Are there any benefits of apple cider vinegar baths?

Apple cider vinegar baths: Do they have any benefits?

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a
vinegar made by allowing apples or apple juice to ferment. It may have some
mild health benefits due to the type of acid in the vinegar and other
Natural, or unfiltered, ACV
contains byproducts from fermentation, such as strands of bacteria, proteins,
and yeast. This collection of byproducts is known as the “mother” of the
Because of these additional
byproducts, advocates of ACV claim that unfiltered ACV has more health benefits
than filtered ACV.
Adding ACV to a bath may
promote general skin health. It may also help soothe the symptoms of any skin
infections or other sources of irritation.
Keep reading to learn more
about the possible benefits of taking ACV baths.

Are there benefits of taking
an ACV bath?

There may be some benefits
associated with adding ACV to a bath.
People all around the world
use vinegar for medicinal purposes in varying forms. Scientific research
supports this to a certain degree, as the acetic acid in vinegar does appear to
have some health benefits. Also, the acidic nature of ACV may be responsible
for its apparent benefits.
The reason that these factors
could help is that the barrier on the outer layer of skin, or the acid mantle, is
naturally acidic. It protects the skin from viruses, infections, and other
potential hazards.
Any breaks in this barrier, or
factors that cause the skin’s pH levels to change, may lead to skin problems.
Adding ACV to a bath makes the
water more acidic, which may promote skin health by restoring the skin’s pH
balance and protecting this outermost layer.
However, a recent study of 22
people found that soaking in ACV may have detrimental effects. In this study,
most of the participants who took ACV baths reported no improvements to the
skin barrier and found that the ACV actually caused irritation.
That said, this was a very
small study, and researchers must continue to explore ACV baths before claiming
that there is significant evidence either for or against this form of
Keep reading for more
information about some of the possible health benefits of ACV baths.
Conditions that an ACV bath
might help with
sections below discuss
some specific conditions that ACV baths may help with.
Wound treatment

ACV baths may help with wound
healing and the prevention of skin infections. The acetic acid in ACV is a
potent antibacterial compound, even at low concentrations.
One study in the journal PLOS
One notes that acetic acid can kill germs that often infect wounds in the skin.
Though the study focused on burn wounds in a laboratory setting, the bacteria
the researchers tested commonly infect most types of wounds on the skin.
Adding ACV to a bath may help
prevent these infectious bacteria from growing out of control.
Fungal infections

Early evidence also suggests
that ACV may help treat candida infections on the skin. A laboratory based
study, the results of which feature in the journal Scientific Reports, found
that ACV was effective at killing a number of infectious germs, including
Candida albicans, a common cause of fungal infections.
However, researchers will need
to conduct further studies in humans to prove these claims. It is also
important to note that it took equal parts water and ACV to be effective in
treating candida. In a bath, this is not possible, as it would be too acidic.

People with atopic dermatitis,
or eczema, may find that taking ACV baths is helpful in soothing their skin.
The skin’s natural acid mantle
is important for its protection. However, pH levels can become imbalanced for a
number of reasons.
One study in the Journal of
Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that people with eczema were more likely
to experience a breakdown of this protective layer. This is one of the triggers
for the condition.
Using ACV in a bath may
promote the repair of this skin barrier, which could aid eczema treatment.
Dandruff and dry skin

Many body and hair products
can strip away natural oils or disrupt the acidic pH levels of the skin.
For people with sensitive
skin, this can lead to reactions and other issues, such as dryness, itching,
and dandruff.
Conversely, using ACV may lead
to healthier hair. Again, this could be due to the acidic nature of the
vinegar, which may help balance the natural acidity of the hair. ACV can also
help if a person’s dandruff has a fungal cause.
Body odor

Sometimes, body odor is not
preventable. Many forms of body odor come from certain bacteria in the skin.
Finding ways to control and eliminate these bacteria may help control it.
As ACV is a natural
antibacterial, it may help. However, research would be necessary to confirm

The antibacterial and
antifungal effects of ACV may also help with some causes of acne breakouts,
such as on the buttocks and back.
If the breakouts occur due to
bacteria, fungi, or pH changes to the skin, ACV may help fix these factors and
clear the acne.
There is no direct scientific
evidence supporting this, but theoretically, it might be mildly helpful.
How to prepare an ACV bath
Although there is limited
evidence as to the beneficial effects of ACV, some people may wish to try
taking an ACV bath.
A person can add 1–2 cups of
ACV to a warm bath and soak for 20–30 minutes. Doing this regularly may be
enough to promote overall skin health.
People may also choose to add
a number of other ingredients to a bath, such as lavender buds, Epsom salts, or
colloidal oatmeal. These may each have their own beneficial effects, as well.
After bathing, rinse the skin
under cool water to close the pores and remove excess vinegar.
People with localized conditions,
such as a fungal infection in the foot, may want to isolate the area and only
apply diluted ACV or soak the affected area.

Although many claims
surrounding ACV have little scientific backing, there could be some benefits to
soaking in an ACV bath.
The acidity of ACV may help
balance the pH levels of the skin and hair, and the acetic acid may kill off
infectious germs. That said, ACV is not a treatment itself, but rather a
supportive care tool for various skin issues.
Studies focusing on the
antibacterial effects of ACV have generally involved laboratory tests.
Researchers will need to conduct more studies in humans to confirm any initial
Anyone looking to use ACV in
their bath should take care to dilute it properly. There are also times when a
person may not want to use ACV in their bath and should consult a doctor
Anyone experiencing skin
symptoms that do not improve with ACV baths, or that get worse over time,
should see a doctor for a full diagnosis.
Medically reviewed by Cynthia

Written by Jon Johnson

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.