, 33–35. 2014.
- M.C. Garcia-Parrilla, M.J. Torija, A. Mas, A.B. Cerezo, A.M. Troncoso, Vinegars and Other Fermented Condiments, Fermented Foods in
- Adriana Dabija et. al. Study concerning the quality of apple vinegar obtained through classical method. Journal of Agroalimentary Processes and Technologies 20(4), 2014.
- Bunick, C. G., Lott, J. P., Warren, C. B., Galan, A., Bolognia, J., & King, B. A. Chemical burn from topical apple cider vinegar. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 67(4), e143–e144. (2012).
- Alexandra Benisek, Brunilda Nazario, Apple Cider Vinegar. WebMD LLC, 2022
- Scholar Chemistry. Vinegar. Material safety data sheet, Harper College, 2009.